Fresh Projects, an online business platform tailor made for built environment professionals, will be working with the Association for Consultancy and Engineering (ACE) in the UK to assist in providing its SME client base with additional benefits.
The collaboration will provide ACE’s UK members with a lightweight ERP solution as opposed to using larger and more costly solutions that are out of reach of most SMEs.
ACE, which is the equivalent to South Africa’s Consulting Engineers South Africa (CESA), will be hosting a series of sessions entitled ‘Managing your Small Business’ and Fresh Projects will be included in the line-up of presenters.
“We are partnering with KPMG, who offer a small business accounting package, and professional indemnity insurance broker, Willis, to present the series,” says Simon Berry, director of Fresh Projects.
He says that the challenges faced by SME engineering and architectural firms in the UK are identical to those faced locally: “There appears to be a universal truth with engineers and architects that they undervalue their own worth when it comes to charging clients; they love design, but detest admin and planning. These two fundamental character traits result in a never-ending battle for financial success.”
The biggest difference, according to Berry, is that the UK dropped the practice of using fee scales over 20 years ago: “These have just recently been declared illegal by the Competition Commission in South Africa, and make proper financial planning on projects even more important, also justifying the need for a solution such as ours.”
Berry says Fresh Projects will also be partnering with local UK partners to overcome any subtle cultural differences: “It will ensure that we are able to provide adequate local support to clients.”
Fresh Projects is focused on optimising a project’s profitability with the minimal amount of administrative overhead. The platform is tailor made for architects, consulting engineers, quantity surveyors and project managers operating in the construction industry.
Berry says the UK construction sector is buoyant despite the rising Brexit concerns: “We look forward to extending our reach into the UK and assisting local SMEs to improve their overall profitability.”