rethinking construction still requires massive system change …

Collaborative working champion colleague Henry Loo posted the comment below in response to my recent posts on rethinking Egan.  This short response article is so spot on, going to the heart of the matter I have elevated it to a full post to give it more prominence.  Thanks Henry.

Egan didn’t emphasis one important pre-requisit to his message: to deliver the kind of vision he is talking about require a massive system change.

When we went to Japan last November, we saw how Takeneka, Shimizu and Kajima successfully translated the efficiencies that Egan was talking about in Rethinking Construction from manufacturing into construction. It was just like the book.
Their critical success factor was the ability to combine Design and Construction operation as seamlessly as possible.
In UK, we can’t possibly deliver that level of success because of the steep Consultancy/Contracting divide, and until such time that we can successfully come up with a breed of people under one organisation that can do both successfully together, we would never be able to deliver Egan. This goes straight to the heart of Lean Thinking because no matter how hard to try to squeeze out waste, the inherent system is not design to be efficient in the first instance (type 1 Muda is inhibiting efficiency!)
The car industry is efficient because it is output driven.

The construction industry is still inherently input driven – note when a client needs a building, rarely can he go directly to a prime contractor and gets everything under one roof; whereas that is exactly what you do in buying a car! note when a Japanese manufacturer needs a new plant, they go straight to Takenaka and Takeneka can wheel out in chapter and verse what a modern manufacturing plant would look like and reasonably accurately forecast productivity based on their research activities gathered worldwide.

Kajima spend over £200million on R&D last year, 4.5% of its annual turnover. They see R&D as their USP & innovation is where the future of their business lies. No innovation=no future. Little wonder why Egan’s vision is still less than half way?


In total agreement Henry, and as I saw until we have a different pattern of thought to approach design, construction and facilities management then we will not be able to realy start to address the type of sector Egan set out for us, despite the fact most organisations (client and supply) would consider themselves Egan compliant.

How many UK organisations see R&D as their USP & innovation is where the future of their business lies? Its hard to get organisations to even think ‘future’ let along invest in R and D to get there.

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