Cornish building contractor and developer Gilbert & Goode has become the first company
in the world to achieve the international accreditation ISO 18404 for Lean and Six Sigma.
The standard was developed by Professor Tony Bendell to help organisations set up lean
management systems, with a consistent approach, that is internationally recognised.
Professor Bendell comments: “Gilbert & Goode is the first UK construction company, and
indeed worldwide, to have done this. It achieved this though active planning, outstanding
senior management leadership and perseverance.”
ISO 18404 provides a dual approach towards lean management: creating a structured
programme of training and development; and a formal framework to evaluate a company’s
systems and processes for increased efficiency.
Simon Caklais, managing director at Gilbert & Goode, said: “The construction industry in
the UK faces a massive challenge in terms of poor productivity. Many companies say they
operate a lean approach, yet certification and competency in lean management is mixed
and in many cases inadequate.
“By adopting a standardised approach and combining this with the necessary training and
development of our staff and suppliers, we can be sure that we deliver projects to a high
standard, reducing costs and time while improving safety and quality.
“Our aim is to drive waste out of all stages of the design and construction process, thereby
increasing productivity, efficiency and build better buildings.”
The certification follows 18 months of hard work, developing procedures and competencies
within the organisation, providing staff development and also training for members of the
Dr Steve Ward, consultant at Lean Construct, who led the implementation of ISO 18404 at
Gilbert & Goode, said: “Adopting a lean strategy within an organisation requires
engagement at all levels if it is to become embedded into the company culture over the
“Fortunately, the senior team at Gilbert & Goode were all keen to adopt a lean approach,
rigorously evaluate current systems and work towards ISO 18404. This has helped
significantly with engagement across the organisation, as well as with partners and the
Gilbert & Goode worked closely with the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) to
pilot ISO 18404 within the construction sector. Funding of just over £151,000 was awarded
to Gilbert and Goode as part of the CITB’s Flexible and Structured Funding Programme.
Rachel Iredale, Evaluation Manager, Policy and Strategic Planning Team for CITB said:
“CITB is thrilled to learn that Gilbert & Goode has become the first construction company
to be awarded the ISO accreditation in the management and maintenance of lean systems
when delivering construction services.
“Our industry needs to modernise and ‘being lean’ means focusing on improving cost
quality and delivery performance. Piloting ISO 18404 puts Gilbert & Goode at the
forefront of driving improvement in the UK construction industry.”