University establishes a research centre to improve business efficiency in design and construction

Nottingham Trent University has established a research centre with a focus on improving business efficiency across the design and construction sectors. The Centre for Lean Projects (CLP@NTU) is a research-led group concerned with researching and developing improved management and delivery of projects for businesses.

The lean approach changes the way work is done throughout an organisation’s project delivery process, with the principal aim of maximising value and minimising waste.

The CLP@NTU – which aims to provide firms with a range of personal, team and organisational learning to help develop new ways of thinking and working – is being spearheaded by the university’s School of Architecture, Design and the Built Environment.

It will run events, workshops and seminars for networking and dissemination of research; continuing professional development and short courses; and industry-based action learning projects.

Its international team of doctoral researchers are working on industry level research around lean project production. The Centre will also carry out blue sky and exploratory research including research into commercial arrangements supporting lean project production, integrated project design and production processes, the management of complex or multiple projects, or making the cultural shift to ‘lean’ in project-based organisations.

Christine Pasquire, professor of Lean Project Management, said: “The Centre for Lean Projects enables the exchange of learning from practice to classroom and back again, promoting a continuous improvement spiral. Lean is about continually improving what we do by engaging with people to take charge of their own work and make it more efficient. This is crucially important at a time when the government is calling for efficiency savings.”

Professor Pasquire, who is also a director and trustee of the Lean Construction Institute UK Ltd, added: “The close involvement of a wide variety of organisations provides the opportunity to learn on the job and means that students and researchers are continually exposed to the realities of the workface and the demands of teams, projects and organisations.

“This enables us to find answers to real world problems and issues and helps our customers to become learning organisations. We can develop the capability to deal with problems within the organisation, to be creative in the way they work and the way they behave.”

As well as representatives from academic Schools across NTU, the CLP is made up of researchers and partners from both industry and academia.