Collaboration in the spotlight at GIRI members' meeting

13 Sep 23

The theme of collaborating to reduce error was the main talking point at the GIRI Autumn Members' Meeting at the ICE on 7th September, with a programme of high-level speakers prompting a healthy response from the audience.

GIRI executive director Cliff Smith introduced the event, noting that there are numerous organisations in the industry committed to collaborating on error reduction, and GIRI's aim is to bring these opportunities to light. The key is to challenge the wider tendency for such thinking to remain within silos, he said, and his aim is to present GIRI as a focal point for these collaborative efforts.

Cliff also highlighted improvements in progress on the GIRI website to make it easier for visitors to navigate and to access the wide range of resources it provides. He invited members to get in touch if they had reports, website links, videos or even quality alerts that they wished to contribute and that other members could benefit from. 

Other big news from the GIRI team was the imminent reopening of the CITB/GIRI training funding commission, which offers GIRI member companies the opportunity to become accredited to deliver GIRI training in house and across upcoming projects. 

CQI Construction Special Interest Group chair Steffan Speer explained that he had been invited to take on the role a few months ago and was keen to revisit the group's purposes, one of which is about collaboration. "There are so many groups trying to improve the way we do things, why don't we talk to each other more?" he wondered, noting the importance of promoting best practice as widely as possible. As a key contributor to the GIRI Technology Working Group, Steffan is particularly interested in understanding how technology will change the roles of employees, and how competence will be addressed in this context. He issued an invitation for those keen to collaborate on competence of quality managers to get in touch with ConSIG. 

Colin Campbell of the Construction Quality Improvement Collaborative gave an update of progress on the Construction Quality Charter that was launched at the start of the year. Almost 80 firms, a quarter of them main contractors, have now committed to the charter, he said, which requires them to put quality at the centre of procurement and applies both to public and private projects. However he noted that presence of public sector organisations was still lacking, with only about 5% falling into this category. The CQIC is working with client organisations such as the NHS in Scotland and the Scottish Government to encourage health boards to sign up to the charter and public sector clients to ensure quality is included as a KPI in procurement frameworks.

Melissa Zanocco emphasised how GIRI and the Project 13 Network complement one another. Project 13 is all about getting it right in the built environment from the top down, and her presentation set out how this is reflected in the 'five pillars' of the delivery model that businesses adopt. It sees the relationship between parties moved from a transactional model to a collective 'endeavour', where suppliers are incentivised for delivering outcomes rather than for reducing cost, and underlines the fact that collaboration must be intentional and supported, rather than just a written statement. Examples such as Anglian Water's Strategic Pipeline Alliance were used to demonstrate this in practice.

The scope and format of the new BS99001 on quality management in the built environment was introduced by Ian Richardson of BSi, who explained that the standard mandates how the generic ISO9001 quality standard should be applied in the construction sector. The new standard recognises that construction is largely project based, and includes specific guidance on temporary works, workmanship, BIM and digital management of fire safety information, for example. It is expected to be a gamechanger in the industry, Richardson said, and as well as following the structure of ISO9001 it also uses the same language of 'shall' and includes the 'authority to pause operations' in certain cases. 

The final presentation was from Alison Nicholl, head of Constructing Excellence, who spoke about how procurement could be used as a mechanism to incentivise the supply chain to deliver better quality and outcomes. She introduced some of the reports that have been produced by the organisation, and also talked about CE's awards programme that recognises good practice on projects in terms of collaborative working, fairness, transparency and other values.

Slides from the event can be downloaded here.

GIRI's annual general meeting takes place on Friday 1st December - make a date in your diary now!

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