Stewart Milne and Construction Scotland Innovation Centre team up to improve housebuilding efficiency

Housebuilder and offsite manufacturer the Stewart Milne Group has teamed up with the Construction Scotland Innovation Centre (CSIC) and Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) to better understand and measure current site productivity, downtime and waste.

CSIC and GCU also have a longer term ambition of developing a user-friendly way for other housebuilders to measure productivity on the construction site, improving efficiency right across the sector.

Improving productivity is a real opportunity for Scottish construction, impacting on cost, customer satisfaction, quality, output and profitability for the industry. Even relatively small improvements in productivity could drive significant gains for the Scottish economy – if productivity levels increased in line with the Scottish Government’s growth target of 30%, this would boost construction GVA by £2.6 billion.

Existing methods of measuring productivity on a construction site are relatively complex, relying on time and motion studies and data analysis. This project will gather data and better understand the site measurement process and means to analyse information, in order to improve Stewart Milne Group’s productivity. It will also inform a future simplified approach and methodology that can be used by housebuilders large and small, to help improve efficiency levels and business performance.

CSIC is funding the work of a research team from the Department of Construction and Surveying at Glasgow Caledonian University to carry out daily site monitoring, comparing existing timber frame construction methods with more advanced crane-erected offsite timber frame system. Detailed data, photo and video evidence is being captured and analysed, to unlock improvements that reduce material waste and labour downtime and increase productivity from a more advanced offsite timber frame system, building a strong business case for change.

Stewart Dalgarno, director of product development at Stewart Milne Group, said: “Site productivity is very important to the growth plans of the Stewart Milne Group and the future efficiency of our housing delivery approach. We have carried out previous research on our sites, identifying productivity opportunities and developed improved products and systems to exploit this. This project should allow us to take this to the next level, and also to share the findings, monitoring and benchmark our methodology with others in the sector. Improved productivity is good news for the industry, the end customer and the economy as a whole.”

Lucy Black, head of business relationships at CSIC, said: “Stewart Milne is a company which is leading the way in terms of using offsite construction methods, so this project will allow smaller housebuilders, or those who aren’t using offsite yet, to learn from their expertise and see the benefits of using this method of construction.

“As part of CSIC and Scottish Enterprise’s ‘Profit Through Productivity’ campaign for the construction sector, the valuable productivity information, practices and processes will be shared across the wider housebuilding sector over the next year, in order to improve overall efficiencies. Other housebuilders will also have the opportunity to benefit from CSIC funding to support the implementation of the new approach.”

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