In response to feedback from our people, we continued to transform our IT services in 2019. This will support the business in its move to become a digital construction company.
We set a new standard with our leading-edge Microsoft Surface PC and laptop devices, upgraded over 30 networks and launched a new chat facility to improve contact with our helpdesk.
We made significant progress on rolling out Office 365 across the business, rebuilding our IT services, making better use of the data we collect and introducing tools enabling our people to work agilely. We’ve invested in technology and hardware to ensure that our people can collaborate without unnecessary travel and create an inclusive and flexible business environment.
To underpin all this, we’ve moved from in-house data centres and servers to flexible cloud-based computing. Our aim is to move all our business systems to cloud-based technology over the next couple of years.
In 2019 we streamlined and integrated our systems and applications to ease the administrative burden on our people. These systems include our new supply chain database, online payslips and electronic expenses and a new learning system.
The Yellow Book
In the 12 months since its launch, our internal ‘Yellow Book’ has provided our people, designers, customers and supply chain partners with clear, informed guidance on mandatory design and product choices. The positive impact of The Yellow Book is evidenced by the quality of our end-product and a reduction in the cost of rectifying errors.
Adapting to a changing world is a key priority for our business, so in 2019 we continued our focus on innovation with our people submitting ideas to our Eureka! research and development fund.
In 2019 we continued to trial 4D planning which integrates our 3D models and project programmes. This is enabling us to better visualise our construction intentions and their interdependency with time. We trialled both 3D and 4D visualisations with our customers, our site teams and our supply chain partners, to help improve the quality of our end product, health and safety and increase productivity. Our ambition is to make such approaches our new norm.
As a product-focused business, we are committed to evolving and moving forward with new ideas and ways of working that solve our customers’, our industry’s and our own challenges. In 2019, we heightened our focus on offsite construction, launching an internal guide and continued to seek opportunities to standardise our product whether onsite, offsite or near site.
On the Aberfeldy Village project, we procured 40% of the project elements on an offsite-prefabrication basis, helping to address the customer’s concerns of noise, dust and local road congestion.
We are establishing a set of pre-designed products to help us meet the needs of our customers looking for off-site and pre-manufactured solutions. We will develop and maintain a comprehensive suite of components from which a range of standard rooms, room clusters and ultimately whole buildings (‘products’) will be generated.
Each component will be digitally designed including all performance and specification data. All new products will deliver market-leading product environmental performance, including our Energy SynergyTM approach, net zero carbon in use, reduced embodied carbon and reduced waste.