Review: Quality Counts Conference26 November 2019
Quality in construction is hindered by ambiguity in standards and regulations, issues accessing skills and talent and a history of fragmentation. This was some of the feedback from The Housing Forum’s Quality Counts Conference, hosted in London on 13 November.
Opened by Stephen Teagle, chair of The Housing Forum, the event focused on how to deliver quality consistently in the housing sector.
Making Quality Count
The first session, Making Quality Count, focussed on how the industry can measure build and design quality, and also gave examples of how organisations and schemes have already started putting this into practice.
Mehban Chowdery, regional director at NHBC, discussed how NHBC measure quality, specifically looking at the NHBC construction quality index and its most recent results.
Jane Dann, managing director of Tibbalds Planning and Design, ran through the National Design Guide and how it can be used to improve the quality of new homes. She also took attendees through the 10 characteristics of well-designed places.
Chris Bath, a partner at BPTW, presented on BPTW’s role at the Rochester Riverdale development and how the practice took steps to ensure high quality.
Safer Housing Post Hackitt
The next session, Safer Housing Post Hackitt, discussed how the recommendations from the Hackitt Review will affect different stakeholders.
Jamie Ratcliff, executive director of Network Homes and deputy chair of The Housing Forum, shed light on the G15 response on quality and fire safety and shared some of the issues housing associations face when it comes to ensuring quality among housing stock post-Grenfell.
Covering specific recommendations from the Hackitt Review, Andrew Mellor, partner at PRP, presented on how these are being implemented in the industry currently, and what may happen going forward. The main issue was the requirement to train and upskill people within the industry to meet these new demands.
Rebecca Rees, partner at Trowers & Hamlins, discussed how to implement Hackitt through the procurement process, highlighting that additional time at the design and procurement stage could help to improve quality at later stages of the project.
Chain of Custody
This session explored the broken chain of custody and looked at what other construction bodies are doing to tackle the issue of quality.
Nigel Ostime, delivery director at Hawkins\Brown, shared the recommendations made in the Stopping Building Failures report created by The Housing Forum in 2018 alongside the Building in Quality Guide from RICS, CIOB and RIBA.
John Gray, partner at HTA Design, then took attendees through the chain of custody before explaining the new RIBA Quality Tracker. The tracker has been created to help design and specification information through all stages up to building occupancy.
Procurement and Indemnity
Nick Joslyn, managing director of 4i Solutions, looked at how to organise costs in advance to help keep budgets under control, therefore reducing the need for people to cut costs later down the line.
Focussing on the relationship between quality and insurance, specifically personal professional indemnity, Rob Skingley, director of Howden, discussed on how restrictions placed upon organisations and individuals from insurance companies can impact quality.
Site regimes to support quality
Technology was the main theme of the site regimes to support quality session, with both presentations focussing on how technology and data can improve quality.
Paul Mills, project director of Galliford Try Partnerships, showed attendees the Brunel Street Works project. He also highlighted how the SnagR software was incorporated into the process to increase the amount of time site managers actually spend on-site as a result of using technology to make record keeping processes more efficient.
This was followed by a live demonstration from James Henderson, customer excellence director at SnagR.
The final presentations of the day covered how companies can ensure quality by creating specific business objectives and processes with high standards in mind.
Focussing on how culture and behaviour can impact quality, Chris Stevens, managing director (London South East) of Bouygues UK, shared how the firm has built quality into its business model through procedures, setting goals and educating its workforce.
Neal Curtis, partner at Arcadis, showcased the Arcadis Quality Assurance Tool that is currently in development. Designed to help organisations keep consistent records, Neal showed attendees how the tool will help projects to monitor both risk, progress and quality through the photographic system.
The event was sponsored by SnagR, SE Controls and HACT.
SnagR is a defect and inspection management system to collect onsite data, connect project teams and processes and provide analysis for the decision makers.
SE Controls is an international specialist in the design and delivery of intelligent smoke and environmental ventilation systems using façade automation as a part of the building envelope.
HACT works with housing providers to help to innovate businesses and find more efficient ways of work. It also provides specialist support to help facilitate better relationships with health care services and local communities