Q2 – How do we ensure that the incomplete Building Services Design does not impact Construction? (1st meeting)

Q2: How do we ensure that the incomplete Building Services Design does not impact Construction?

GEORGE Just to give you an idea of why we’re doing this. (shares screen). Last year we went through and looked at the legislation and identified a number of things that we thought would trip us up, a number of barriers. One of them which we’ve run this morning is the selection and installation of the right fire safety product for the right solution. Then we’ve got how do we make sure that the asset information is consistent through the lifetime. Then the building safety case, how do we make sure that’s something that’s going to run through the whole of the project. We actually ran these workshops initially at Digital Construction Week last year and we’re running some more this year. But then we’ve then used those, we’ve been running sessions over the last year to actually flesh them out.

The people that have attended this particular topic, we’ve had over 140 people attending and you can see that there’s some serious players in here. So this particular topic, although obviously we don’t have a lot of people on the call today, it’s already had a lot of input. This is what the document looks like, but we’re just fleshing it out now. We got these recommendations and we’re going to feed this back into DLUHC as an industry response to how we’re going to do stuff.

RICHARD Q2: How do we ensure that the incomplete Building Services Design does not impact Construction? The first section is overall consideration. Each of these documents is standalone, so there is going to be a certain amount of repetition. Stakeholder engagement, the first point there, is the most obvious example because it applies to pretty much everything. We have covered that a lot in the previous meeting this morning and we’ll be transposing stuff over from that, so I think we’ll move on from that.

  1. Considerations Overall

    1.a. Stakeholder Engagement

    1.a.i Timely engagement with stakeholders is crucial for gathering valuable insights and ensuring alignment with project goals.

  2. Timely engagement of stakeholders is crucial to avoid rushed construction and subsequent issues.
  3. Establishing a clear project timetable and holding necessary meetings is essential.
  4. Implementing contractual obligations for stakeholder engagement could ensure adherence.

    4.a. Utilizing Technology

    4.a.i Utilizing 3D modelling, conducting gap analyses, and detailed construction planning can enhance the construction process.

    4.a.ii Technology dealing with competency and compliance management.

    4.a.iii Solutions addressing information and knowledge management.

  5. Utilizing 3D modelling through BIM can enhance construction planning and documentation.
  6. Despite its benefits, the cost of implementing 3D modelling may pose challenges.
  7. BIM is favoured by the government, and 3D modelling could be a key component in line with it.
  8. Gap analyses alongside technology can aid in project management and accountability.
  9. Technology can provide reminders and accountability checks for various project elements.
    • Technology can assist in competency and compliance management within companies.
    • Challenges include the time and backlog in getting individuals accredited.
    • Accreditation often focuses on the company rather than individual operatives.
    • Ensuring subcontractors' accreditation is crucial for the effectiveness of compliance efforts.
    • Implementing competency standards for both companies and individual operatives is necessary for effective compliance management.
    • Accreditation process:
      • Third-party accreditation required, such as Firas or IFC.
      • Emphasis on third-party validation for products.
    • Competency and accreditation:
      • Discussion on the inefficiency of third-party accreditation.
      • Suggested empowering organizations for self-accreditation.
      • Highlighted the issue of competency as a continuum.
    • Technology and competency:
      • Technology proposed as a solution for competency validation.
      • Mentioned the forgetting curve and the need for continuous assessment.
    • Data standardization and interoperability:
      • Emphasized the need for standardized data for interoperability.
      • Highlighted challenges with incomplete M&E design causing quality issues.
    • Identification and roles:
      • Stress on identifying individuals based on performance, not just certifications.
      • Importance of centralized data management for roles and accreditation.
    • Feasibility of a unified platform:
      • Doubt raised over the feasibility of a single platform.
      • Advocated for an ecosystem where different systems can communicate.
    • Centralized data linkage:
      • Proposed examples from other industries like DVLA for centralized data linkage.
      • Discussed challenges of information management in construction.
    • Unique reference numbers:
      • Suggested assigning unique reference numbers to buildings.
      • Mentioned UPRN managed by Ordnance Survey.
    • Challenges in achieving a unified database:
      • Discussed historical failures in achieving a centralized competency database.
      • Highlighted challenges due to competing interests and governance silos.
    • Information, knowledge, management, compliance, and competency are seen as interconnected aspects.
    • The process involves breaking down tasks, ensuring validation, compliance, and documenting evidence.
    • Concerns arise regarding incomplete building services design during construction due to procurement processes.
    • Completing designs earlier and ensuring simple integration of product information are suggested solutions.
    • Digital stage gates are proposed to ensure proper handover and acceptance of work phases.

