Further Funding For Lean Thinking Research

Team Seeks Low-Carbon Supply Chain

18 March 2016

Costain is once again joining forces with Highways England and UK and European universities to help research, develop and implement the leaner construction and maintenance of highways in the UK.

In 2014 Highways England awarded Costain £150,000 to manage a programme of R&D projects designed to speed the implementation of lean construction: the application of lean thinking to the design and construction process to improve project delivery and achieve greater efficiency. Costain worked with Cardiff, Salford and Nottingham Trent Universities, along with the Lean Construction Institute, to ensure that the solutions and papers developed could be deployed in the industry.

Following on from the success of that first year, Costain has now been awarded a further year’s contract by Highways England, which modernises, maintains and operates England’s motorways and major A roads. The government-owned company is delivering £15 billion of investment in England’s major roads by 2021. The research funding has increased to £375,000 and Costain will be working with Salford, Cardiff, Huddersfield and Nottingham Trent Universities in the UK and Aalto University in Finland.

The ten projects include earthworks control, which aims to deliver efficiency gains in both time and cost through the elimination of idle time on earthwork equipment; a pilot study to investigate the effective deployment of Lean within SMEs (Small, Medium Enterprises) and the wider supply chain – around 90% of the Highways England budget goes to private sector businesses in the construction and civil engineering sectors; and optimizing handover so as to eliminate handover issues and provide seamless transition.

All projects are expected to be complete by the end of the year.

Said Andrew Wingrove, Highways England Technical Manager: “Highways England’s Lean research programme is targeted at delivering short to medium terms efficiency savings contributing to our £1.2 billion efficiency goal. Costain will provide in kind support to manage academia to facilitate research at site activity level that will change the way the highways construction sector works. This will deliver improvements in productivity, quality, safety and engagement with our supply chain, including SMEs.”

The funding is being made available to the universities via a project bank account (PBA), a ring-fenced account where payments are made simultaneously to both the lead contractor and the supply chain, improving speed of payment to the entire supply chain on a project and thereby delivering efficiencies.



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