2018 UK Industry Performance Report published – comment from Don Ward

Constructing Excellence

My colleague Colm Quinn gave an overview of our new SmartSiteKPIs portal at UK Construction Week in Birmingham ahead of the launch of the annual Industry Performance Report. I’d like add a few points.

First of all, let me place on record our thanks to Salford University who produced the first KPI engine as a tool for projects and companies to measure their performance. They kept this going for us well beyond the time when they could have just ceased to support an aged platform. At last we have put a replacement tool into place, and we are most grateful to Peter McDermott and his colleagues.

Secondly, it is hard to believe but it is 20 years since I chaired the government-sponsored committee which first defined these measures and published the annual performance report. Those of a certain vintage may have nostalgic memories of drawing lines on wallcharts like the one pictured here!

Constructing Excellence

Since then we have been the go-to place for what and how to benchmark, and have provided the tools to enable people to measure and compare their own performance on the basis of ‘apples with apples’, as a basis for prioritising improvements. Our primary objective is to encourage any client, contractor, consultant or supplier to compare their own data and ask the question “Why… [is my data like that?]” – after which they are drawn naturally into the cycle of benchmarking, a vital strategy for driving business improvement.

Turning to the latest Industry Performance report from Glenigan, and with thanks also to CITB who have contributed funding in recent years, I would make the following observations about some of the long-term trends in the data:

  • Safety is 75% better than 2 decades ago – but has it plateaued?
  • Cost predictability has risen from 50% to 66% over 2 decades – but again has it pleateau-ed?
  • Time predictability has improved by 50% in the last 2 years compared with the previous 15 years. Will this be sustained?
  • As non-housing got better, housing got progressively worse – until this year, can the housing close the gap?
  • Data from BRE SmartSite shows waste to landfill has reduced dramatically
  • Our data shows productivity has improved over the past two decades… How does this tally with other national data which shows construction stubbornly unable to raise productivity?
  • Profitability remains poor, and transformative business models are required.

Constructing Excellence has written elsewhere about the new data portal [link to new CE page. I highly commend it. It is a critical tool to compare any project or portfolio with a) others in peer group, b) CE members c) national performance, d) other sectors, e) international performance.  Any organisation that wants to pool their data should get in touch for a discussion abut the terms on which we should do this, adding value to both our data sets. We have big interest outside our core business of UK construction, eg in the oil and gas and petrochem industry through our sister organisation ECI and internationally in New Zealand, Qatar

Finally, it is important that we review the current core set of KPIs in the context of right measures for Sector Deal, productivity, social value, and demonstrating the benefits and business case from transformational approaches such as offsite, BIM, collaboration/integration/lean, etc. Also to ensure as far as possible that we standardise what and how people measure. To this end we have held discussions with the Sector Deal team, BuildUK and SCS, and are working on valuable alignment with the latter.

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