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A New Era in Cayman’s Construction Industry

Development 21 Jul, 2022 2 Comments Follow News

Project Manager Frank Barnes joins the circle for the morning meeting.

Workers gather on site for the morning briefing at an Arch an Godfrey project.

The construction industry in the Cayman Islands is experiencing a renaissance of sorts thanks to Arch and Godfrey, who are revolutionizing the way projects are done and empowering workers’ futures along the way.

This transformation is being led by Project Manager Frank Barnes, who joined the company in April of this year.

Using a method known as LEAN Construction, which is popular in developed countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom, the initiative will add value for customers, improve the environment, while benefiting the workforce and making construction more sustainable.

LEAN construction features a method of work whereby, waste is eliminated and value created, using a system that connects the different areas on a site, using visual management, collaborative-based planning and work area zoning, which empowers workers and promotes accountability.

This greatly improves the efficiency of the construction process, profitability and delivery of what the customer needs.

There are seven types of waste in construction that LEAN eliminates.

These include unnecessary movement, excess inventory, motion or movement without value, over processing of activities, over-production, defects and non-utilized talent.

At the start of every work week the men meet in a circle to applaud each other, discuss goals and delivery of those objectives, in addition to progress updates delivered by each supervisor/foreman, and safety updates.

The men also use a chart system (visual boards) that allows each worker on the site to have access to what is happening in other areas of the site.

As a result, there is a more consistent service, improved flexibility, responsiveness and reduced construction time, as well as product quality and a lower total cost to customers.

 In turn, companies like Arch and Godfrey have a better flow of systems, reduced stock holding, more productivity and improved asset allocation and utilization.

Environmental benefits, reduced waste, better quality, lower cost, safer working conditions and improved customer relations are also factors that make LEAN Construction attractive, in an industry where there is so much waste currently. 

LEAN also allows the site, to have better collaboration, communication and execution between the design and the general contractor, in addition to more reliable processes, less crisis management, improved staff flexibility and moral, and efficient delegation of daily responsibilities.

The staff on the site receive improved safety and job satisfaction, greater ownership/responsibility of the work area, a more pleasant work environment, less stress and immediate feedback on their performance.

“As far as I’m aware, we are the first company in Cayman to be using the LEAN system,” noted Mr. Garth Arch of Arch and Godfrey.

This year is the 50th Anniversary of the construction company in the Cayman Islands and Mr. Arch noted that it was ‘great timing’  and very fitting that the programme be introduced now. 

He explained that he had been familiar with the LEAN method of construction from his time at the University of California Berkeley and when he met Mr. Frank Barnes, who has had extensive experience implementing the programme in other jurisdictions, he decided it was time to implement it here in Cayman. 

Mr. Barnes elaborated on the LEAN method of construction, “We are taking the traditional construction site and treating it as a production system. In a factory the product moves and people are fixed, but in construction, both the people and the product move. We are streamlining that by finding what is wasteful and removing the waste.”

What differentiates Arch & Godfrey’s approach, is that the programme carries a training and development component which is referred to as a ‘Certificate of Practice’. This is the rewards and recognition component of the programme.  Every six weeks, the work done by each worker is documented in the form of a certificate. This allows the workers to have certified proof of their work, which they also sign off on to acknowledge that they accept the rating they have been given for the performance over the period.

The Certificate of Practice component consists of 5 elements and uses the Last Planner Production Management System to achieve its objectives.

The 5 elements measured are 1. scope of work, 2. Metrics (time,& attendance, safety, productivity, quality and cost) 3. Verification ( signatory confirming work was done), 4. Evidence (pictures) 5. Transcript (a grade of work from 1-5).

“They are working for their future and not just to get paid, and when they know their work is being assessed, you get much more commitment from them.  The objective is to develop a live database that benefits the industry and its workers,” noted Mr. Barnes.

He added that contractors like Arch and Godfrey are also in the business of developing people in addition to developing projects.

“The objective is to become more sustainable and develop an accessible workforce database that benefits the industry and its workers. Usually the workers are not highlighted and no evidence of his work is documented on a site, but that has now changed and the worker is empowered,” he explained.

This system will allow workers to build their portfolios, and use the same to secure other job.

Prospective employers can compare persons in various areas of construction to see who has the highest ratings, based on actual evidence.

It also means that the workers are determined to do the best they can.

The project being worked on in the trial/pilot of the LEAN system, and the Certificate of Practice sister programme, is the Governor’s Village Apartment Complex on the Seven Mile Road.

Mr. Arch said he was very pleased with the progress of the project and the use of the LEAN system on the site, which promotes the highest standards in the industry, adding that he hoped to continue to work with Mr. Barnes on other projects going forward.

“All the guys on the site are enthusiastic about the program and feel empowered,” noted Mr. Arch.

Comments (2)

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Frank Barnes

23 Jul, 2022

It is refreshing to be in an environment that enables and embraces change, the Cayman Islands is currently experiencing rapid growth, and reducing waste in the construction industry will drive efficiency and lower construction cost.

Any meaningful improvement or innovation in construction will add value and trigger sustainability in the industry, especially where the workers benefit. Lean Construction offers a good alternative for the industry at this time.

Brandon Dottin

23 Jul, 2022

I have worked alongside Mr Barnes on a project where the LEAN method of management was implemented and used. I continue to challenge anyone that will dispute the power of this method used in projects and management of projects.