Innovation in Buildings – demonstrator projects

An introduction from Mike Chaldecott,
‘Many of us are encouraged to try something new and change our behaviours when we can see evidence of the benefits or receive personal recommendations. One of the major barriers to innovation in the housing sector, which is preventing us from making the shift towards smart construction is the lack of a business case for change and ability to demonstrate the benefits. The Construction Leadership Council’s Innovation in Building’s workstream aims to overcome this barrier by supporting and promoting demonstrator projects that are backed up by in-use performance date. Simon Cross from the BRE and his team of industry experts have been leading this work, so please join us in confidently trying something new…’

Imagine a world… where the construction industry learns through evidence
When it comes to taking the whole construction industry forward into a more effective and efficient place, I’m often struck by how reluctant many companies are to adopting the new, to doing something a different way – and possibly, to improve things in the process.

Several months on from the Farmer review of the construction industry, the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) and its affiliates have been working with contractors, developers, architects, local authorities and many more to look at ways to ‘modernise or die’, as Mark Farmer directly framed it.

Lessons learnt through demonstration
When a few innovate, and a few more try something new and see that it works for them (the early adopters), often the others will follow – it happened in the tech industry with products like tablets, it took a while for the majority to understand the benefits to them before being ready to give it a go.

One of the best ways to help those within this majority become ‘ready’ to adopt anew concept (or in this case, product), was word of mouth – hearing from other users how great theproduct was.

I believe that the same needs to happen in our industry
As such, the CLC is working with those working across industry, across a variety of sectors and projects to demonstrate improved ways of constructing our built environment through great leadership, backed up with a clear cut evidence base. We are doing this by gathering the right people together with the right evidence, who can collectively demonstrate that there is a better future for the construction sector, in terms of lower overall cost, better delivery of projects and better buildings and infrastructure.

An evidence-based demonstration is vital to understanding performance. Within my role at BRE, I oversee the SiteSmart platform, that helps businesses measure their health, safety and environmental impacts on construction sites – and every time I meet with our customers, I see the difference that having this information makes to them.

From spotting ongoing trends, to making better, data driven decisions , and ultimately in being able to deliver a project in a more efficient and cost effective way – this evidence really helps them improve performance.

What if we went one step further?
So what if we could expand this methodology across various disciplines, and across various companies and sectors within the whole construction industry, enabling individuals and companies to learn from not only their own performance, but also across the industry?

Through understanding and demonstrating performance of projects around key performance indicators like measuring pre-manufacturing value (PMV), and productivity £/man hour, companies can tweak and adapt their own processes and methodologies in order to improve performance.

Faster, better quality, less risk, lower cost
In no particular order, these are all of high priority to many within this industry, and as such, it’s important to innovate, to make different decisions and to find new ways of achieving our goals, measuring and learning from our performance as we go – to aid us in tomorrow’s building and infrastructure projects. Transforming the construction industry will not only positively impact the economy and wider society, but help businesses in our sector grow and develop the confidence and drive to compete in the global race.
So here’s my challenge.

Join us.
If you have a great housing project which has achieved high performance levels relative to productivity, please contact me at . Become one of those pioneering the next age of the construction industry, through demonstrating your performance across projects.

Simon Cross
Director of SiteSmart

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