Key insights: creating a sustainable quality culture30 Mar 23
Creating a sustainable quality culture in construction was the theme of the most recent GIRI members' meeting, held jointly in Edinburgh with the Construction Quality Improvement Collaborative in February. Speakers from across industry came together to share their insights and experiences of both the problem and possible solutions. Here, we round up the key insights from the event.
Quality a priority of the Scottish Construction Accord
The Construction Accord is intended to provide a shared motivation and the structures to work collaboratively on the actions that have been agreed as priorities for the sector, added Peter Reekie, chief executive of the Scottish Futures Trust. “We need a marked change in the form, nature, and appearance of the industry in which we all work. This cannot be about fixing the bits that, as individuals, we think are not working. It is about creating the industry that future generations need it to be. And it won’t be a future generation that looks like today’s. It must be very different.”
CQIC sets out quality vision
The Construction Quality Improvement Collaborative shares a vision for the sector that puts quality at the heart of decision-making to create a sustainable quality culture, said CQIC co-chair Iain Kent as he launched the initiative. “To achieve this we need the whole industry to engage with us, to collaborate with us, and to commit to our charter.”
No single solution to the construction quality challenge
There is no silver bullet to the construction quality challenge, said Patrick Brown, head of sustainable construction delivery at the City of Edinburgh Council. Patrick discussed the City of Edinburgh’s experience as a client addressing the schools safety issue that first came to light after the wall collapse at Oxgangs Primary School in 2016. He argued that the problem requires layers of solutions working together.
New mindset needed to improve quality
Money spent upfront on avoiding errors should be regarded as an investment, not a cost, and we need a new mindset that takes a value-based approach, said David Anderson, director of business assurance, quality and systems at BAM UK & Ireland. He emphasised that quality is an industry-wide problem and we cannot solve it by working alone.
Reduce waste to improve quality
Half of all the waste produced in Scotland comes from the construction sector, said Nick Ribbons from Zero Waste Scotland. In his presentation, he explained that getting a grip on waste is essential to improving quality in construction, because waste reduction drives higher quality and vice versa.
Strive for quality in the product not just the process
Architects and designers are a critical part of the construction industry and it is vital they get involved in efforts to improve quality, said Tamsie Thomson from the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland. The industry needs to be more ambitious about the end product, not just the building process, she added. “If we are to deliver the buildings Scotland needs and deserves, we must allow quality to become that determining factor.”
For the latest GIRI events, sign up to our newsletter.