Like many in the industry we have been concerned for a number of years about waste, poor productivity and low levels of profit in the UK construction industry. Through our involvement in the Institution of Civil Engineers we played a key role in the birth and development of the Get It Right Initiative. Working with major companies and institutions we managed to raise over £100k and carried out a significant research project to identify the costs and causes of error in the UK Construction Industry. Details and results of this study are available online at www.getitright.uk.com along with the strategy for change that was developed.
Key international studies suggest that the direct costs of avoidable errors are in the order of 5% of project value. This is higher than average profit levels across the industry and equates to approximately £5Bn per annum across the sector in the UK. When unrecorded process waste, latent defects and indirect costs are included, the situation gets much worse with estimates of total costs of error ranging between 10% and 25% of project cost or between £10–25Bn per annum across the sector. Working with our study group and members of their supply chains our research identified and ranked the construction activities which generate the most losses through error. In doing this we differentiated between building and civil engineering projects. We also explored and ranked the root causes of error.
We have developed a strategy to address these root causes. This Strategy is set out in detail in “A Strategy For Change” published by the Get It Right Initiative in November 2015, and available to download from www.getitright.uk.com. In summary:
- To reduce error significantly in the UK construction industry.
- To change the attitudes of those involved in the sector so that they care about and focus on reducing the number of errors and improving the quality in what they do.
- To improve the knowledge across the sector so that all involved properly understand the ways that design and construction processes can be disrupted and how this can and often does lead to error and waste.
- To improve the decision making and planning skills across the sector so that all involved are able to react and adjust to unavoidable process disruption.
- Develop and implement a skills development program.
- A campaign to change and align attitudes across the sector.
- Process and system improvements.
- Technology innovation.