Construction 2025 has clear deployment plan, says chief construction advisor

Peter Hansford sets out how Lean Construction, BIM and industry collaboration can help drive reform.

Peter Hansford

Last month the UK Lean Construction Institute criticised the government’s Construction 2025 strategy as lacking a deployment plan and urged investment to review the situation.

In a paper presented to its annual conference, the LCI-UK highlighted a number of complicating factors holding back delivery of the strategy ranging from not having a real baseline against which to measure performance to an over reliance on technology to deliver efficiencies.

Speaking at the conference, chief construction adviser Peter Hansford robustly defended the strategy, which was published in 2013 and set out a plan to deliver:

  •     33% reduction in cost
  •     50% reduction in overall time
  •     50% lower emissions
  •     50% reduction the export trade gap 

And while he welcomed the debate that LCI-UK’s paper promoted, and the call for investment to look more carefully into how Lean Construction could assist in meeting the targets, he insisted that industry had to take the lead in driving reform


Interview by Antony Oliver

What role can Lean play in driving the industry towards meet the Construction 2025 targets?

I know that we are not going to get to these targets by doing things the way that they have always been done. This industry works in big projects and that it where much of the learning comes from. If we can also create more continuous learning on the smaller projects then we could see great improvement – and that is Lean.

You say that conservatism in construction is holding the industry back. What make you say that?

The construction industry is fragmented and conservative. Why, for example, are we still arguing about shall we use BIM or is BIM the answer? It is demonstrably the answer – let’s just adopt it and move forward. But we don’t do that in this industry – we have these endless debates going backwards and forwards. And that is conservatism.

Is there a greater culture of sharing ideas in other industries such as automotive or aerospace?

I suppose so but I am seeing more sharing in construction. When you see, for example, what firms like Skanska, Laing O’Rourke, Costain and Carillion are doing, I think that companies are prepared to share. There are projects and companies out there making a difference. It comes down to leadership and we can’t just rely on clients. We are seeing far more so-called “pop-up” clients– created for a project which then go away again. You might be lucky if the same people pop up again and again – but the chances are you will not. The infrastructure Client Group is a fantastic vehicle in getting this continuous sharing. 

How can government help to do more to unlock innovation?

It is a partnership between industry and government and the Construction Leadership Council at its next meeting will be taking a paper on innovation and asking what are the key challenges for infrastructure and for non-domestic and domestic building.

Does the economic upturn help or hinder the drive towards efficiency?

It is interesting. I would like to argue that it helps but there is a risk that while things are going badly people are prepared to look at this stuff. As soon as it is going well they can say we haven’t got time or do we really need to do this  - that would be a huge mistake.

The Lean Construction Institute maintains that the 2025 Strategy lack an effective deployment plan. Is it correct? 

Construction 2025 has a deployment plan. How integrated it is does remain a question, but we are really keen that this integration should come up from industry and we are looking for industry to really take leadership here. It is not for government to say “here is your plan go and do it”.  So it would be unfair to say that there is no plan. Could it be integrated better – yes. But ownership has go to come from the industry. 

The LCI-UK highlights a number of complicating factor holding back delivery of the Construction 2025 strategy. Do you at least share the concern?

There is nothing new there for me. The problem is well understood – the real question of course is how to take this forward. If industry can step up and demonstrate commitment by putting money behind [a scoping plan] then great. But just saying “they should do it” probably means that “they” won’t. But that said, it is a welcome debate.


See "Lean to create deployment plan for accelerating Construction 2025 strategy" - click here

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