Chris Newman, Operations Manager at Deeley Construction, has been leading the company’s implementation of Lean Construction principles – with clients already seeing the benefits on a range of projects this year.
In our latest blog, Chris discusses the work that has been done so far, the impact it is having and why it is important now more than ever to be efficient in the delivery of high-quality projects.
We have always been committed at Deeley to providing the best possible results for our clients and delivering on the family values of the business: integrity, partnership, community, respect and agility.
Agility is one of our core values and by implementing the principles of Lean Construction we are becoming more efficient and agile as a business.
We started this process over three years ago and continue to adapt and embed this way of working within the operations of our business on a daily basis. Through our continuous improvement ethos we are now seeing significant benefits at many of our developments.
The fundamental objectives of reducing wasted activity, increasing efficiency in the workplace and stabilising quality are at the heart of our Lean Construction drive.
Construction is a challenging industry, and this has been exacerbated with pressures on supply, driving costs and timescales ever increasing. There is a widespread problem in the industry that the majority of jobs fail to finish on time. However, this is not inevitable. Steps can be taken to make the whole construction process more efficient and increase the certainty of meeting our targets.
At Deeley Group, we are enhancing our training, development and management to be leaner in our approach, and ultimately aim to deliver all of our projects on time, every time, by 2025.
Every job is unique and as a main contractor adaptability is essential. Every job has a wide range of specialists involved too – but by using Lean principles it allows all parties to pull in the same direction with the goal of delivering more value for the client.
For us it has been about changing the way we communicate and collaborate, ensuring that everyone involved in a project is on the same page and truly understands the needs of the customer.
For all of our developments, we now have regular meetings with all of our subcontractors and specialists in one place, which makes for insightful conversation between experts and allows solutions to problems to be resolved more efficiently and effectively.
Since January 2022, we have been delivering Lean Construction workshops across the whole business with all of our delivery teams. We ran twelve workshops between January and April and had great engagement from everyone involved.
This, coupled with designing a new system which allows us to plan and communicate more effectively, has had a significant impact. We will be continuing to run workshops as we refine our improvement targets within our practices.
A prime example of Lean Construction in full effect is the completion of Poppy Meadows in Didcot, Oxfordshire, which was a Housing 21 – Extra Care scheme.
We finished the development ahead of schedule and to an excellent standard. The communication between sub-contractors meant that everyone saw the bigger picture of what they were contributing to, rather than limiting this to their own speciality.
The system of collaboration and communication made it a smoother process – it was executed to excellence by the site team and with a committed, well organised, and valued client, we completed the development five weeks early.
We are also seeing the benefits of the system on a care home development for Exemplar Health Care in Walsall Wood. The principles have been implemented very well on site, the quality is stable and the project team are working exceptionally well together. As with Didcot, we are in a really strong position to finish on schedule.
The Lean Construction principles bring benefits for our clients, sub-contractors and the Deeley Group. Being able to consistently access your planned work, because it has been checked, signed off and made ready for the next trade, helps to create a healthy workflow and steady activity on site.
For the firm, being able to demonstrate how we can manage our delivery process better, and deliver higher-quality results on time, gives us a competitive advantage when tendering for work.
In the current market, as the pressures continue to impact the industry, being able to manage projects effectively is becoming increasingly important.
Over the next 12 months we will be working on fine tuning processes and will continue training our staff in the principles of Lean Construction, to develop a maturity throughout our workplace culture. We have also invested and are currently implementing a new digital platform to robustly manage our quality control as part of our Lean change programme.
This is just one of a number of systems we will introduce in the next few years of forecasted growth.
I am immensely proud of our staff at Deeley and the efforts that everybody has given towards this change programme. Our clients, staff and supply chains will benefit from this hard work for many years to come as we demonstrate that we can deliver our schemes differently. We can deliver them better. We can deliver them Lean.