Our Annual Review: Leading the way to improving the UK Construction Industry from the inside out

The aristocracy of the UK construction industry gathered on Monday morning for the GIRI annual review at the ICE in London. Presentations were opened by Ed McCann, Vice president of the Institution of Civil Engineers, director at Expedition engineering, and founding member of the Initiative who summed up how the venture has been making ground since launch. GIRI has landed and is resonating well with Quality individuals McCann went on to highlight how GIRI's work is aligning with the Productivity meme that it currently motivating the Industry. What comes next is up to you was the challenge set to the audience of members, supporters and those interested in getting involved.

Next up GIRI's Executive Director Tom Barton set the scene highlighting the progress GIRI has achieved and reminding the audience that by getting quality right we will make a huge difference to the bottom line. He reflected on how other industries, such as automobile and aviation, succeed in reporting their error and the moral obligation the Construction Industry has to follow suit. Barton is GIRI's driving voice and the momentum the Initiative's is gaining is due to his dedication to improving the construction Industry.

Martin McEvoy, Imtech's Managing Director, gave an insightful presentation as to how GIRI has supported their business in addressing error internally. The structure brought in via GIRI workshops has enabled them to set error reduction targets for 2018, and on-going. Imtech's strategy states that Improving value by eliminating error is the only route to improving our margin' and is tackling the 5% of their revenue that is lost to error. Considering that GIRI's research approximated that error equates to around 21% of Construction Industry turnover, Imtech are already ahead of the game.

Another driving force behind GIRI, Damian Leydon, operations director at Berkeley group gave an update as to how three consortia led training pilot schemes, which have been awarded over £300k by the CITB productivity fund, are advancing. The schemes' approach to train the trainers at all levels' is already getting positive feedback: training on design management has been missing from the Industry for a long time, this course is a good start at addressing that.

VINCI's Supervisor and Manager Skills Training scheme will deliver 660 days of training to over 290 participants. Knowledge, understanding and the ability to reduce potential error, throughout our supply chain is the goal explained Vinci's Emma McNab we need to re-enforce the importance of stopping and asking if there is a quality issue. Kier's Steve Symonds quoted that their Leadership Training scheme is getting the message out to senior management to enhance their awareness of the challenges GIRI are tackling and their ability to deal with the root causes of error

A question from the audience raised the issue of training not just management but the quality of the workforce, to which Leydon responded that there is still an opportunity for CITB funding for training on the ground and GIRI would welcome other members to come forward to support an application for a training grant in that area. The presentation on training concluded with the fact that GIRI has enabled 14 bitter rivals' to come together to better the Industry, no mean feat in an industry where collaboration is a big challenge.

Technology was the next topic on the agenda with findings from GIRI's recent Technology research project discussed. Offsite Manufacture, Standardisation, Improving Construction Processes, Error-minimising components and Automation have all been investigated by GIRI's Technology Working Group. Cliff Smith commented that Technology that can enable better communication and collaboration will be a worthwhile investment for members alongside the introduction of software and hardware that can improve construction processes. GIRI are ready to support further consortium teams to respond to Innovate UK's Transforming Construction competition to help increase productivity performance and quality in UK construction. Embracing technology is part of a reduced error future, and indeed the morning's event was closely monitored using Slido to capture audience opinion and feedback on questions such as: If measuring defects is a lagging indicator for getting it wrong, suggest some specific and measurable leading indicators for getting it right?.

Considering five of the top ten root causes of error are design related it's no surprise that GIRI's Design guide was next up. Gavin Pike from Bennetts Associates and Bengt Cousins-Jenvey from Expedition Engineering presented A Guide to improving Value by Reducing Design Error' a synopsis of 13 key recommendations compiled by the GIRI's Design Working Group. The purpose of this design guide is to review and remind the industry as to the key techniques that can be applied to any project to reduce error, the challenge is the consistent and considered application of them all. The audience spent time discussing the guide providing positive feedback about its content, language and clarity.

So, what's next for GIRI? Members, Rupert Shingleton from Costain and VINCI's Emma McNab opened up suggestions from the floor as to how GIRI should and could move forward. The appetite to expand the initiative's network and membership beyond London, as well as imbed knowledge enabled by the Initiative within member organisations through workshops and training was apparent. The culture changes the industry needs will require openness, honesty and the ability and systems in place to learn from our mistakes McNab concluded.

So, will The Get It Right Initiative be the future benchmarking voice of UK Construction error avoidance and their badge one of quality assurance and best practise? Time will tell, and a concluding comment from Barton suggested that GIRI could well be The Conscience of the Construction Industry' and it's ready to get things right.

SLIDO Poll

Presentations from the morning can be downloaded here

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