    4.a. Utilising Technology. Utilising 3D modelling through BIM can enhance construction planning and documentation. Despite its benefits, the cost of implementing 3D modelling may pose challenges. BIM is favoured by the government, and 3D modelling could be a key component in line with it. Just as a sidebar, BIM was initially considered Building Information Modelling. George and others have reinterpreted that to be Better Information Management which is where we come at it from in BIM4Housing. So 3D modelling, yes or no? Benefits, pros and cons.

    GEORGE Certainly it’s an important element to things, but we need to recognise that a lot of the building services people, who are doing the installation work, may well not be using 3D modelling to achieve that. So it’s a matter of being able to use 3D modelling where people are actually using it, but also recognise the fact that probably people that are doing detailed installations may well just use CAD, or indeed not use any CAD at all, they’ll just be installing in line with designer’s drawings.

    JAREK WITYK I think this technology, I disagree with this point altogether. It can create more problems than solutions because I don’t believe the problem lies with technology. We as a human race build beautiful, complex buildings for ages without all of this technology. So technology is there to help if it’s used correctly, if people are competent to use it, but this 3D modelling is relatively new. There is a lot of especially Tier 2 contractors, MEP specialists, which still don’t use it or are just learning. The problem is elsewhere, the problem is due to contractual engagement where when those specialists engage late they will not produce a design until they’re appointed.

    They’ll provide prices based on sketch which is often not developed, there is contradicting information, non-compliance items and as it’s being priced then someone then inherits that price based on that sketch design. Consultants often either over engineer or under engineer the design, trying to fight this complex problem. In the end you end up with a RIBA stage 4 subcontractor engaged and he’s then going out to try and find security specialists etc, everything else is coordinated.

    RICHARD Isn’t a lot of the technological requirement now driven by regulation? A lot of the technology is not about necessarily whether you can build a beautiful building, it’s about proving that you're complying with the new regulations.

    JAREK WITYK Yes, but if we’re trying to answer the question…by the way I’ve put in the chat, perhaps we could improve engagement with this question if we rephrase it, I just put three examples. I think the question doesn’t sound right. If we’re trying to answer the question, how do we ensure that the incomplete building services design does not impact construction. There is a reason why this MEP often, the building services design, is incomplete So that’s where the problem is, why is it incomplete? So there’s two parts of this question because there is a reason why and accepting the incomplete design, OK, we know the reasons, for example, what I just mentioned.

    That’s the reasons, but we end up with the situation that the MEP design is incomplete and what do we do about it? So that’s the second part of the question which is probably the important bit. It’s difficult, I think that’s where I would like to concentrate on because the reasons why this is incomplete is quite easy to establish and set up rules to avoid that situation. But if we are where we are, which is 90% or more of the jobs that I’m on and I was involved in for the past 10 years, then what do you do to improve the situation? Once you’re at that stage.

    GEORGE I absolutely agree with Jarek about the situation, but what we’re trying to do here is to answer the how we actually resolve it, which I know you are as well, Jarek. I think technology does have a role to play here, but perhaps not in a way that a lot of people perceive that it does. What I mean is that utilising 3D modelling, for example, is probably a way of identifying how incomplete things are and therefore helping the project team to recognise that there’s information that does need to be incorporated from elsewhere.

    JAREK WITYK Yes, but technology without process is worthless. I’m on a project now, a complex hospital design coordinated to RIBA stage 4 apparently and it doesn’t work because there were no checks done. So it’s not just the technology, there needs to be a process of how do you use it and how do you check and whether you accept this and so on. What’s the purpose of using that particular tool and producing that particular drawing. Technology itself is just a tool, if you don’t know how to use a tool what’s the point? it’s better not to use it.

    LIAM TOOTILL it’s the first time I’ve spoken at one of these, but I’ve been listening with a lot of curiosity over the last several weeks. My background, I’ve not been in construction or architecture in the early part of my career and I’ve only pivoted into it in the last few years. And the work that I’ve been doing, I was brought into a design & build contractor. There’s two companies, a contractor called Work Ltd and we have sister company that develops technology with the profits from our modern method of construction and we’re looking to radically reimagine how to deliver information and it comes through the thesis of understanding how to coordinate that information. It’s interesting to listen to Jarek talk and different people offering their opinion around is it technology to blame or is it actually the information. In the session before there was the conversation around at what point do you engage stakeholders and who has to supply the information correctly. And ultimately I think that there’s a couple of things to unpack with it….

