Kingsfield Academy: Energy Transition Leadership Course

Kingsfield Academy: Energy Transition Leadership Course

13 September @ 9:00 am – 12:30 pm BST

The Energy Transition Leadership program provides a basis from which project teams can explore and prepare for leading projects in new energy sectors.

With the drive towards Net Zero gathering pace, the need to develop requisite leadership skills for this energy transition environment has never been greater. The challenges that arise out of projects with “first of its kind” (FOIK) emerging technologies, in new markets, and with unfamiliar contracting arrangements require changes of mindset and, consequently, a greater emphasis on leadership at every level of the project organisation.

The Energy Transition Leadership program aims to address the key areas to be considered and managed in order to execute profitable projects for contractors and present viable capital investments for owners. The course involves 4 workshops, to view the dates, times and leaders of each, as well as price, take a look at the flyer.


  • Introduction & context of Energy Transition projects
  • Systems thinking for Energy Transition projects
  • Contracting & Commercial Leadership for Energy Transition projects
  • Project leadership for Energy Transition

More information can be found on the Kingsfield Academy website.

Successful Project Delivery- It’s Common Sense

In his blog ‘Net ZERO 2050 – Is it achievable or at risk?’ John Fotherby referred to modern tools, processes, and practices that, together, if used properly, can greatly assist project delivery teams to radically improve performance, but which are not being used universally on Engineering Construction projects.

Following this blog post, Fluor Corporation and Tecnimont (founder members of ECI and established AWP practitioner organisations) have produced a paper entitled ‘Successful Project Delivery- Its Common Sense’, which references the eight ECI ACTIVE Principles, and explores AWP.

These principles and practices will be investigated further in a joint series by ECI and Constructing Excellence, ‘Energy Transition Revolution – Powering the New Age of Project Delivery’. Whilst the recent white paper, ‘Successful Project Delivery- It’s Common Sense’, will form the basis for discussion at the first event in the series.

Net ZERO 2050 – Is it achievable or at risk?

“Net Zero ‘at risk” without tax breaks” (*Times, Business Section, 4 February 2023) reported that the CEOs of Renewables UK, Energy UK, The Nuclear Industry Association, Scottish Renewables and Solar Energy UK have written jointly to the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer saying that tax breaks are needed to encourage investment in green energy.  As Chair of the European Construction Institute (ECI), I do not perceive this to be the problem.

Unequivocal and unremitting UK Government policy driving continued commitment to support green energy in the pursuit of Net Zero 2050 is essential if the UK is to keep up with, let alone lead, other countries across the globe in this existential challenge. I also do not doubt that tax breaks might be of help. But, neither of these considerations addresses and resolves the real impediment to achieving Net Zero. This is a problem with the engineering construction industry itself, not Government, and is not confined to the UK.

Many Energy Transition / Net Zero projects are ‘mega’ (exceeding USD 1bn) and are often complex, including those of lesser value. The industry has a legacy of only one in four mega projects meeting their business objectives – a failure rate of 75%. Typically, they are delivered significantly over budget and very late and, quite often, do not start up as intended. If this ‘performance’ continues, Net Zero 2050, and the intermediate carbon emission reduction steps leading to it, is unlikely to be achieved – by a long way.

Enlightened owner / investors, contractors and supply chains are beginning to consider and embark upon different contracting and working strategies geared to eliminating waste, significantly improving productivity, reducing costs, shortening delivering times, improving safety and quality and, above all, providing visibility on outturn cost and facility start up dates – just the requirements for investor commitments. However, so far, they are in a tiny minority, and the steps they are taking are hardly revolutionary.

Consider for a moment the way in which the shipbuilding, aerospace and automotive industries transformed themselves – years ago. What can engineering construction learn from such transformation? What prevents engineering construction from taking equally transformative actions, especially since this industry is the Net Zero 2050 delivery vehicle? But time is running out, whilst complacency is prevalent.

Today, there are modern tools, processes and practices that, together, if used properly, can greatly assist project delivery teams to radically improve performance, but are they being used universally? –     short answer, NO.


There is empirical evidence indicating that collaborative working and contracting, in which risk is shared equitably, innovative practices are rewarded, and performance and delivery is incentivised and not penalised, leads to successful project outcomes, but is this approach being used universally? –     short answer, NO.


There seems to be industry consensus that early contractor and supply chain engagement, standardisation, and factory-thinking and modularisation can lead to far greater efficiency in design, work planning and execution, but are these being applied universally? –     short answer, NO.


