Etex Building Performance UK’s managing director, Neil Ash, shares his thoughts on how speeding up drywall installation is one important way to drive up productivity in our industry.

Britain is suffering from a productivity crisis. According to the Office for National Statistics, the gap between British workers and those in other western economies is now the largest it has ever been since modern records began. It now takes a UK worker five days to produce what their German counterparts can deliver in four.

Construction is no different. The high-profile Farmer Review, Modernise or Die, calls for the construction industry to urgently improve its efficiency.

Reducing project build times has always been important, but now more than ever we need to find new ways to speed up construction processes. We’re facing a housing shortfall, with an estimated 300,000 additional homes needed annually. Boosting construction’s productivity is key to meeting this challenge, but quicker build times will also help to lower project costs and bring  significant industry benefits.

If we are to drive productivity, we should look at two things.

First, we need to embrace a more collaborative approach to working to ensure that the valuable knowledge that lies further down the supply chain is brought to the fore. This will help clients and contractors to tap into their expertise early on, when a project’s design and the programme of works can still be influenced.

Second, we need to continue looking at the installation process in greater detail to drive  efficiencies. Specifiers,  manufacturers and dryliners all need to work together to share best practice and develop new, quicker ways of working.

We take on-site productivity seriously, investing in our own research projects to develop new innovations to cut installation times and boost installer efficiency. We’ve been working with the BRE (Building Research Establishment) to assess the speed of installation for a range of drywall systems to improve productivity and meet construction targets. This research is helping us further target our innovation work, ensuring that we can focus on those solutions which offer the best results for dryliners.

Greater collaboration and product innovation are central to speeding up build processes and ultimately delivering better, more cost-effective projects.

Neil Ash
Managing director
Etex Building Performance UK