    It feels like there is a cultural issue because in Japan, for example, we see that they’re able to do complex builds in short time frames and it’s not that they apply technology better or that they have more high fidelity BIM models or whatever it is. It’s that they actually at the beginning of a project, when the tender is won the contractor, the architect and the client all get in a room together and have a love-in.They really scrutinise and interrogate the information on offer and demand the bits that aren’t so that they’re able to do it in a much more comprehensive way once the job starts. And over in the UK it feels that we’re a bit more confrontational and people don’t want to absorb risk to themselves.

    And so people de-risk themselves in a project and everyone has their own model, whether that’s the 2D piece of information or a 3D model, and it’s rare that there is that golden thread that actually coordinates all of the information right at the start so that you can identify the problems that you don’t know that you’re going to have. And whether you use a BIM model for your golden thread or you use a database that informs that in 2D, they’re the same thing but a lot of the time it’s about the coordinated information at the start is not complete and we don’t encourage everyone to sit in at that top end of the funnel where the effort is like the MacLeamy curve.

    Top front efforts interrogating design means that there’s cost savings and time savings towards the end and there is an immediate practical push towards sustainability because procurement is far more precise. You don’t have people cold calling your office, carpet bombing you with things that you don’t need, you’re able to post you’re requirements to the market and have the sale come to you. There’s a whole factor of benefits if we all coordinate design information at the top end, but it’s just how does that happen as kind of a cultural play.

    RICHARD Absolutely, what we’re trying to do here is provide some of the how. 4.a.ii technology dealing with competency and compliance management. We spoke in the last meeting a lot about accreditation, so I think we’re not going to do that again here.

    GEORGE One of the things about the technology identifying what the issues are is that that needs to be done progressively and not at the end. So that things can get picked up early and therefore addressed before people have moved on. That’s principally what the BIM process is supposed to do, but all to often, in particular the collection of what gets installed is left until the end of the project by which stage a lot of the specialists have moved on.

    RICHARD That brings us on to the next point which is the management of information. We’ve talked about data standardisation. 4.a.iii In a previous meeting we had a discussion around single platform, a single platform being the solution.

    GEORGE That’s been muted in lots of situations and I think it’s not very helpful because it restricts innovation and it’s also probably completely impractical because you’ve got so many different parties involved. What is critical is that there should be a standard data standard so that information is exchanged easily between the different platforms. So there’s two elements to that: one is that we need to make sure that we’ve got standardised data libraries that fan therefore be consumed by the different software applications; and also we need to ensure that the people who are using those software applications are competent so that they don’t inadvertently produce stuff that nobody else can read. Because unless we have interoperable machine-readable information I think we’ll have significant problems going forwards. The use of AI, for example, has got to be implemented within this process and you’re not going to be able to do that unless you’ve got standardised information.

    RICHARD The questions about the building design, we’ve got a point down here that it’s not just about the building design it’s very specifically also about the building services design. That’s Peter McAteer.

    PETER McATEER I was just going to endorse what George said, the idea of a single platform is utter nonsense, it will never get anywhere, it would make everybody’s life a pain. There are what I’d call integration layers that sit on top of data sets that make the integration of data a lot easier than it used to be. We’ve got one that sits on top of our system that allows our system to talk to any other system. So technology has moved on a great deal on this side of things and as George said AI is a critical subject here and there are government initiatives including the HSE which are looking at how do we get that data  integration to work in such a way that it is viable across multiple entities, but we have a single source of the truth as well.

    We’re participating with the Institute of Construction Management in an initiative with Innovate UK on that kind of direction, but just to recognise and endorse exactly what George said. What I believe we’ll end up with is a number of data silos that are enabled to talk to one another, so we do still get the golden thread, we do still get the compliance and we get the competencies associated with it. And what we’re doing is integrating competency, compliance and risks so that we bring the three of them together as live information in the moment so that we know where we’re exposed and what to do to fix it.

    Abdullah Gulabi I’m from Dassault Systèmes, a software technology company. I wanted to ask about the single platform comments and the discussion around that. Is this just a discussion around a universal single platform for everyone, everything? Or, are we talking within a project scope?

    GEORGE Within a project and also within a portfolio of buildings. So, a client may have a hundred or a thousand buildings and they’ve been developed at different times over a period by hundreds of designers and contractors using a range of different software applications.

