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25th September Journal Column

Web-LogoBy Catriona Lingwood, Chief Executive of Constructing Excellence in the North East

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) published the latest Key Performance Indicators (KPI) last week and the results are not what we wanted to see.

The figures, which were compiled by BIS, the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB), Glenigan and Constructing Excellence, show that three out of five construction projects are delivered late. The industry’s ability to deliver work on time fell to 40 per cent this year, from 45 per cent in 2014.

The highest level of projects delivered on time recorded in the history of the survey was 58 per cent back in 2007, which sounds impressive compared to where are now; but it’s not really something to celebrate, it means that as an industry we only managed to deliver just over half of projects on time.

Another major concern for the industry came in the customer satisfaction scores, with customers rating their finished products an 8 out of 10 or higher on only 81 per cent of surveyed projects. It’s not much of a change from last year, just one per cent lower, but it now means that satisfaction scores have fallen for three years in a row.

This brings us back to the on-going issue of skills shortages and training. The industry must increase training provisions to address productivity levels. An increase in productivity is always a good thing, but we’re never going to get there if contractors can’t deliver work to both a high standard and on time.

And it wasn’t just customer satisfaction that fell. Contractors also rated satisfaction with the performance from the client, and figures show that only 69 per cent of client performance was rated 8 out of 10 or higher, showing that work needs to be done from both ends in order for us to see an improvement.

However, there is light at the end of the tunnel in terms of cost predictability. Last year, projects coming in on budget or better hit an all-time high with 69 per cent, and the industry has managed to hold on to the same score this year. It would have been nice to see a little increase, but looking at the rest of the figures, it’s the least of our worries.

In terms of meeting the government’s Construction 2025 performance target, the results show that the industry is making very limited progress.

Sticking to agreed project timings is still a big problem for a lot of contractors, but they have managed to complete many projects within budget. This is a far cry away from the 50 per cent reduction in the time it takes to get a project from concept to completion and reduction in costs by a third that we are aiming for. 2025 might seem a lifetime away, but with some figures only changing by a marginal one per cent each year, more effort needs to be made to ensure we reach the targets the government are expecting from us.

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