In complex Energy Transition projects that may be based also on new or evolving technology and where uncertainty is prolific, then conventional contracting models, especially lump sum or lump sum turn-key and which anticipate and rely upon certainty, are inappropriate and indeed are a risk in themselves. Have such models been abandoned on projects of this kind –     apparently not.


Despite the need for radical change in the industry, it is not happening – why?

I suggest, there is an inherent resistance to change quickly or at all, a reluctance to leave comfort zones, and preference for the status quo. Engineering construction is a ‘people industry’ and it is stymied in its development universally by mindset and behaviours that rely upon completely outdated thinking and practice.

What is likely to cause change to occur? Answer – Owners’ recognition that to ensure that they receive the projects they want to invest in at a time when they need them and for an affordable price, there needs to be a radical change to the way projects are conceived and delivered. Where Owners lead, contractors and the supply chain will assuredly follow.

Recommendation: the authors of the letter to the Chancellor, and other existing and potential owner / investors also look to the engineering construction industry in the UK, take into account what enlightened owners and their contractors are currently doing to improve performance in the UK and elsewhere, consider how they might build on these present initiatives and set the UK industry upon a revolutionary track of change to secure achievement of Net Zero 2050.

Modern project management tools and processes are available – the missing element is the change in mindset and behaviours required to adopt these in a fundamental; shift in project delivery practice.

Throughout 2023 the ECI is hosting regular events: Energy Transition Revolution – Powering the new age of project delivery. The first event is on 14 March 2023 – come and join us.

John Fotherby – Chair – European Construction Institute / Partner – Kingsfield Academy

Developing an Energy Transition Community of Practice

Unlocking Productivity to Deliver the Infrastructure That Will Underpin Our Net Zero Future


Net Zero is perhaps the greatest challenge facing humanity. The need to transition from Hydrocarbon-based energy to renewable and sustainable sources is critical to the future survival of the planet. This has been accelerated by Geo-Political events that are highlighting the inherent supply risks around reliance on hydrocarbons and pushing governments across the world to speed up their net zero targets.

Net Zero is a grand challenge that requires a fundamental shift in the energy supply and demand mix. The energy transitions commission estimate that USD50 trillion in incremental investments is required by 2050 to transition the global economy and energy systems to net-zero emissions.


The Problem

Outdated, inefficient and unproductive delivery models are simply not going to enable this challenge to be met. In a world of constrained resources – skills, the current models are unable to deliver at the scale and pace required. We need to embrace all of the productivity enhancing tools and processes at our disposal to meet this unprecedented challenge. In 2004 it was reported that 57% of project resources are wasted. There has been little improvement since.  We simply cannot continue to waste precious resources on ineffective approaches to project delivery.



The Solution

The solutions are tried and tested – collaborative contracting, embracing technologies, employing manufacturing-based approaches, utilising effective tools and processes.  These are critical to improve productivity significantly, and free-off resources for deployment elsewhere.  These have been trialled extensively – so we know the potential – but we now need to move from the trial phase to the widespread implementation phase if we are to stand a chance of delivering Net Zero.

It’s often said that clients get the industry they deserve.  Traditional approaches of transferring risk down the supply chain is proven time and again to be ineffective and counter-productive. A different approach to risk distribution is essential.

In addition to energy transition project complexities, the scale and pace of change required is creating a VUCA environment with energy prices, material costs and government policies changing apace to meet the net zero challenges and keep the lights on in a changing energy environment. The only solution for the industry is to collaboratively embrace better ways of working.

About the community


Constructing Excellence and ECI have long been champions of collaborative working and contracting. We propose to establish a community of practice involving the broadest spectrum of Net Zero participating organisations focussing on driving continual productivity improvement in the delivery of energy transition projects.


The community will bring together existing approaches, signpost the great work being done by groups focussed on skills, technology and innovation and consider how these can be harnessed to unlock the productivity gains that are crucial to achieving Net Zero.


This is a great opportunity to bring together our members and stakeholders who are currently delivering in this area or are keen to apply their expertise building on the body of work in ECI, CE Nuclear and Hydrogen.  This is an opportunity to focus our existing activities in this space around a common, critical topic.

The community will focus on sharing best practice, experience, knowledge and insight on how to implement these solutions in project delivery. Participants will jointly explore how these solutions can be applied on Net Zero projects and how to convince sceptics to come on board in the making the transformational change to how projects are delivered.


******* Join us on 10th January to help us shape this community *******