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Housing Forum worse than average on safety

M4 - demonstration projects outperforming industry but housing hit by innovation costs

FIGURES on construction industry performance released this week revealed that Housing Forum demonstration projects were less safe, more expensive and less profitable than the sector average.

A new batch of Key Performance Indicators published by the DTI, Rethinking Construction and the Construction Best Practice Programme, show there were 1,003 reportable accidents per 100,000 employed on Housing Forum projects compared with an average of 990.

The profit margin on the 53 forum schemes was 3 per cent, compared with 6 per cent across the industry, while costs also rose 8 per cent against the rest of the housing sector's 3 per cent.

Rethinking Construction chairman Alan Crane put the disappointing figures down to problems with supply. He said: 'There was a capacity problem in the industry last year because manufacturers could not keep up with demand for timber frames.'

The KPI results also show that research and development caused construction costs on projects that introduced an innovation to be the same or higher than those using conventional methods.

Housing Forum projects excelled on client satisfaction and defects ratings, comfortably outperforming the rest of the sector.

Meanwhile, M4I data for 99 demonstration projects revealed that the schemes were twice as safe as the industry average and showed significant improvements in 10 of the 14 construction benchmarks. Profitability increased only marginally - 5.8 per cent against 5.6 per cent.

Mr Crane said: 'This information relates to individual projects, but companies will be making savings in overhead costs which are not shown in the figures.'

The first set of KPIs measuring respect for people also showed that just one in three people surveyed scored their job satisfaction at 8 out of 10 or better. Fifteen per cent of the workforce is covered by Investors in People recognition.

Mr Crane added: 'If we don't get behind this, then we may as well not bother with the rest of it, because it is people who deliver improvements.'