It’s now ten years since Sir John Egan published his ground breaking report on the state of the construction industry ‘Rethinking Construction’.
So what’s’ changed and has it had an impact?
Rethinking Construction highlighted many of the problems endemic within the construction industry. The report made comparisons with leading organisations such as Toyota and Tesco and looked at how lessons could be learned in achieving efficiencies, quality control and, ultimately, delivering value to the customer?
The report concluded that construction performed badly when compared to other industries and that improvements had to made!
- Employing an Integrated Project Process – utilising the whole construction team, bringing the skills of all participants to bear on delivering value to the client; Keeping the same team together from project to project so they become better
- Product Development – continuously developing a generic construction product to meet the needs of the client and consumer
- Design for Construction in Use – suppliers and contractors have to be fully involved in the design. Quality must be fundamental to the design process. Defects need to be designed out before work starts. Lowest cost – competitive tendering does not offer best value – genuine long-term partnering arrangements should be the way forward
- Training – put more into training the workforce – develop processes which are faster, safer and less costly.
In an interview with Construction News Sir John expressed his disappointment with the lack of progress, thus far.
Although there were some good examples of projects which have lead the way (ironically, supermarkets such as Tesco were highlighted as examples as to how ‘informed clients have raised the game’) Sir John was critical of the industry as a whole, in particular, house builders who he singled out as being responsible for their own current misfortune by refusing to change.
Critical of the Government’s procurement policies he highlighted the NHS building program as a prime example of how not to get best value.
“The NHS”, he says, “have the same useless PFI process which saddles trusts with costs they can’t afford!”
On a positive note, Sir John acknowledges that in terms of training, safety and productivity the industry has improved with demo projects run by Construction Excellence as a demonstration of what can be done!
It will be interesting to see what the next 10 years brings, but as the future leaders of the industry it will be up to us construction students to make the difference!