Rethinking Construction – 10 years on?

It’s now ten years since Sir John Egan published his ground breaking report on the state of the construction industry ‘Rethinking Construction’.

So what’s’ changed and has it had an impact?

Rethinking Construction highlighted many of the problems endemic within the construction industry. The report made comparisons with leading organisations such as Toyota and Tesco and looked at how lessons could be learned in achieving efficiencies, quality control and, ultimately, delivering value to the customer?

The report concluded that construction performed badly when compared to other industries and that improvements had to made!

Key recommendations

  • Employing an Integrated Project Process – utilising the whole construction team, bringing the skills of all participants to bear on delivering value to the client; Keeping the same team together from project to project so they become better
  • Product Development – continuously developing a generic construction product to meet the needs of the client and consumer
  • Design for Construction in Use – suppliers and contractors have to be fully involved in the design. Quality must be fundamental to the design process. Defects need to be designed out before work starts. Lowest cost – competitive tendering does not offer best value – genuine long-term partnering arrangements should be the way forward
  • Training – put more into training the workforce – develop processes which are faster, safer and less costly.

The Verdict?

In an interview with Construction News Sir John expressed his disappointment with the lack of progress, thus far.

Although there were some good examples of projects which have lead the way (ironically, supermarkets such as Tesco were highlighted as examples as to how ‘informed clients have raised the game’) Sir John was critical of the industry as a whole, in particular, house builders who he singled out as being responsible for their own current misfortune by refusing to change.


Critical of the Government’s procurement policies he highlighted the NHS building program as a prime example of how not to get best value.

“The NHS”, he says, “have the same useless PFI process which saddles trusts with costs they can’t afford!”

On a positive note, Sir John acknowledges that in terms of training, safety and productivity the industry has improved with demo projects run by Construction Excellence as a demonstration of what can be done!

It will be interesting to see what the next 10 years brings, but as the future leaders of the industry it will be up to us construction students to make the difference!

2 thoughts on “Rethinking Construction – 10 years on?”

  1. Customer Services Manager (Now redundant after 10 years of striving to achieve customer satisfaction and quality control on building sites – which I hasten to add was achieved 9 times out of 10).

    No mention of sustainable products! No referal to the price of the sustainable and renewable energies!

    10 years on from now you will have the same situation we had 10 years ago….. The decent managers and trades will have found alternative careers because there are NO jobs available within construction. You will be experiencing far worse quality products being produced.

    Every construction company I have worked for has strived to reduce and build out possible latent defects, but we have been working with a hand built product and a waive of still poor workmanship after the last recession, which will only get worse.

    Not enough focus on the renewable energy if we are to be carbon free by 2010 – Can’t see this being achieved if everyone has been made redundant!

    Something needs to be done! I’d love to stop and chat, but I’m off to the job centre to sign on. After being taxed at 40% for the last 6 years for working 6 days a week and on call 24 hours a day, do you think my £900 mortgage a month will be covered?? No…. neither do I. If you know of anyone who wants to buy a partly converted 2 bed bungalow with buidling reg approval in the North West. Let me know!

  2. What will the next 10 years bring?
    Much of the same I fear – only worse! An industry in crisis, a mostly unskilled, unmotivated and illiterate workforce.
    The ‘show-piece’ schemes that exemplify best practice are too few and far between. The ordinary, everyday workings of the construction industry that most of us have to live with are stuck in the past.
    Maybe a widespread recession will be of some benefit in the long term?

Comments are closed.