Collaboration to reduce errors - key insights

16 Oct 23

Collaboration up and down the supply chain and across the sector is essential if the construction industry is to improve both its reputation and its outcomes, GIRI members heard at the autumn members' meeting. Speakers at the event were drawn from industry organisations that share many of the same aims as GIRI, who explained how they are working to better the industry and how members can use and benefit from this work.

Here's a round up of the key insights.

Collaboration is a strategic focus for the CQI

Construction needs to win back society’s confidence in its ability to get it right, Steffan Speer, chair of the Construction Special Interest Group (ConSIG) of the CQI, told GIRI members. He argued that improving quality is an essential component, and it requires collaboration across all the different parts of the industry. Facilitating this is a priority objective for ConSIG.  

“Society is a word that resonates after Grenfell,” said Steffan. “How do we ensure that society has the confidence that our sector can deliver quality? That’s our purpose at ConSIG, and we are looking at how we can put the systems, processes, and collaboration in place to help people get quality right.”

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CQIC targets quality through collaboration

Since its launch earlier this year, the Construction Quality Improvement Collaborative has seen 78 organisations commit to its charter, representing around 30,000 employees within the Scottish construction sector, said Colin Campbell from the Scottish Futures Trust.

“The CQIC’s vision is for quality to be central to all parts of the Scottish construction sector, and all decision making, and that must be from both the client and delivery side,” said Colin. “Why do we want to create this quality culture? Because it is good for society and communities, and good for the environment. Zero Waste Scotland estimates that 50% of waste in Scotland is generated by those involved in the built environment, and a lot of that comes from doing things twice.”

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

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.

“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.”

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Getting it right at the highest level

Project 13 is about getting it right at the highest level for the whole built environment and has many synergies with GIRI, said Melissa Zanocco. “Our vision is for a built environment whose explicit purpose is to enable people and nature to flourish together for generations.”

Melissa explained that the initiative is based on the concept of the built environment as a ‘system of systems’ where the links between social and economic infrastructure and the natural world are understood, and the fact that infrastructure is not about building siloed projects, but about adding interventions to the overall system.

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Procurement as an enabler of better outcomes

To get it right and deliver the outcomes the industry needs, it is important to make the right decisions from the start, said Alison Nicholl, head of Constructing Excellence. In her presentation, Alison focused on how to use procurement as a mechanism to incentivise the supply chain to deliver better quality.

The Constructing Excellence procurement group is looking at how to avoid the race to the bottom, and how we stop people gaming the system. And, particularly as we move into a difficult economic cycle, that we as an industry are not making decisions that store up problems for the future.”

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