The Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers Yorkshire Region
Cibse Yorkshire Region

Welcome message

Thank you for visiting our site; please explore to find out about our events, the volunteer committee or feel free to send any suggestions to us at
The CIBSE Yorkshire Committee
January 2018

Lean construction Introduction

Finding time to focus not only on improvements in general, but improving the right thing to achieve your time, cost, quality and value goals can be difficult, especially in the heat of a construction project. 

If your challenges include:

·  You want to be able to offer high value propositions at a reasonable price and still make money on the project

·      Your project teams don’t have time to plan and are often dealing with crisis management

·   You need to reduce costs and overhead and still deliver the project on time and to the budget

·    You want to improve team working both within your own team and with suppliers, subcontractors, partners and your client

·   You’re so busy dealing with the day to day problems that improvement projects are taking a back seat

Then Lean is a way of thinking and set of methodologies which will help you.

Lean Construction is all about effectiveness and efficiency.  In the current market we all need to find new ways to cut costs, while maintaining quality and programme and ensure we deliver customer value and stay one step ahead.  Lean can help you do this. 

In this introductory workshop you will discover:

·         What is Lean and why should I be interested?

·         The key principles and how they apply in construction

·         Some of the key lean tools used in construction and where to use them to get the best results 

We’ll look at how Lean can help solve real issues you have right now, and start coming up with solutions during the workshop. 

The seminar will be delivered by Louise Ebrey of Great Insiders (www.greatinsiders.comand Bridgewater Latitude worked in business improvement roles for Laing O’Rourke and GB Building Solutions for over 10 years.  She was part of the Lean teams at Heathrow Terminal 5 and North Staffs PFI Hospital.  She has implemented efficiency programmes on projects as diverse as social housing, schools, sports centres and mental health hospitals.  She now works as an independent consultant supporting in-house implementation teams. 

Louise is co-creator of the Great Insiders content, materials, seminars, workshops, mentoring and coaching programmes designed for people implementing improvement programmes such as Lean.

To book your place contact Jill Hoggan at

Sheffield University
Frederick Mapin Building
Room TBC

Event commences at 6:30pm
20/02/2013 18:30:57

Post event summary
Lean Construction – an introduction by Louise Ebrey
This will be best read alongside Louise’s presentation; you can view it at:
(there are two options, one to view the presentation and the other where Louise will contact you with further content connected to Lean which may be of interest, particularly if you missed the event)

Louise started off by asking the question “how much time do you spend chasing information?” and then followed it up by asking “how much time do you spend being chased?” to which the consensus in the room varied between 50% for each, 60% for one or 30% for the other with one thing being clear; it is too much and a few people were wondering how they manage to do something productive around all the chasing!

Certainly as that thought occurred Louise’s next question of “how would you benefit if you could get just 10% of that time back” got a number of heads nodding around the room and set out the stall for an interesting hour or so that was a mix of presentation, discussion and brainstorm.

We talked about the core concern that most people have of reliability; the expectation that others will not do what is expected of them at all, correctly or on time, and the waste of trying to manage that.

Defining Lean, Louise said it was about only doing what is of value to the customer; focusing on value added while trying to keep waste and necessary, but non-value added to a minimum.

An interesting question from the floor was whether we, as Engineers, do what they user expects or what the designer expects the user to want; there is a subtle difference which led Louise to enquire do we actually focus on what our customers are delivering to their customers?

We then moved on to the different types of waste and how there is another added to the original 7; not using the skills of people within a business, coupled with the difficulty identifying those skills. As a recruiter I can identify with that as a lot of businesses only realise those skills either when someone leaves or after investing a significant amount of time in recruiting someone new.

After discussion about the process of identifying what customers want, and how that can be a moving goalpost, we looked at the tools and techniques associated with Lean. Essentially the summary was that tools are fine, to a point, but buy in is crucial; the whole organisation or team needs to understand why Lean is important. A big part of Lean is communication, both how you communicate down and how you listen to those around you with the most important aspect being your response to their ideas.

Following a quick summary of systems thinking, and how we are all part of systems (such as the companies we work for, the projects we work on, CIBSE, family, etc.) and how they interrelate with each other through us we moved on to process improvement. My main takeaway from this was that most issues are not down to human error, but how people are put in positions where they have opportunity to make bad decisions.

As the whirlwind tour of Lean continued, Louise talked through many of the phrases associated with Lean including Kanban, or ticket. Essentially it is something which is a signal to restock; a call to action such as the red line on a till roll that is quietly shouting “change me now!”. She gave the example how by using Kanban and a number of other techniques the small goods stock room during the building of Heathrow T5 went from fulfilling 75% of requests for items to 95% - a stunning change that had significant benefits for each organisation on the project and for the scheme as a whole.

This led nicely on to the benefits of planning and specifically Collaborative Planning with the importance of the high level plan and it correlating to what needs to happen on site.

Louise cited that typically when deciding daily or weekly plans when asked what people will do, they would actually achieve only 45%-55% of it, but in time and with questioning this would reach 90%-95% accuracy enabling a significant gain in reliability, more effective planning for all and of course, gains. When discussing how those gains were achieved, it was not just through people being more realistic about what they can achieve, but also other factors affecting their work such as plant, deliveries, information etc. allowing root cause issues to be found and addressed.

Not for the first time in the evening BIM was mentioned and how there are a lot of opportunities/parallels between the two methodologies.

Louise then talked through a case study of the North Staffordshire Hospital where the join up between the two was brilliantly illustrated. She had worked on the project and Peter Court from Crown House used it as the basis for his PhD on Lean.

She showed the methodologies that were being used on site at the start of the project; workbenches made from pallets and scaffolding boards for example and then briefly discussed how everything was analysed and reviewed in line with Lean methodologies.

This coupled with BIM and its focus on cohesiveness throughout the build (not just design or contracting) team led to a number of changes in all areas of the job. They brought in zoning and grouped workers in to dedicated teams to reduce cross over and improve expertise, developed bespoke racks to hold modules during installation, portable benches to reduce the amount of time people spent walking around.

We then moved on to looking at the difference between efficient and effective; effective is doing the right thing while efficient is doing something, possibly the wrong thing, well. This tied up the whole aim of what Louise had been discussing and the importance of not just being better at things, but making sure our activity is the right activity.

In summing up, discussion was had about how neither Lean nor BIM were magic wands to bring about improvement. It is important to be realistic in your aspirations, communicate the consequences of missed deadlines and the value of “why” to what they are doing a task; it is not to build a school, but to create a place for children to learn for example.

Further questions asked and thoughts raised included:
  • Where can Lean add value to a consultancy?
  • Getting different designers together
  • Process mapping
  • Getting people working together and raising understanding of expectations such detailed calculations versus rough.

The differences of perceived value to various stakeholders and the importance of measuring the right one and how that may not be not the normal ones.

Chaordic Thinking; effectively taking a range of ideas from the shop floor as to how something should be done and developing a solution from the commonalities between those ideas.

The value of giving people the autonomy to find their own solutions rather than insisting that they use the solutions of others.

In all, Louise gave a very fast, but logical tour of Lean strongly demonstrating the value of it beyond building services and construction as a whole with a lot of food for thought.

Upcoming Events

Events coming soon...

Recent Events

CIBSE Social - the end of year wrap up!

White Cloth Gallery


Tuesday 05 December 2017




Tuesday 05 December 2017


The WELL Building Standard with Andy Chell

Leeds - actual venue to be confirmed

Wednesday 22 November 2017