How lean and efficient thinking could revolutionise the construction industry

Modern manufacturing has turned lean philosophy into a fine art. Simply put, it’s all about reducing waste, cost and effort while at the same time increasing quality, efficiency, and profitability.

Take Toyota as a case in point; largely recognised for trail-blazing lean manufacturing practices in John Krafcik’s 1988 article, “Triumph of the Lean Production System”, the auto manufacturer is now a global leader in its field. They’re doing something right.

How does the idea of replicating and perfecting this technique for the construction industry sound to you? Just a cursory glance at the benefits of leanness and efficiency leaves you in no doubt that the construction industry would benefit immensely from being able to replicate the principles of factory manufacturing, including the concept of factory fabrication.

What’s more, the risks that accompany traditional construction processes are well documented; cost, efficiency, and health and safety issues can be significantly reduced when buyers take the leap of faith of opting to use offsite builds.

That’s where Weholite comes in. Weholite manholes and chambers are truly revolutionary products that can remove weeks from programme delivery times with ease. Delivered quickly, ready to be installed and connected within minutes, it’s no far-fetched claim to suggest that these products mark the next evolution of the construction industry.

What still has some catching up to do is the mind-set of the industry as a whole. When modular products cost more upfront, buyers can be tempted to stick to traditional practices they’ve become accustomed to. It’s once they’ve seen the superior quality of Weholite first-hand and witnessed the real, tangible business benefits of the product that they’re likely to keep coming back for more. They also realise quickly that the overall cost of the product is significantly reduced when you consider time savings and a reduction in the need for heavy-lifting and health and safety equipment.

Take one of our recent projects with housebuilder Lovell as an example. A former brownfield site at Eversley Road in Norfolk was set to undergo an extensive redevelopment that would see the creation of 67 new high-quality homes in the area.

Initially, the Firs Park development site was mapped out with a concrete attenuation system in mind – but this was to change. Having worked with us on a previous project and gained a thorough understanding of the speed of production and delivery, as well as the versatility of our products, Allan Russell, Director of Russell Civil Engineering switched to a Weholite system instead.

Allan commented: “Having experienced first-hand the benefits of opting for a Weholite system, I felt strongly that using Weholite products was the right decision for this project. From experience, I’d seen just how versatile and high quality the product is in comparison to other products we have used previously.

“We were impressed by how effectively and efficiently the Weholite team worked, saving us time on our project schedule.”

We’re renowned for our ability to turn our hand to the trickiest of projects, creating innovative, bespoke solutions for our clients when they come up against all kinds of challenges. But this particular project shines a light on Weholite for another reason entirely. The Firs Park project was straightforward. Weholite wasn’t called upon to meet a particular issue or solve a specific problem. Instead, our product was used because it was the best one for the job. In terms of production speed, efficiency, and long-term benefits, our product was favourable over and above anything competitors could offer.

Trevor Haystead, Regional Operations Director at Lovell said: “We are committed to sourcing the best and most efficient products and procedures for all our projects. Taking the decision to use Weholite products in place of concrete pipes has enabled work at the Firs Park development to take place more efficiently than was initially anticipated.

“As it was our first time using Weholite, we had to overcome some initial challenges presented by stakeholders who were unfamiliar with the product, however, these were effectively resolved and we are pleased with the outcomes of the project and have resolved to use Weholite in future projects.”

We provided a total of twelve manholes for the project as well as 185 metres of 1050mm and 900mm diameter pipework and an additional six metres of bespoke pipework cut to the exact lengths required to finish runs.

And that’s the key. While we’re experts in developing pioneering ways to meet a variety of challenges, this project is about something different. Weholite is an incredible product in its own right – one that not only stands up to its competitors, but also has the capacity to blow them out of the water by transforming standard procedures in the industry to make them more efficient and effective.

Speaking about the role Asset played at the Lovell Firs Park development, our technical sales engineer Jonny Johnson, said: “The fact that this project originally planned to install a concrete attenuation system, yet ultimately implemented a Weholite HDPE system on the advice of skilled and knowledgeable engineers who had previously worked with us on another project, speaks volumes about the Weholite product.

“This was the first time that we had used Weholite on the Anglian Water framework, which meant that we encountered a few issues which were quickly resolved and we are pleased that the client has chosen to use Weholie on multiple projects.

“Spreading awareness about the capabilities of Weholite and making believers out of those in charge of construction projects across the UK is something we are passionate about. And so it is hugely gratifying to see the people behind projects like this really assessing the options available to them and coming to the conclusion that Weholite really is the best product for the job.”