Despite over 1,300 academic papers citing the benefits of modern methods of construction and five central government departments now adopting a presumption in favour of offsite, uptake of offsite solutions has been intermittent. Commentators have sought to analyse the logic behind this, often to no avail. To unlock this, Kier has sought to consider the illogical, applying behavioural science to understand the status quo and develop small practical steps forward that can create a big impact.

Reviewing the second publication in our trilogy, The Choice Factory, Rebecca Wade, preconstruction manager at Kier, explains how the industry can use insights from behavioural science to influence positive change in this arena.

“Humans like to think we’re rational creatures and presented with a proposal that’s quicker, cheaper and better than the old way of doing it, we’d jump at the chance to change – or would we? Habits are hard to break and our behaviour is much more irrational than we’d like to admit. That’s the premise at the heart of The Choice Factory, a thought-provoking examination of one of the biggest challenges facing construction today: how to encourage modern methods of working.

Behavioural change programmes have been successfully applied by organisations within the construction industry for over a decade to achieve improvements in health and safety. However, the industry’s focus around the adoption of offsite manufacture has been dedicated, almost exclusively, towards the challenges of technology and economics.

The purpose of The Choice Factory is to shift this way of thinking. Increasing numbers of private organisations are exploring ways in which they can integrate behavioural science into their strategies, with psychological, social and cultural considerations progressively becoming more prevalent and holding more weight.

In everyday life we expect people to act logically and design our business strategies around this assumption. However, we often find that this just isn’t the case. Time and time again, behavioural science demonstrates that people are predictably irrational, driven by what is convenient or socially acceptable rather than a logical assessment of the technical attributes or benefits of a particular approach.

By exploring why human nature can be one of the biggest stumbling blocks to change, Choice Factory examines how it can be harnessed, by putting in place strategies to address these habits. The Choice Factory therefore sets out a six-lever approach, with the aim of embedding the adoption of offsite manufacture.”

To read The Choice Factory Volume 2, please visit: https://www.kier.co.uk/choicefactory

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