17 May 2023

How to deliver on your RAP performance by using an Indigenous Construction Company

Your organisation has a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP);
that’s a strong step, well done.

Indigenous Australian art featuring a stingray

By adopting the RAP your organisation wants to build trust and understanding, support Indigenous economic participation, demonstrate social responsibility, and contribute to improved outcomes for Indigenous peoples and their communities. As Procurement Managers and Project Managers, you can play a critical role in delivering the RAP goals. A typical way to support these goals is by engaging Indigenous-owned and operated businesses.

And when it comes to delivering construction projects, it makes even more sense to engage
Indigenous construction companies such as BY Group. These companies provide opportunities for
Indigenous economic participation, employment, and training. Moreover, engaging Indigenous
companies is an essential step towards reconciliation, as it recognizes and respects the unique
histories, cultures, and contributions of Indigenous peoples.

This article outlines some ways that procurement and project managers can engage Indigenous
construction companies and deliver on their RAP goals.

5 Ways to Deliver on Your RAP By Using an Indigenous Construction Company

1. Deliver Measurable Outcomes

Being able to set and confidently deliver measurable outcomes is a crucial step in embedding Indigenous engagement throughout the procurement and construction process. Measurable targets will, of course, include DIFOT (delivery in full and on time) measures, however targets should also be aligned with your organisation's RAP goals and should cover Indigenous participation in procurement, employment, and training. By working with an indigenous construction company, you should seek to deliver on basic construction metrics, however, you’ll also be able to set targets such as the value of contracts awarded to Indigenous businesses, the number of Indigenous workers employed on the project, as well as the estimated social and economic benefits to first Australians. 

2. Incorporate Indigenous Knowledge 

Incorporating Indigenous knowledge into project planning and design is an effective way to create more culturally appropriate and sustainable solutions. Indigenous knowledge can be used to inform environmental and cultural impact assessments, land use planning, and community engagement strategies. By working with an Indigenous construction company, you will be able to gain Indigenous perspectives on land management and environmental stewardship which can be integrated into the construction project and ideally minimise environmental impact and promote community well-being. It’s also fair to say, that incorporating the Indigenous knowledge from a construction company also provides an opportunity to recognise and respect Indigenous cultures.

3. Improve Cultural Awareness

Cultural awareness training is an essential component of engaging with Indigenous communities and often included in RAP goals. Having procurement and project management receiving cultural awareness training that helps understand the importance of Indigenous engagement and how to approach engagement in a culturally respectful and appropriate manner, also assists RAP goals. By working with an Indigenous construction company, you can facilitate cultural awareness training that covers the history, legacy and languages of Indigenous communities involved in the construction project. Cultural awareness training could also include practical guidance on engaging with Indigenous communities, such as how to introduce yourself, how to ask questions, and how to respond to feedback.

4. Foster Relationships with Indigenous Communities

Building relationships with the relevant Indigenous communities is crucial for successful engagement. Procurement and project management teams would do well to establish ongoing dialogue and collaboration with Indigenous communities to ensure that engagement is meaningful and respectful. Building relationships requires time, patience, and a commitment to mutual respect and understanding. By working with an Indigenous construction company helps to make such relationships more authentic and collaborative.

5. Monitor and Report on Project Progress

Your RAP needs constant attention, so the regular monitoring and reporting on Indigenous engagement and performance, not only drives on-time construction, but can also help to identify areas for improvement and celebrate successes. Monitoring and reporting should cover Indigenous employment, training, and procurement outcomes, construction milestones and progress against any other RAP targets. Indigenous construction companies should embed this monitoring and reporting as well as feedback from Indigenous communities on their experience of engagement. 

By engaging with an Indigenous construction company who adopts these strategies, procurement and project managers from Government and non-Government sectors can achieve positive outcomes on a number of fronts – they’ll contribute to building stronger relationships with Indigenous communities, they’ll be supporting Indigenous economic participation, they’ll be promoting reconciliation, DIFOT measures stand a good chance of being met, AND they’ll deliver on their RAP targets.

If you’d like to learn more about BY Group's construction experience, capability and approach, please get in touch to discuss your next project and how we can assist in meeting your RAP.