I remember the first time I saw the power that process, properly applied, can bring to improving performance.
It was over twenty years ago, and I was part of a team that had to design and construct a £120m, 38,000m2, 700 bed acute hospital in 1/3rd less time that the previous benchmark. To help do this, we decided to apply lean manufacturing techniques to the construction site, turning the construction site into a factory for the construction of the hospital. We worked with a lean practitioner who had us play a simple game simulating the production of a product, where each of us had to assemble a component as a step in the production process. We initially applied a normal way of working to producing the products, which proved to be completely chaotic putting everyone under pressure. We then applied a lean approach and the contrast was dramatic, obviously better in every way, work flowed and everyone was relaxed and under no pressure. That experience taught me that process properly applied can really deliver improved performance.
Two of the most pressing issues the Constructing Excellence membership have asked the asset management group to review are the proper application of process and use of data in the design, construction and operation of built assets. These issues are inexorably linked and form the focus of three of our workshops this year.
We examined the application of process at our latest workshop “How can process improve built asset operational performance?” which was hosted by Bouygues, last Wednesday in London.
At our workshop, we dealt with three process themes, the application of collaborative processes, using process to improve performance in the design and operation of buildings and the application of Building Information Modelling (BIM) to the construction and operation of built assets.
- George Stevenson, ActivePlan Consulting Ltd – Managing Director and member of the CE Collaborative Working Champion shared with us the integrated toolkit, an approach to deliver better construction outcomes. He also explained how BIM data can be used to more successfully operate built assets.
- Dr Andy Lewry, Principal Consultant, Sustainable Energy Team, BRE explained how the application of structured approaches such as benchmarking and certification can lead to buildings that perform higher in terms of operational costs, rental value and tenant satisfaction.
- Chloe Obi, Head of BIM at Bouygues and her colleague Ahmed Al-Naggar overviewed the approach Bouygues are applying to BIM in construction and the operation of build assets post construction. Their presentation highlighted the value that BIM can bring to projects as a component of a joined-up asset management strategy and plan.
For me the takeaway conclusion from the day is that you need to start by defining the core purpose and value you want to derive from your build assets to be able to identify the appropriate processes to apply to your project life cycle (i.e. through its design, procurement, construction, setting to work and operation). This is because the outcomes and information you will need to track will be specific to your organisation and its circumstances. Taking this approach will allow you to identify what you need to achieve at each step of your project and what processes will support you in doing this.
My summary is that once you’ve successfully developed the big picture for your project, attention to the detail of what happens will really make a big difference. It is clear from our workshop presentations, discussions and the experience of CE members that process properly applied can really empower performance.
John O’Brien is chair of the asset management group and the founder and MD of LCMB a building performance specialist which helps clients improve the performance and productivity of their buildings. You can download a copy of the workgroups previous report Delivering built asset operational excellence and secure a place to attend future asset management group meetings and workshops by contacting John O’Brien, Group chair email@example.com or Colm Quinn, Group secretary Colm.Quinn@constructingexcellence.org.uk.
The dates of our next workshops and the asset management issues we will address are detailed below:
|1.30pm 26th April 2017||The use of big data to improve built asset performance||Unlocking and using big data to improve built asset performance|
|1.30pm 12th July 2017||Integrating data systems||How to improve the performance of built assets by joining up data systems|
|1.30pm 20th September 2017||Making existing built asset work||How to improve the performance of existing built assets|
|1.30pm 24th January 2018||Asset management summit||Joining up guidance and insights for CE members to help differentiate their services|