    JAREK WITYK I also agree, the single platform doesn’t work, it will never work. But just an idea of how to answer the question, what to do so the incomplete design will not impact the construction. Now we’re talking about technology, yes, so we can use the technology to first identify what the problems are, what the non-compliant items are, and hopefully if we as a construction will do lessons learned we could then, after identifying the problems, say right, if that will be left unattended ideally in line with the project programme, that’s the most likely implications. That will snap people into attention and do something about it. So you use the technology to first of all identify what the problems are, that’s one of the solutions of what can be done.

    RICHARD Yeah, absolutely. 9.a. Simplifying Fire Safety Regulations, standardising fire safety regulations, I think we can move past that one.

    9.a. Simplifying Fire Safety Regulations

    9.a.i Simplifying and standardizing fire safety regulations is imperative for improving understanding and preventing confusion on construction sites.

    • Fire strategy drawings are lacking in many buildings, posing a significant challenge.
    • Risks, especially regarding safety, are highlighted with real-time alerts for workers.
    • Fire safety regulations are complex, involving various standards and documents.
    • Simplification of fire safety guidance is suggested rather than regulations.
    • The responsibility for interpretation of regulations lies with the industry, increasing liability concerns.
    • Following approved documents does not guarantee protection from litigation, adding to project complexities.
  10. Considerations at design stage

    10.a. Understanding Designer’s Duties and Responsibilities

    10.a.i Understanding designer’s duties and responsibilities is crucial, including accountabilities and responsibilities and importantly in relation to activities/tasks and outcomes.

    10.b. Well-Structured Planning and Design Processes

    10.b.i Planning and design processes need to be well-structured to avoid construction issues. This to include coordinating build and M&E design to prevent compromises and potential dangers.

    10.c. Importance of Complete Design

    10.c.i The design of a building should be finalized before construction begins to avoid mistakes and uninformed decisions. Design changes should be kept to minimum to prevent budget overspends.

    10.d. Preventing Design Issues

    10.d.i Key steps to prevent design issues from impacting construction include:

    10.d.i.1 Identifying missing information

    10.d.i.2 Regular communication

    10.d.i.3 Site inspections

    10.d.i.4 Maintaining detailed digital records, including competency.

    10.e. Complete Service Design for Better Outcomes

    10.e.i Starting the design process with modular builds and ensuring complete service design can improve construction outcomes and reduce the likelihood of complications during construction.

    10.f. Competency Demand Profile

    10.f.i The publication of a competency demand profile, related to the project and design, should be required.

    10.g. Rethinking Procurement Processes

    10.g.i Rethinking procurement processes is vital for a smoother transition from design to construction. This step can contribute to efficient project management and minimize risks.

    10.h. Providing Tools and Resources

    10.h.i Providing the necessary tools and resources from the outset ensures accurate designs, preventing construction impacts and minimizing the risk of design-related issues.

    10.i. Quality Assurance Management

    10.i.i Building Services Design should be complete before construction begins, with ongoing coordination and quality assurance management throughout the construction phase.

    10.j. Accountability and Effective Communication

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    10.j.i Accountability and effective communication between designers and constructors is crucial. Recognizing the importance of fire safety and scrutinizing designs before construction starts requires qualified professionals.

    • Understanding designer’s duties and responsibilities is crucial, including accountabilities and responsibilities, particularly regarding activities and outcomes.
    • The issue of principal designer responsibility is often dodged in contracts, requiring clarification and mapping of responsibilities.
    • Lack of responsibility stems from concerns about insurance coverage.
    • Structured methodology for roles and responsibilities, including explicit identification of tasks and outputs, is essential for accountability.
    • Initiatives for structuring responsibilities are emerging from within the industry, driven by the need for professional indemnity insurance.
    • Regulatory guidance is minimal; industry is expected to define best practices.
    • Mapping processes and compliance issues is crucial for ensuring safety and best practices.
    • Responsibility for specific tasks like fire stop penetration seal is a growing concern within the industry.
    • Dry lining companies are increasingly responsible for fire stopping as part of their package.
    • Well-structured planning and design processes are essential for avoiding construction issues, emphasizing early engagement.
    • Finalizing building design before construction begins minimizes mistakes and budget overspends.
    • Key steps to prevent design issues include identifying missing information, regular communication, and site inspections.
    • Clear definition of required information at project initiation for tracking and auditing purposes.
    • Emphasis on digital format for information sharing to ensure clarity and accessibility.
    • Importance of regular communication and mechanisms for facilitating it.
    • Implementation of modular builds and complete service design to enhance construction outcomes.
    • Publication of competency demand profile for project-related competencies.
    • Rethinking procurement processes for smoother transition from design to construction.
    • Integration and communication between procurement, design, and construction teams to align goals and responsibilities.
    • Need for accountability and responsibility in decision-making processes.
    • Lack of attention to technical content and integrity in procurement practices.
    • Importance of providing necessary tools and resources for accurate designs.
    • Ensuring complete building services design before construction starts for better quality assurance.
    • Early engagement of specialists in the procurement process.
    • Emphasis on accountability and effective communication between designers and constructors.
      Recognition of the significance of fire safety and scrutiny of designs before construction begins.

