Loughborough University’s School of Civil and Building Engineering has expertise in lean construction techniques and has worked with a wide range of companies to improve efficiency, cut costs and reduce waste.

Established in 1990, SDB Contractors specialises in sustainable social housing, both new build and refurbishment projects.

The challenge

With the onset of the recession, cost became a driving force across the construction industry – the cheapest tenders generally being successful.

Dedicated to quality and sustainability, SDB Contractors found it difficult to compete. To thrive without compromising its values, the company wanted to investigate the potential of lean construction – and embarked on a 30-month Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) with Loughborough’s experts.

The benefits

Adopting lean techniques across its operations, the company reported improved production and operational efficiencies – eliminating waste and speeding up construction whilst maintaining its credentials for high-quality, sustainable buildings.

The move to lean also helped the company to achieve the quality management standard ISO9001 – whilst also becoming more competitive on price.

What’s more, the 30-month project established a culture of learning and continuous improvement within the company, helping it to become more robust and deal with challenges as they arise.