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Government Attends 'Lean' Summit

09 December 2014

Costain recently co-sponsored the Lean Construction Institute (LCI) UK’s Summit in Birmingham, which focussed on what the industry is doing to meet the challenges laid out in the UK Government’s Construction 2025 strategy.

The recent event was attended by a number of high profile industry speakers and guests, including Peter Hansford, the Government’s Chief Construction Adviser; Graham Dalton, the Chief Executive of the Highways Agency; Mike Putnam, President and Chief Executive at Skanska UK; and Graeme Shaw, Head of the Northern Line Extension, TfL. Attending from Costain’s senior management team was Tim Bowen, Group Corporate Development Director, and Tony Blanch, Costain’s Business Improvement Director and an LCI board member.

Delegates heard presentations from Costain about how it is using Lean improvements to deliver more cost effective solutions for its customers, which included:

• Factory Thinking: Joined up asset thinking across asset lifecycle (Colin Reynell)
• Leaner Construction through Research Collaboration:  Lean R&D carried out between Costain, the HA, LCI-UK and a number of universities (Matt Gilligan)
• Lean Liverpool: Lean Leadership and Building Information Modelling (BIM) aspects from Liverpool Water Treatment Works (Andy Fielding)

“A common theme from the summit was the need to combine Lean, Collaboration, BIM, Innovation and Factory Thinking to achieve the targets set out in the Government's Construction 2025 strategy,” said Tony.

The Government’s 2025 targets are ambitious and far reaching. Under the strategy, the Government is targeting a 33% reduction in both the initial cost of construction and the whole-life cost of assets, and a 50% reduction in the overall time from inception to completion for new build and refurbished assets. Launched in 2013, the strategy also calls for a 50% reduction in the trade gap between total exports and total imports for construction products and materials, and a 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in the built environment.

Helping to cut out and reduce waste, from 2016 the British Government wants BIM to be employed on all centrally procured Government contracts. BIM is also critical to the successful implementation of a wider offsite manufacturing strategy, which is similar to Costain’s Factory Thinking and a more standardised approach to construction where product selection, prefabrication and offsite construction can lead to a much swifter and safer onsite assembly process.

“The 2025 targets require us to be smarter in our thinking as well as our delivery, with an emphasis on embracing the digital economy, investing in research to achieve cost and time saving efficiencies, while delivering innovative solutions for our customers,” said Tony.

This approach is in line with Costain’s Engineering Tomorrow strategy, the Company’s commitment to identifying, developing and implementing innovative solutions to meet the UK’s major national infrastructure needs.

In addition to the LCI Summit, Costain held its own Lean Conference the following week, which was attended by Lean practitioners from across the Group. Tim Bowen explained how important Lean is to the Company’s Engineering Tomorrow strategy and delegates took part in a series of discussion groups to enhance the deployment of Lean and other improvement techniques across the business. For more information about the Lean Construction Institute UK and to look at the presentations from the summit, please click here.




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