Tag Archives: 40% sector

Construction efficiency – plus ca change?

In preparation for todays Lancashire Construction Best Practice event presentation on Building Down Barriers, I have been back tracking and hunting down material from the time of the projects. Back in the 90’s, presentations were on acetates on overhead projectors, the handouts raw photocopies of those acetates.

One of the slides in a presentation made to the Midlands Construction Quality Forum* by  (I think) Clive Cain in 1996 illustrates the state of the industry at that time:

Scanned Image 39

Nearly 2 decades later have we improved?

Since Building Down Barriers we have had many many strategies to improve efficiency,  a recent (2006) study of labour efficiency showed a similar 30% of non productivity:

project footprints

And today? How much of the total cost of a project is consumed by waste and inefficiency? Have we dropped below the anecdotal 40%?

Of course any inefficiency is un-sustainable from environmental, financial and social perspective. I am reminded of the Honda advert strap line that ‘everything we do goes into everything we do’. How much of what we do in construction goes into ‘making the building grow’

It is hoped that the Lancashire Construction Best Practice Club, in association with UCLAN will undertake facilitated research to address inefficiency  and provide supported solutions. A local, Lancashire Building Down barriers, working with complete supply chains applying all the good approaches we advocate. Approaches that could include BIM, lean , cluster supply chains, collaborative working, carbon management, facilitated continuous improvement and importantly circular economy thinking.

Watch this space!

* a 1990’s innovative community of practice, comprising quality managers from construction companies with a passion to share and learn across companies.

Towards a Responsible and Sustainability Construction Economy

Increasingly we hear more and more on emerging sustainable, responsible, collaborative economies. For example:

Patagonia, following on from Chouinard’s Responsible Business have launched their Responsible Economy initiative, and wisely, not having the answers shape the programme with the mission to start the debate – and ‘catch the wave‘.

Recently the TSSS and Earthshine launched an interesting and influential paper, BluePrints for a Sustainable Economy whose aim is to share a journey with people around the world, to help generate greater awareness of the issues and possibilities, to promote debate, to provide a sense of hope for what might be, and how we could all make the transition towards a more sustainable economy.

In the introduction to Towards New Innovative Collaborations  I wrote “Our built environment collaborative working journey is now venturing into new territories. The future for a responsible built environment will increase both  pressure and opportunities beyond collaboration and partnerships to co-collaborate and co-create hybrid projects, moving to open innovations that in turn stimulate further opportunities. 

So, what would a responsible, collaborative and sustainable economy for the construction sector look like?

Lets have the conversation.

How do we move from being the 40% negative sector to the 40% positive sector? How do we heal the future?


“We can not call it a sustainable construction economy when we take more from nature than we give back”

We are seeing a number of excellent initiatives emerging, particularly in the area of restorative sustainability, converging on a sustainable construction economy – but what are the barriers, where are the leaders and drivers who will get us there?

This is just one of the topics planned in our Sustainability Leadership Conversations – join our Google+ community and participate in our twitter based conversations. The next conversation on Nov 5th with Eric Lowitt explores the Collaborative Economy.