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Construction industry unites to make productivity gains

The Construction Productivity Taskforce, brought together by charity Be the Business, is setting an example for the sector.

London, 30 March 2022: Some of the biggest names in construction have joined forces to drive performance gains across the sector. The Construction Productivity Taskforce, brought together by charity Be the Business, is setting an example for the sector by launching multiple activities, designed to drive up output.

Be the Business was established in 2017 by Sir Charlie Mayfield to boost UK productivity by sharing expertise from the highest performing companies.

In a construction context, higher productivity means projects completing faster, getting things right first time, eliminating the need to repeat work, and reductions in waste produced by the construction process. Higher productivity is widely seen as a key driver for increased margins, higher standards of living and underpins the momentum to net-zero carbon buildings.

The Taskforce features some of the biggest names in UK development and construction, including British Land, GPE, Landsec, Lendlease, Mace, Morrisroe, Sir Robert McAlpine, Skanska, SOM, Bryden Wood, and Cast.

The Taskforce is undertaking three strands of activity to increase performance in the sector:

  • Backing the Construction Data Trust, a new legal structure that allows organisations to share their data in a secure way. Taskforce members provide data on productivity, waste and health and safety to generate insights which drive higher performance in each of these areas. Data is anonymised to protect commercially sensitive information

  • Leading a pilot programme where live construction sites provide insight into effective data collection. Two sites, Norton Folgate and The Forge, are already active as part of this pilot, with more to follow. The Taskforce will shortly publish a practical best practice guide on how to collect and measure productivity on-site, informed by this pilot

  • Develop and publish a private sector playbook that helps all parties to collaborate to get projects right from the start.  The playbook is complementary to the Government’s Construction Playbook and encourages clients, contractors and SMEs to adopt fair and collaborative behaviours to drive innovation and productivity throughout the life of each project. With cases studies and user guides to support the launch, it is hoped that all private sector clients will adopt the playbook principles in the future

Research by Be the Business found that firms which measure productivity are more likely to take steps to improve performance, which led the Taskforce to support the Construction Data Trust. The Taskforce is supporting the Construction Data Trust as one of three pillars of activity, each designed to be practical ways of driving performance of the sector. Other work streams include developing a pilot where live construction sites provide insight into how to effectively collect data.

Nigel Webb, Chair of the Construction Productivity Taskforce and Head of Development at British Land, said: “Productivity levels in the UK construction sector have, for many years, consistently lagged behind other sectors. We believe there is a great opportunity to improve productivity in our sector, which, in turn, can lead to higher margins, allowing companies to invest more in their people and processes; help deliver improved project certainty and end user experience and support the drive for net zero carbon buildings. The Taskforce has come together to identify and trial practical ways to achieve this objective.”

Anthony Impey, Chief Executive, Be the Business, said: “The Construction Taskforce is a key part of Be the Business’ goal of raising productivity in every sector and region of the UK. A more productive construction sector is at the heart of rebuilding the economy post-pandemic.”

On the Construction Data Trust, he added: “Long term, sustained performance improvements can only come from measuring progress. The Construction Data Trust provides infrastructure for the entire industry to identify opportunities for improvement, while remaining non-competitive. This can serve as a shining example of industry collaboration for other sectors to learn from.”

Grant Findlay, Chair of the Construction Data Trust, said: “We are thrilled that the Construction Productivity Taskforce is backing the Data Trust, as both initiatives seek ways to boost UK productivity. Currently, the volumes and quality of data from construction projects are variable and misaligned to the business problems that the industry is trying to solve. By harnessing the power of advanced analytics and AI, the Data Trust can convert large volumes of project data into intelligence that will accelerate innovation and improvement across the construction industry and, ultimately, benefit the wider economy and society.”  

About the Construction Productivity Taskforce

Since February 2020, leaders of the construction industry have come together to identify and trial new ways of making the sector more productive. The group unites leading figures in the construction industry – clients, contractors, supply chain and consultants – in order to undertake practical interventions designed to make the sector more productive.

Members of the Taskforce include British Land, Bryden Wood, Cast, GPE, Landsec, Lendlease, Mace, Morrisroe, Sir Robert McAlpine, Skanska and SOM.

About the Construction Data Trust

The Trust was launched by Sir Robert McAlpine and Projecting Success in May 2019. Building on 150 years of technical excellence and innovation, Sir Robert McAlpine is looking to the future and focuses on using technology and data to inspire and improve. Projecting Success is the driving force behind the Project Data Analytics community, providing thought leadership to what has the potential to be the biggest ever change in the project delivery profession. BPE Solicitors has provided the legal support necessary to establish the governance infrastructure for the Construction Data Trust.

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