BSI 99001 - the sector-specific standard to drive up quality

3 Oct 23

BS 99001 is a sector-specific version of quality management standard ISO EN 9001:2015 that brings together the key themes of competence, the golden thread, and quality within the context of the built environment to drive improved safety and wellbeing and better project outcomes, said Ian Richardson, sector lead on the built environment at the BSI.

He explained that work started on the development of BSI 99001 in early 2020 when BSI was approached by stakeholders in the built environment sector. “Post Grenfell and the Hackitt Report, it was clear something additional was needed for the benefit of clients, contractors, subcontractors and end users. It is a purely national standard developed with our UK stakeholders that provides clarity around 9001’s requirements for what is a very project-based industry.”

BSI 99001: Quality Management Systems – specification for the application of BS EN 9001:2015 in the built environment sector does not replace 9001. Rather it is about recognising the unique features of the sector and providing the framework to enable the industry to achieve more return on investment when implementing a quality management system.

GIRI was one of the membership organisations involved in the development of 99001, along with others such as CIOB, RICS, CQI, and CIBSE. Ian explained that the advantage of this approach is that it draws on the views and expertise of the members of these organisations and therefore is based on a much more representative input that a committee of individuals. 

BSI 99001 covers systems relating to both the organisation and the entire life cycle of projects under its control, including services, temporary works and built environment deliverables. It also takes into account other standards that touch on this subject, including workmanship (BS 8000 series), temporary works (BS 5975), BIM (ISO 19650 series) and digital management of fire safety information (BS 8644-1).

“There was a debate early on about whether 99001 should be guidance that adds to 9001 or a requirement standard in itself,” said Ian. “And there was a feeling that if it was just guidance, it would have less impact. So we use the language of standards. The word ‘shall’ is used throughout 9001 and 99001 and they are written in exactly the same way, using the same clause structures as all management system standards to enable organisations to implement the requirements quickly and easily.”

Ian went on to highlight key aspects and clauses of 99001, including the link with ESG made in clause 4.1. “This is a very topical discussion for quality management in general. The extra dimensions of 99001 partners quality management with environmental management, business continuity and risk management within that business framework.”

Other key sections include 5.1.2, which prioritises quality when considering time and on-budget delivery, and 5.3, which focuses on roles and responsibilities. “This section puts additional focus on top management as it requires organisations to ensure that the management representative with oversight for quality has the authority to pause operations in order for quality issues to be addressed. When you are being assessed on your compliance, you will have to demonstrate that this is in place.”

These aspects are important, he added, because 99001 should be a game changer. “It was not meant to be just another burden and cost. This is about doing more than 9001 requires, to see that safety aspect come through and deliver a return on the significant investment of putting such a system in place.”

In the same vein, clause 6.2.1 specifies quality objectives for each project, while 7.2 addresses competence, and sections 8 deals with design development.

“BSI 99001 takes in recommendations from the Hackitt Report, and those three themes that have been discussed for the last few years – the golden thread, competence, and quality. This is the direction of travel with the BIM standards and the PAS suite of standards. 99001 is the third piece of the puzzle.”

These solutions are for the benefit of the sector, said Ian. “BSI 99001 is the document that joins the dots. We can talk about the theoretical culture change required, but this is a tangible published document that is well recognised because it builds on 9001 and provides that additional guidance to bring it all together. If there really is an intention to demonstrate your commitment to quality assurance, then uptake of 99001 is the way to show that, not just within your organisations, but also to clients and the wider industry.”

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