Lean to create deployment plan for accelerating Construction 2025 strategy

The UK Lean Construction Institute last week set out a radical £1.5M proposal to help accelerate deployment of the government’s Construction 2025 strategy and create a "Fosbury moment" to transform infrastructure project delivery.

In a paper presented to the LCI-UK annual conference, the LCI-UK board set out its three stage Lean Deployment Plan which it said, after investment in a scoping study, would provide government with the strategic and capability development and the project delivery support structure needed to meet the targets set out in the strategy.

“There is not integrated deployment plan for the 2025 Strategy to deliver the systematic improvement that will drive the change necessary to deliver the levels of performance required to meet the ambitions,” said the LCI-UK paper. 

“Without systematic improvement of the current construction industry (root and branch) it is unlikely that the infrastructure plan will be achieved.” LCI-UK 

“Lean thinking has delivered a performance step change in other industries such as automotive, aerospace and manufacturing, it added. “It has been effectively translated and proven to work within construction particularly where client organisations have led the way.”

The LCI-UK said that it was willing to step in on behalf of government to lead the up-skilling of the industry and to build the capacity necessary to the 2025 Strategy. It said that investment of £1.5M was needed to carry out a scoping study to deliver the plan and warned that without such action the industry risked £15-20bn annual overspends, late delivery of projects, skills shortages and the risk of missing “emissions targets associated with whole life costs”.

“Without systematic improvement of the current construction industry (root and branch) it is unlikely that the infrastructure plan will be achieved,” it said, 

However, Government chief construction adviser Peter Hansford rejected the notion that the Construction 2025 strategy lacked a deployment plan. 

Speaking at the conference Hansford said that industry had to take ownership of the strategy and pointed out that there were already a number of industry groups, led by the Construction Leadership Council, focused on deploying the strategy.

“Construction 2025 does have a deployment plan,” he said. “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”. 

The Construction 2025 Strategy 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 

The LCI-UK highlights a number of complicating factors holding back delivery of the Construction 2025 strategy ranging from no real baseline against which to measure performance to an over reliance on technology to deliver efficiencies.

“There is nothing new there for me,” said Hansford. “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.”

Can Lean create a "Dick Fosbury" moment for construction?

LCI-UK founder Brian Swain urged industry to create a "Dick Fosbury" moment of disruptive change to transform the industry's delivery record. 

Swain highlighted that there were a number of factors converging to create the disruptive change needed in the construction industry and equated the potential magnitude of this change with that achieved by high-jumper Dick Fosbury in 1968 Mexico Olympics when he revolutionised the sport with his radical jump technique.

He highlighted technology, people, experience and acceptance of collaboration and Lean construction with its single unified approach as vital factors in creating the disruptive change that would radically alter the industry forever.

Showing conference delegates the Fosbury video (see attached) he said Lean construction was capable of creating a Fosbury moment for the industry. Lean construction is the application of lean thinking to the design & construction process creating improved project delivery to meet client needs and improved efficiency for constructors.

Lean Construction requires a Lean Supply Chain so that information, materials, equipment and manpower for each task in a project come in on-time, complete and to quality. This requires collaboration and mutual commitment to:

  • Creating reliable production in both design and build phases
  • Planning
  • Improving long-term relationships
  • Committing to high performance and continual improvement

For details see

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