Improving productivity, quality, safety and sustainability by eliminating error.

The Get It Right Initiative is a group of UK construction industry experts, organisations and businesses actively improving productivity, quality, sustainability and safety in the construction sector by eliminating error.

Research informing GIRI is summarised in our ‘Strategy for Change’ report which sets out the agenda for how we are addressing the elimination of error, right from the start.


GIRI is a not-for-profit membership organisation that has adopted a multi-disciplinary approach to tackling error. Our members include clients, consultants, contractors, regulators, educators, professional institutions and trade bodies who are working together, across the sector, to raise awareness about the challenges of error, and eliminate it. Our working groups cover: design, metrics, skills & training and technology.



We are working with our members to:

  • Create a culture and working environment to get it right from the start
  • Change attitudes and harness leadership responsibility to reduce error and improve construction quality, productivity and safety
  • Engage all stakeholders in eliminating error from inception, through operation, to completion.
  • Share knowledge about error reduction processes and systems.
  • Improve skills across the sector creating a positive approach to pre-empting error.


GIRI Design Guide

Research by the Get It Right Initiative established that a significant proportion of the failings that lead to errors in construction are rooted in the project formation and design processes.

The GIRI Design Guide shares a series of good-practice recommendations to address these root causes and have a significant impact on the avoidance of error throughout the delivery of a project. The 

Visit the Design Guide website to find out more.

Watch our video to hear from six leading figures on the importance of design.

Skills Development

GIRI has worked with the construction industry to develop three custom-designed training schemes to directly target the underlying root causes of error, which currently cost the UK construction industry approximately 20% of their turnover. The training empowers companies, project teams, and individuals to Get It Right first time.

Visit our courses page to find out more about the training we offer.

Communication Campaign

We are raising awareness of the impact of error across the sector, and tools to support businesses in targeting zero error. Our campaign encourages all involved to improve the productivity and quality of what we do, which not only saves money, it also improves safety and cuts carbon. 

Sign up to our newsletter to hear about our activities and events, or connect with us on LinkedIn, Twitter or YouTube.

Systems & Processes Improvement

We apply R&D to understanding processes, systems and technology to eliminate error. Our reports, courses and training are focused on the key areas of error reduction:

A common language to describe error / identifying errors and the costs of error / the nature and management of the design process / construction planning / applied technology / error reduction construction techniques.

Knowledge Sharing

Our quarterly member meetings provide regular opportunities for our members and wider network to share experience and knowledge about error reduction. Our reports support the sharing of that knowledge to the wider industry.

Find out more about our upcoming events or sign up for our newsletter.




Our research team was led by Ed McCann and Tom Barton. Their principal assistant was Bruce Martin, and the literature review was completed by Kell Jones.

The research was driven by Expedition Engineering and principally supported by the CITB, through its Growth & Innovation Fund. The industry steering group included: Alinea, Anglian Water, Bam Nuttall, Byre Brothers, Carillion, Costain, Graham Construction, Keltbray, Imtech, Prater, Berkeley Group, Sir Robert McAlpine, Southern Water, Stanhope, Taylor Woodrow, Wates.


The research team adopted a “Grounded Theory” methodology by asking, and then investigating the most plausible answers to the following questions:

  • What are the principal systemic errors in the UK construction industry?
  • What are the causes of error in the UK construction industry?
  • What methods are used to capture information about the financial cost of error in the UK construction industry?
  • What are the most effective methods for avoiding error and minimising the consequences of error?
Research Data

Data was collected via workshops with our steering group, and structured interviews with the steering group members plus other companies in the industry. Quantitative data collected, relating to individual error occurrences, included:

  • Description of each of the errors
  • Description of the causes of each of the error occurrences
  • Assessment of the financial cost of each of the error occurrences

Data was analysed by the GIRI research team and the emerging findings were discussed by the steering group whose expertise helped identify theories.

The structured interviews were conducted, and quantitative data collected on the basis that no information would be published that would allow any opinion, error, defect, error incidence rate or defect incidence rate to be linked to a particular company or individual.



Board Members

Clifford Smith
Executive Director

Cliff Smith is a Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers and has more than 40 years’ experience in the construction industry; 38 years at contractor Sir Robert McAlpine and subsequently as a consultant offering specialist engineering and technical support, project and design management and strategic quality leadership. 

He has been a director of the Get it Right Initiative since its formation in 2017 and was involved in development of the Guide to improving value by reducing design error and a number of research reports on the use of technology in the construction industry which have been published on the GIRI website. 

In addition to leading the board, Cliff is directly responsible for the agile GIRI delivery team which covers administration, communications, finance and research. 


GIRI board members:

Duncan Aspin

Richard Davis

Gavin Pike
Bennetts Associates

Oana Sala
Expedition Engineering

Rupert Shingleton

Jack Smith

Helen Soulou
Network Rail


GIRI Strategic Leadership Group

Mark Hansford
Institution of Civil Engineers

Alistair Hitchcock

Damian Leydon
Sunergos Partnership

Paul Lowe

Ed McCann
Expedition Engineering

Emer Murnaghan
Graham Group

Emma-Jane Houghton


Board Members

Tom Barton

Tom Barton was instrumental in the establishment of the Get It Right Initiative, and held the position of executive director from the organisation’s launch at the beginning of 2017 until his untimely death in October 2020.

Tom Barton

Tom Barton was instrumental in the establishment of the Get It Right Initiative, and held the position of executive director from the organisation’s launch at the beginning of 2017 until his untimely death in October 2020.

A Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers, Tom had behind him more than 40 years’ experience in the construction industry; he was a director at John Mowlem & Co, before moving to Sir Robert McAlpine as deputy regional manager for the London & South East region. He remained at Sir Robert McAlpine for 18 years, working on major projects in the UK.

Tom started his career as project engineer on the Nat West Tower in London, and managed construction of some of London’s major projects including the Millennium Footbridge and Croydon Tramlink. Overseas he delivered multiple projects in Riyadh as well as a new airport in Kazan, Russia.

Tom’s involvement with GIRI began when he was recruited in 2015 by Ed McCann – at the time the chair of the ICE’s best practice group – to head up a team researching the cost of avoidable error in the construction industry. His reputation as a highly-trusted member of the contracting community made him the perfect candidate.

Although Tom was officially retired at the time, he was immediately galvanised by the proposal, and in particular the fact that he might be able to do something to address the shocking levels of error and rework that he himself had witnessed in the industry.

He was not only able to leverage cooperation and sponsorship from a range of industry organisations; when the results of the research project were made public, and the report A Strategy for Change was published, Tom persuaded them to come together in the Get It Right Initiative in pursuit of fundamental change.

Tom had a passion for getting it right and he believed that GIRI presented a real opportunity for the industry to turn things round and collectively improve its productivity and, more importantly, its reputation.