Guide to good practice launches today

The construction industry is “punching below its weight” and must improve to attract talent, the European managing director for construction at Lendlease has said ahead of the publication of an initiative advising the private sector on addressing its stagnant productivity.

Simon Gorski is executive sponsor of the working group behind the private sector construction playbook and admitted the industry’s progress on the issue had been “blighted by a lack of openness and transparency”.


Simon Gorski, managing director in Europe for construction at Lendlease

The private sector guide, which will be launched today, has been produced by some of the UK’s biggest developers, contractors, architects and engineers under the umbrella of the Construction Productivity Taskforce, and sets out best practice and case studies for firms to learn from.

It lists 10 key drivers for success, which include long-term contracting, an outcome-based approach, embedding digital information flows across the life of assets, early supply chain involvement and fair payment.

“This is not a report […] you can pick this up now and if your minded to do so, with case studies to guide you, you can implement these guiding principles,” said Gorski.

Entitled ‘trust and productivity’, the guide has been endorsed by industry bodies including the Construction Leadership Council and the British Property Federation, and aims to be the private sector equivalent to the Construction Playbook published by the government in 2020.

>> Improve productivity measurement to improve efficiency, says taskforce

“If you’ve set your businesses to approach delivering projects and programmes in a certain way with the public sector, why can’t it be very similar with the private sector,” said Gorski.

UK construction productivity growth fell by an average of 0.6% each year between 1997 and 2019 according to Oxford Economics, while the productivity of the whole UK economy rose 2.8%.

“You walk around London […] and you look around and the architecture is stunning”, Gorski said. “The built environment, generally, is excellent, but of course it is excellent because it is not utilitarian – it is unique, it’s different.”

He said that while this uniqueness had made it difficult to compare productivity with manufacturing sectors, which construction is often benchmarked against, there were nonetheless productivity gains to b emade through advancements in physical and digital technology.

“You can create a whole lot of standardisation in product, in floor space, layout, but then you can still, for example on the facade, create character in the shape and block,” he said.

The taskforce was set up in 2020 by non-profit Be the Business and is comprised of British Land, Skanska, Lendlease, BAE Systems, Landsec, Sir Robert McAlpine, SOM, Turner & Townsend, Bryden Wood, Morrisroe, GPE, Mace and Cast.