The construction sector is constantly looking for ways to boost productivity and output.

Not-for-profit group Be the Business outlined seven steps which contractors could take to boost productivity. These include early engagement with supply chain firms to identify scope for better data and technology use and collating and using data to reduce emissions and ramp up productivity.

Some big names were involved in the project – Landsec, Lendlease and architect Bryden Woodworked with industry giants Mace, Skanska and Sir Robert McAlpine.

The seven steps are based on two construction projects and I’m proud that Apex – as a County Durham manufacturer – was involved in one of them. Landsec’s “The Forge” in London utilised the seven steps:

  • Step 1: Engage – supply chain and stakeholders
  • Step 2: Define – workshop to agree key metrics
  • Step 3: Identify data – to measure key metrics
  • Step 4: Identify technology – to capture data
  • Step 5: Collate data – technologies and processes to streamline data collection
  • Step 6: Measure and analyse – test metrics and identify improvements
  • Step 7: Improve and feedback

With cost increases and pandemic delays, everyone is looking at ways to increase their margins. We are constantly looking at productivity as a business, investing constantly in skills, waste reduction and we’re examining net-zero technology to reduce our environmental impact.

Planning is a key part of improving productivity – with better preplanning we devised solutions to work during the pandemic and these must be carried on and developed. Safety improvements have been another key success, but we also had time, as an industry, to reflect on quality and waste reduction.

This isn’t about doing things “on the cheap”. The framework means productivity is central to planning and management and considered as early in the design process as possible.

As part of construction’s supply chain, we welcome that.