As discussed earlier, the Latham report looked into the performance of organisations and concluded that the client should be at the centre of the construction process.
The Latham report also suggested that the industry should move away from the competitive adversarial nature and adopt an integrated ethos with a greater focus on teamwork. However, despite the report’s findings and recommendations, at the time few industry changes were made to address the issues it highlighted.
As a result, in 1997, deputy prime minister John Prescott set up the Construction Task Force (a group chaired by Sir John Egan) with the aim of improving quality and efficiency in UK construction.
In 1998, the group published the Rethinking Construction report – also known as the Egan Report.
Among other things, the report identified five key drivers of change that needed to set the agenda for the construction industry at large:
- Committed leadership
- A focus on the customer
- Integrated processes and teams
- A quality driven agenda
- Commitment to people
The issues surrounding the client or customer and integrated processes and teams are called connectivity issues.
Building teams in the construction industry can sometimes cut customers or clients out of the decision-making process, leading to a disconnect in work carried out. This is often due to traditional procurement methods.
For example, clients have traditionally used architects and other project managers to oversee various stages of their projects. However, as work on the project progresses, we often see these managers taking over and the client becoming more and more disengaged from their own project.
The report called for clients in the major private and public sectors to work together to ensure a more consistent and joined-up approach.
With reference to teams, the report states that:
‘The key premise behind the integrated project process is that teams of designers, constructors and suppliers work together through a series of projects, continuously developing the product and the supply chain, eliminating waste in the delivery process, innovating and learning from experience.’
(Egan 1998: 19)
In addition to its comments on teams, the report proposed industry targets for annual reductions in construction costs and time (10%) and defects in projects (20%).
Two of the major contributions that Building Information Modelling (BIM) can make to construction projects come in the form of savings in time and costs, and although projects that demonstrate these contributions are rarely popularised, the advantages can be clearly seen over various stages of project lifecycles.
BIM also enables improvement in construction processes by promoting early detection of defects and allowing problems to be addressed before they impact time and resources.
Finally, BIM improves the connectivity of teams within the Architectural, Engineering and Construction (AEC) sector. Traditionally, construction teams have worked independently and have failed to disclose information to each other, even when working on the same project. Consequently, teams have had to produce their own new drawings instead of being able to refer to the work and progress of others.
In your own words, comment on how you think BIM can improve connectivity of teams within the AEC industry?
Egan, J. (1998) Rethinking Construction: The Report of the Construction Task Force [online] available from http://constructingexcellence.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/rethinking_construction_report.pdf [7 June 2018]
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