Building control, Kier, modern slavery: Readers’ comments
Mace chief executive Mark Reynolds
Murphy v Brentwood removes a Local Authority Building Control responsibility for economic loss, which has for 20 or so years allowed local authorities to starve their building control of resources, both technical and financial. This, with the diminished role of site engineers and clerks of works, has removed the onsite checks and balances.
The last disaster that made central government concern was Ronan Point 50 years ago (killing four people). Will the current government now provide the necessary resources and statutory controls to enable the building control professionals to fully protect the public in an environment that is becoming more densely populated?
Building control officers need more training. You just have to look at them reviewing door blower test results! Also it would help if they surveyed every house, not just a sample. If significant problems arise they should take the knock on their insurance?
It’s not just building control that needs a shake-up. Health and safety regulators need to wake up. Every week fatalities occur in the construction industry, sometimes more than one.
It is alarming that the construction sector seems to keep making the same mistakes.
With the advent of more and more design and build contracts, clients need to be very clear on the outcomes they want and place more vigour in the early stages to ensure the design and product is right.
Clients need to be more proactive in ensuring quality and fitness for purpose. Contractors are not going to improve on their own.
Buildings don’t get to this stage in one brief moment, there will have been months of making do and accepting work as “good enough” for now with a view to correcting at some later date. Then it just snowballs on from there…
The construction industry has already chased away 500,000 British builders who have emigrated because the bosses wanted cheaper labour. If you don’t employ people who know what they are doing, you will never get a quality product.
The law of diminishing returns: marginal productivity combined with the fragmentation and pressure to adhere to/meet the government’s strategic policies/targets within the industry is the open door in which these criminal gangs operate.
No surprises here. Much the same theme as the Latham report Constructing the Team in 1994, the Egan report Rethinking Construction in 1998, the Government Construction Strategy in 2011, and Construction 2025 published in 2013, with the added twist of slavery and criminal intent.
Collaboration, fair contracts, ethics: never going to be reality while the industry is run by the stock market!
Developing an offsite manufacturing solution definitely is not an easy task. This has been done successfully by others ranging from small to very large projects though.
I personally developed a modular offsite design/manufacturing process for a major power supplier in Canada for distribution and transmission substations.
Perhaps those speaking to the committee should spend time talking to those in the industry that have successfully implemented offsite construction techniques.
Interesting the claim that “institutions and funders just want to see tried and tested solutions”.
So the current approach to projects delivers high reliability and great ROI for investors, does it? I would say “the devil you know” is more appropriate.
Mace are right in my view. There is a way forward though and it requires throughput guarantees for a company that invests and uses the factory approach.
But aren’t the “tried and tested” solutions the very “solutions” that lead to poor quality, late delivery, cost overruns and lengthy legal disputes?
Interesting comments considering I have worked on at least five Mace sites that have had some form of offsite prefabrication that I ran. It was tried and tested and seen as a must in mechanical services.