CQIC sets out quality vision

7 Mar 23

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.”

The CQIC working group is drawn from organisations across the Scottish construction industry, with representatives from the Scottish Government, local authorities, the NHS, trade and professional bodies, and contractors and sub-contractors. “From the outset it was important to have a true representation of the sector so that whatever plans we developed would be bought into and appropriate for the whole industry,” said Iain. “Fundamentally, we want to promote best practice and improve quality and performance.”

The journey to the creation of the CQIC started in 2019 with a broad-participation workshop that discussed the key quality challenges facing the sector and priorities to resolve them. “There was both a recognition that we needed to do something, which is the first step in any initiative, and a desire to do it. And from that first discussion, we had a series of additional workshops to build on the themes that came out of it, which eventually culminated in the formation of the working group.”

Iain explained that the working group was brought together to create a holistic approach to quality and a recognition that all parts of the industry have a responsibility to address this. “From the workshops we created an action plan, and from the action plan we created a number of workstreams, which we have been working on for the last couple of years. At the same time, the Scottish Construction Accord was starting to take shape and we all agreed that the work we were doing should align with the work of the accord and that we needed to integrate with it.”

The other key area of the working group’s efforts was to create a vision for what quality improvement actually looks like. “There are two parts to this,” said Iain. “The first is that quality is central to all decision making and the second is the creation of a sustainable quality culture.”

A quality culture is important for many reasons, he added. Firstly, for building safety, but also for improving productivity, reducing waste, and creating an attractive industry for the current and future workforce. “To deliver it, we needed a charter that sets out the key values we need to put in place and identifies drivers for how we do that. The charter was also an opportunity to communicate with the wider industry, to give people something to commit to, and to integrate those values and drivers into their organisations to create that quality culture.”

The charter sets out five key values: ambition – the aim to develop a sector that believes in continuous improvement and is willing to change; collaboration – working together to share knowledge, lessons learned and best practice; commitment – taking pride in work, always aiming for customer satisfaction, and taking ownership and accountability for errors; openness – building an industry that is recognised for honesty and integrity; and respect – working across the industry to build professionalism, leadership, trust and self-respect.

“How are we going to do it? Through quality control and assurance – doing the right thing first time and at the right time, and creating the conditions that embed this ‘right first time’ culture,” said Iain. “We also need alignment, ensuring that all parts of the process are designed and implemented to drive quality, improve performance, and deliver compliance. Finally, by ensuring that everyone is clear about their roles and responsibilities and is competent to deliver them.”


While the event in Edinburgh with GIRI marked the launch of the CQIC, its work is just beginning, said Iain. “It is important that the industry commits to the charter and we get that engagement. We want to become a conduit for sharing lessons learned and best practice through ‘quality experiences’. These will be shared on the CQIC website and with everyone who commits to the charter. But to do that we need the help of the industry. We need you to share lessons learned from your organisations to ensure we learn from previous projects and continue to improve. Because to truly create a sustainable quality culture we need that engagement, that collaboration, so that quality is central to decision making.”

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