    RICHARD 10.a. Understanding Designer’s Duties and Responsibilities. I think that’s taken as read. 10.b.i Planning and design processes need to be well-structured to avoid construction issues. This to include coordinating build and M&E design to prevent compromises and potential dangers.

    GEORGE Part of this potentially, I suggest that we look at this also from the point of view of the principal designer which is the new role that’s been introduced. Because my understanding is that the principal designer in their scope need to understand both the design of what they’re doing, assuming they are directly designing on the project, or all of the other disciplines as well. I think the scope of understanding, for example, the M&E design which is one of the things that is the challenge here, with the rest of design, so that for example builders work holes in compartmentation are in the right place rather than in the wrong place. I don’t know if there are any designers on the call, or anybody that’s taking on that PD role.

    JAREK WITYK I’m not a principal designer, but I am a designer and responding to what I see on the screen, yes, the process is key. If we’re talking about the golden thread of information and a process I guess we’re leaning towards ISO 195650 which if the whole project team would comply with and follow the requirements and have some trigger points gateway checks, then it will definitely improve the situation. Because again, it will bring into attention the problems and possible implications downstream and then people will hopefully act accordingly. Also what I’m seeing on this first point, accountability is a massive issue in the construction because there is a lack of accountability. I’m not sure if any of you have any comments on that and how can that be improved.

    RICHARD BACON I work for Albany? 28mins 27secs, PFI company, probably most people’s worst enemy in lots of ways, technical compliance manager. From an accountability point of view principal designers, principal contractors, first thing that we’re always looking at, I’ve got very sloping shoulders, I like to chuck everything to everybody else if I can. Referencing Jarek, over 15 years now in PFI lots of the projects that I’ve got involved in, I’ve sadly taken over buildings that already exist, O&M manuals in various states of completeness or not and would love to have been able to have said contracts were written out well enough in the first place to make people accountable for lack of the information.

    So subsequently sort of been variation works taking place where I've certainly found where you’ve got a particularly strong principal designer holding people to account from the minute that a project is conceived. And going right, we need this info to be able to build whatever it is that we’re doing. So the middle of a government building, a new suite of offices taking place, you’ve got a week, if it’s not designed and structured properly it’s never ever going to take place. But I want, as the PFI, to know we’ve got a complete set of O&Ms at the end. That principal contractor role and holding everybody to account for each element of what is going to be taking place over a period of time before the work actually takes place is key. Whether that information is on two or three platforms or not, personally I couldn’t care less.

    If it all ends up going in to one set of O&M manuals that are accurate at the end of the day it’s about someone having the gonads to hold people to account. So, what Liam was saying, I’ve spoken to people from foreign countries, I used to work out in Greece at some point which you wouldn’t believe some of the things that happen out in Greece. But going to what Liam was saying, if you look at what happens out in the Far East, a whole group of people sit around a table and until we’ve agreed literally every element of what is going to be taking place during the point of construction of a building ground does not get broken. We need to know everything that is going in here and if there is anything that’s left as an undesigned element it will be because it is reliant on being three storeys tall before you realise the skylines to be able to put something in the right place, it will be dependent.

    So, principal designer, absolutely key, got to own everything. When I’m employing a principal designer I’m employing someone to own every element of the design from every party that’s involved to be able to tell me, no, this is all going to work, everything is all going to fit in, it’s absolutely key. That level of accountability I’m willing to pay really good money for a principal designer if it means that they’re holding everyone to account.

    GEORGE You may not be aware of this, but this is the new revisions that came in in August which actually put huge weight behind what you’re saying there. This is the amendments to Regulation 38 which is the fire side of things. And just to summarise what it is, the client now has got to confirm that they’ve received all of the information that they need to operate the building safely. Now that’s a big change and the principal designer and principal contractor, the project team, have got to declare that they’ve provided all of the information and also that they’ve received something back from the supply chain. So I think the task for SPVs like yourselves is in future going to be significantly changed.

