GIRI members meet in person once more

17 Nov 21

More than 40 members of the Get It Right Initiative gathered in person at the Institution of Civil Engineers last week to attend the organisation's annual review and hear from a line-up of speakers addressing the theme of productivity. 

The event was the first in-person meeting to be hosted by GIRI since January 2020 and offered a welcome opportunity for members new and old to hear from a thought-provoking line-up headed by keynote speakers Ed McCann and Mark Farmer. GIRI executive director Cliff Smith opened the proceedings with a review of GIRI's work in 2021 and a look ahead to plans for 2022.

As one of the contributors to the original research and a founder of the Get It Right Initiative, Expedition Engineering senior director Ed McCann continues to drive the error-reduction message home in his current role as 2022 president of the Institution of Civil Engineers. He began his presentation by recalling that in the early days of GIRI, there was a real appetite for error reduction to be a supply-chain-led initiative. "It was almost a point of pride that it should be a bottom-up initiative," he said.

But since that time he said the realisation had dawned that it was ultimately clients who needed to know about the potential impact of error reduction so that they could support the initative from the top down. It also meant that GIRI's limited resources could be used more efficiently to get the message out and have wider reach. Active and engaged infrastructure clients such as HS2, Heathrow, Network Rail and most recently, National Highways, are able to lead the way with cultural and behavioural change as GIRI members.

BAM Nuttall head of business process & quality David Anderson spoke about the power of prevention, and was able to share an impressive case study where his company had measured an annual saving of £950k on the cost of correcting errors in protective coatings. He also highlighted the fact that financial savings are just one part of the equation - between 35% and 40% of accidents on site happen during re-work, demonstrating that reducing error can also have a massive impact on safety.

The second session of the meeting was headed up by Mark Farmer of Cast Consultancy, who spoke about construction's core productivity challenge and kicked off by focussing on the decline of supply-chain resiliency in the industry. He made clear that in his view, poor culture is inextricably linked to poor skills and competence - they amplify each other’s impacts - but there are many more factors that need addressing in order to improve the current system. He also shared two examples from other countries where work is being done to improve quality and reliability, such as house builder Sekisui House which is able to offer home buyers a 30-year warranty on new properties.

The 'golden thread' and the safety net was the theme of the last presentation by Tom Collins, head of digital engineering at Hoare Lea. Tom explained how he is applying experience from other sectors to the management of data at his current employer; shared some insights into the key improvements that are crucial for construction; and explained the inefficiencies and missed opportunities that result from the creation of data silos.

A final panel session brought in Emer Murnaghan OBE, innovation director of civil engineering at Graham, and Jenny McLaughlin, Heathrow project manager - infrastructure services, to discuss how the procurement process impacts on error reduction and productivity alongside some of the other speakers. 

Full reports on each session will be published over the next few weeks and a recording of the event will be made available for members to view - details will be sent out via our newsletter when the recording is available. 

Read Cliff Smith's closing statement at the members' meeting.

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