One a stage in which future building managers should

One
of the definitions of “quality” is that it is the degree of excellence of
something. Exemplary quality should be what is desired by the construction industry,
regardless of sector or type of work, whether it is new buildings, alterations
to existing, maintenance, etc. The functionality of a building as well as the
build quality matter a great deal when discussing the importance of quality in
construction. These two characteristics are what client’s and end users tend to
focus on more than anything else when taking over and occupying a building,
this is most likely to be the case with the refurbishment works planned for the
Cooper building. Quality in construction starts at inception. It all starts
from the client and their chosen procurement route.

 

The
client for the Cooper building should encourage or incorporate higher standards
in the specification and contract documents especially in areas such as fire
and electrical safety, structure, materials and workmanship. All, except
workmanship can be influence from the inception of the project at the design
brief stage and subsequent design development which would lead to a better
technical design, a stage in which future building managers should be involved as
they will ultimately be the ones ensuring the design in executed thus bringing
vision to reality. Attention to detail to those key areas prior to a project
going out to tender are crucial as it sets the tone for what is expected from
the contractor’s and it’s supply chain during the construction phase.

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Current
industry standards set out in legislation or other documents such as the
building regulations and ISO 9001 are minimum standards set for design,
construction and alterations to virtually every building. Whilst ISO9001 allows
companies to be accredited, attention should be paid to the word minimum as
perhaps those minimum standards are ought to be raised to improve quality in
construction. At present, punishment is the preferred route when failing to
comply with the building regulations, perhaps a different approach is to be
tested such as rewarding client’s and companies with monetary benefits as a way
to change attitude and behaviour towards quality.

 

Improving
people’s competence starting at educational establishments is likely to raise
quality and reduce risks. With so much data available from historic projects,
learning from mistakes previously made should be a key area to focus on, as
there is a real distinction between theoretical and actuals due to the pressure
and challenges associated with construction. Projects are pushed to be finished
on time and on budget, consequently there is little to no time to learn from
mistakes.

 

A
combination of high standards, awareness, continuous training and high quality
constructible designs with a quality management plan from the inception stage
will be a good start towards achieving project quality.

 

 

The
significance of client interface has increased due to a review of processes and
the introduction of new initiatives such as the Government Soft Landings (GSL)
framework, which focuses on collaborative working, technology, information and
a smoother transition from pre-construction to occupation. GSL can be
implemented with any procurement route; however, the importance for
expectations to be set out by the client from the offset does not change, as
these in addition to decisions will determine the path of construction and have
a significant impact over the lifecycle of the project.

 

The
client must define roles and responsibilities at the design brief stage as key
personnel should be identified and be tasked with developing the design as well
supporting the procurement process. Exchange of information between client
personnel and contractor’s project manager will reduce the possibility of potential
errors that often occur due to poor communication. The client should collate as
much pre-construction information as possible if risk is to be minimised. Embracing
technology such as the Building Information Modelling (BIM) or any other
information model will strengthen quality assurance and quality control as
these would be incorporated within a centralized database in which various
stage gates will be flag any issues thus giving opportunity to rectify them.
Whilst assurance falls with the contractor, quality control sits with the client
therefore an allowance should be made to cover the cost of a quality control
officer. Undertaking a cost-benefit analysis would enable the client to weigh
the advantages and disadvantages of having an allowance in the contract sum for
investing in the services of quality control versus the cost on total value of
the project. Having a quality control officer would enhance the process review
as activities such as periodic inspections would ensure that works being
carried out comply with standards and specification set out in the contract, it
could also mean less re-work and lower costs as non-compliance would be spotted
and rectified as well as higher productivity

 

Client’s
personnel need to undertake a value engineering analysis that focuses on
quality in the buildings performance and function rather than being purely a
cost driven exercise as the latter is commonly assumed, across the industry, to be the only purpose such
exercise is carried out in the first place. Rather need to compare quality
against time and cost if they are to influence the quality of works from the
outset