    But the other point is this is something now that should have been, this is just following building regs, so it’s just a clarification of building regs. I think client organisations, NHS Trust for example, should be doing that.

    KEVIN PHIPPEN The thing that I hear throughout the earlier session and this one is that this overarching relationship issue that seems to be prevalent within all construction contracts, that everything is based on a win-lose mentality. And ultimately accountability is a function of fear or lack of fear, so I think the reason why people are reluctant to be accountable is that often it’s about carrying the can, or the feeling that they’re going to cary the can at the end of it. And in some way it’s about repositioning the contract and repositioning the relationship and one of the young guys spoke earlier about the Japanese mentality and how that differs.

    A lot of these things all come from that win-lose mentality that’s prevalent throughout construction, that there has to be a loser in which case you don’t want to take any responsibility because you might be that loser. And until those relationships are improved then it’s very difficult to get accountability that means anything. I’m sure nobody wants it to be anything less than successful when they start out, but there’s always that fear that they may be the person that everybody points the finger at and that seems to be the issue.

    RICHARD Yeah, personal risk avoidance.

    KEVIN PHIPPEN And corporate as well.

    Jonathan Akisanmi Recently I worked for Durkan construction, but currently I work for Jacobs Engineering and I work as principal information manager. So, I’ve only been looking from the perspective of information management and from experience I really like what Richard and Liam said and all of this ties in together when you look at a question of accountability. I want to bring us back to two key points. I think where the PSA is going with the golden thread puts a whole lot of responsibility with the clients and where the main problem has been until now, often times and until recently, is that clients haven’t often been specifying very clearly what is it that they actually need. And that actually leaves the entire projects delivery team looking in the water glass or in the cloud what information to provide. So I think that the Act has nailed one key element by putting a lot of responsibility back to the clients,

    Now, if we do have well specified information requirements from the client, it is easy for the contractor to pick this up and break it down into scope of works for the different members of the supply chain. This is when you can begin to ask the question about accountability. I’ve looked back into the Act a little bit and three key things came up to me. First, what exactly is it that the client needs to meet the compliance requirement in terms of keeping the building safe and the people safe and having all of this information that meets the requirements. The second thing is the information the contractor will need to generate in the process of time to be able to deliver the assets. And the third thing is there will be other set of general information that are not particularly core requirements or specified or requested, but will actually help.

    So give a robust delivery of information which satisfy what will be needed by various parties to actually use and maintain the building, post delivery. So, where the key point first lies is on the one hand the clients having clear requirements for them to be able to fulfil their obligation. Whether that is for compliance, or for them to be able to manage the asset. The second part is having the principal contractor, being able to identify these core requirements and delineate who is producing them. And I think until you get to that point you can’t begin to hold people accountable because until now everything has been in the sky.

    We have cases even where clients would just dump on a project and I've seen this even with some of the best of clients. They dump down a whole lot of information to say, well, this is all the history we have on this project. We've been building over XYZ years, this is all the information that we have in within our portfolio of assets, so you just figure out all you need. And you see that the attitude in the industry is that even the principle contractor, oftentimes when they are procuring they will turn out this massive amount of information or also down the supply chain, and they’ll say oh, it’s there, just look for it. And they specify the contract in such a way…

    RICHARD It is down very much down to the management of that information and retrievability of that information once you’ve found it.

    GEORGE I’d just like to endorse what Jonathan said there…certainly rethinking the procurement process is a common theme.

    RICHARD It’s quite interesting, if you think back a couple of years ago when we began this journey, procurement always came in as a side issue, it was kind of mentioned. And as the years have gone by it’s become much more key, or much more recognised as being key.

    GEORGE It has, but the disappointing thing is that we’ve not had many procurement people getting engaged. And I think that’s going to change because what we’re also seeing is that main contractors now, because of the risk that they now perceive that they have in delivering it against this whole process, they’re recognising that procurement needs to understand the importance of quality as opposed to just cost.

    JAREK WITYK I just want to reinforce what Jonathan said about the importance of establishing requirements by the client. And if we’re talking through the prism of ISO 19650 as a framework for information exchange, yes, the standards put more responsibility for accountability on the client, but he may not have the expertise to even realise what he’s asking for or receiving is right, so he needs some help with that. But going back to competency, those two first points which then links to the procurement process. So when the client issues the project requirements he’s supposed to receive this information delivery plan which is BEP and all associated documents.

    And then the whole idea was that the client will be able to compare the tenders and choose the best team for the project. Not the best price, the best team which includes the competent person or team and the main contractor, for example, and its supply chain. Because often unfortunately, and I’ve witnessed that even on a UK government project I worked on, selected a main contractor who was clearly not competent to deliver that project. If they checked all of the requirements that main contractor should not be selected. So the importance is to follow the process, use the tools we have, but follow them and then have some checks. Those checks are not being carried out for some reason.

    GEORGE I’d like to just reinforce that because one of the things I’ve come across regularly, even on things like Procure 21 and Procure 22 which are the NHS frameworks, which are intended to be looking at things from the point of view of quality procurement. The quality is assessed…the quality is on the team, so I’ve seen teams that have supported main contractors and then the main contractor is then appointed and then they change the team. I think that’s less so now, under Procure 21, I think they’ve recognised that, but it’s important that it’s not just the Tier 1 that’s selected, it’s the Tier 2 and probably the Tier 3 that needs to be recognised part of that team.

    RICHARD I want to move on to 10.i. quality assurance management. It comes in on all the documents and we’ve not really got a great deal of detail on it. How do we manage quality assurance? Is it just about frequent inspections throughout the construction process?

    GEORGE One thing I’d say is that you need to determine what the quality is that you’re expecting. So quality is part of the definition of requirements because it may be that you’re from a cost and affordability point of view, you’re selecting something that isn’t the grade A, but as long as it’s satisfying what the requirement is. There is no point, for example, in having materials that will last for 20-30 years when the life of that particular building, let’s say a retail store, it’s probably going to get refurbished within five years. So, it’s horses for courses, I guess.

    RICHARD So it’s again about defining this at the beginning.

    GEORGE Correct.

    STUART SOUTHALL Just a general comment, it’s more around a checklist, or as you say checking the design, making sure the products that you use in the design are correct, suitable lifespan, everything from there. Then moving on to the installation, that that’s checked and the product is still suitable and then through to maintenance that they can be inspected regularly to ensure that they’re still complying. It’s all about those checklists and depending on the product system that’s being installed and designed into that building which is part and parcel of what manufacturers and the contractors should be doing, as well as the contractor installing it and that should be recorded throughout that whole process. So if there is any changes to a product, a system, because it’s not going to meet that lifespan or there is going to be conflict with something else then you can remove that confidently, put in a product that is suitable and then record that process from there.

    RICHARD It’s a continuity of information.

    STUART SOUTHALL Yeah, a product that might be quality at the start might not be suitable as the project continues, so it’s continually evaluating those checklists to ensure that it is still suitable once everything is around it, it’s all been installed. For example, installing 2 tonne of glass in an area that may need to be replaced if it gets smashed, how are you actually going to get that glass into that placement as well.

    RICHARD BACON Different people’s idea of quality, quality can be defined in so much as getting what you expected. So if you got what you expected you got a quality product i.e. for some people a Ford is a quality product because that’s what they wanted. For other people a Mercedes is a quality product because that what they wanted. If you expected a Mercedes and you only got a Ford you’d be right to complain, so it’s depending on your personal viewpoint. The whole bit about the building services design, and this is where it all goes back to the accountability, principal designer, and getting a complete design before the construction starts. You’ve then defined what it is that you’re expecting at the end of the day.

    A client, allowing for the amount of funding that they’ve got to be able to do any given project, can have a design that’s put together and costed to come up to that value. So, quality has just been set, you’re expecting that at the end of the day. So the ongoing coordination and quality assurance that you're doing is are we getting what we expected, given that we have a complete design. So, you really can define it.

    RICHARD Are we getting what’s expected? Who makes that judgement as the thing is being put together?

    RICHARD BACON The combination of people that are doing that, the client and the principal designer who have made sure that there is a complete design in the first place to be able to cost against.

    Abdullah Gulabi I was just curious to see no mention of off site manufacturing or prefabrication in the topic of quality assurance, when you can have things made, tested and proven before being incorporated into the building.

    GEORGE I don’t think we’ve excluded that, we’ve not explicitly included it. And certainly you’re right, but it’s also the case that when you get elements that have been off site manufactured the assembly onsite is sometimes problematic as well, so that’s not a silver bullet, perhaps.

    RICHARD No, but Abdullah is right to mention it because it is part and parcel of the potential mix. It’s actually in the blue notes.

    KEVIN PHIPPEN The point that Jonathan made earlier is also relevant in that we’ve seen a trend in the past few years from moving from a detailed design specification to a performance specification. So unlike the earlier spec which would have instilled the quality by saying we must have a certain type of a certain manufacturers components, we’re now seeing more often that not performance specs which leaves it to the contractor to decide exactly what type of equipment or what he’s planning to use within the construction. So there is actually less ability to specify the quality than there would have been 10-20 years ago.

    GEORGE That’s changing though, Kevin, under the new legislation there is a much stronger control on that, particularly on HRBs.

  11. Considerations at Construction Stage

    11.a. Coordination between Build and M&E Design

    11.a.i Lack of coordination between build and M&E design can lead to compromises and potential dangers. Starting the design process with modular builds can improve construction outcomes.

  12. Lack of coordination between build and M&E design poses risks; modular builds suggested to enhance construction.
  13. Modular builds seem promising but face challenges during onsite assembly, especially in joining pods and risers.
  14. Concerns raised about defects in modular construction due to inadequate design phase and construction practices.

    14.a. Halting Construction When Necessary

    14.a.i  Construction should be halted until design issues are resolved. Involving competent professionals and industry experts enhances issue resolution and ensures project safety

    • Proposal to halt construction until design issues are resolved; involves competent professionals for safety and issue resolution.
    • Discussion on whether halting construction for design issues is practicable; consideration of regulatory processes.
    • Debate on the feasibility of halting entire construction versus addressing issues in transition to avoid project delays and costs.

RICHARD 11 Considerations at Construction Stage. 11.a.i Lack of coordination between build and M&E design can lead to compromises and potential dangers. Starting the design process with modular builds can improve construction outcomes.

JAREK WITYK I’ll bring a very good example. I’m on a project now, a modular build, a massive hospital (Frimley Park). The M&E design, three electrical risers were missing, not there. And the openings, the building works which are part of the modular building were just not there and we were in a very difficult position where we had to find the route through. Three electrical risers from massive supplies which were kind of forgotten about. And that just brings the importance of processing leading to quality checks and so on. But there must be some trigger gates and someone responsible for checking and accepting whether the information provided is complete and accurate and compliant and so on. This is really problematic across all of the projects, so somewhere in the process the checks are not being done.

RICHARD So that’s not necessarily that modular build doesn’t work, it’s a question of the process needs to be improved.

JAREK WITYK Communication, yes. so checks not done, quality lacking in checking the quality of information received or provided. And then the technical aspect of the information provided and whether this is coordinated. I’m not talking about spacial coordination, I’m talking about information coordination. So because it could be picked up earlier that there is something critical missing like an electrical riser. You should pick it up much earlier and then you could do something about it before this modular building is actually manufactured.

GEORGE Is that modular building going into larger building that has been built traditionally? Or is it completely modular?

JAREK WITYK It joins into an existing building, but that is a completely new separate part which it will be joining.

STUART SOUTHALL I think that comes into the modular design is responsible for the design of the building, so their early engagement should be with Jarek and his team to get them in early in terms of does it look OK to you, what do we need to factor in. Jarek, you would have picked that up straight away and gone where’s my risers , etc. So there is either another architect for that job then you’ve got a modular company designing the building and there’s obviously a disconnect then between the M&E and the other services that then go through. And it’s get them all in the room to start with the say this is what we’re doing and then you can highlight straight away that there’s a problem that I haven’t got the services there to work to. There may be a disconnect between the architect designing the building and then linking that through to the modular, you’ve got another service involved in there.

GEORGE A common problem that we come across, forget modular for the minute, the lack of coordination between the electrical design and the mechanical design and the fact that the spaces are referenced differently in the different platforms. So we end up with situations where the architect, for example, would have defined all of the spaces that they’re responsible for. But the spaces where the services are going through haven’t been defined, or they’ve been defined in a separate model which hasn’t been properly coordinated back to the architectural model, So therefore a lot of risers, for example, are just not there as proper spaces. They’re drawings, you can see them on a drawing, but they’re not defined spaces.


Jarek Wityk Perhaps we could improve engagement with this question if we rephrase it, for example:

What strategies can be implemented to minimise the impact of an incomplete Building

Services Design on the construction process?

What measures can be taken to prevent construction delays and complications due to an

incomplete Building Services Design?

How can we mitigate the risks associated with an incomplete Building Services Design to

ensure seamless construction progress?