Chartered Institute of Building Magazine of the Chartered Institute of Building

Management

Creating value through quality at Sir Robert McAlpine

4 November 2020

Sir Robert McAlpine is working on the 21 Moorfields project in the City of London

Quality is not an add-on – it is an integral part of the company’s culture, both on site and beyond

The theme of this year’s World Quality Day is about creating customer value, something the project teams at Sir Robert McAlpine are constantly focusing on, as Paul Heather, managing director for London, explains. 

“Quality is amongst our pillars of excellence for successful project delivery,” he says. “The drive to consistently provide the very best end product is an ongoing journey as we are continuously seeking new and innovative ways in which we can add value for all of our clients. Quality will always be an integral part of our culture at Sir Robert McAlpine.”

Sammy Brady is a quality manager with a passion for instilling a positive quality culture where everything is transparent, and everyone is engaged and willing to give their best. She works on site at 21 Moorfields, a very technically complex project that will see the future London headquarters of Deutsche Bank stand right above Moorgate station. 

“I don’t ever want quality to be a frustration for people,” she says. “So it’s about bringing it to the forefront of everyone’s mind, and weaving quality in everything they do without them even realising it.” 

Brady worked closely with the client from the start to understand their requirements. It prompted her to review Sir Robert McAlpine’s quality management processes to see which could be adapted to really push the boundaries and deliver value. 

Using digital technology to streamline the way information is shared has been a key element. Understanding everyone’s needs across site and acknowledging every request by sourcing easier solutions also helped gain the trust of all involved. Brady has created an open environment where ideas are encouraged. 

Creating value is also about going the extra mile. “We want our clients to feel confident when they appoint us to do a project,” stresses Nicola Markall, head of technical compliance. 

Markall has contributed her expertise to the Building Safety Bill Consultation, which is set to change the way we record information and how we control quality. “We recognise that there is a lot of work to do,” she says, “but even though it hasn’t become legislation yet, we want to become early adopters, because it is the right thing to do.” 

Her role is dedicated to making sure everyone in the company understands what the bill is about and how it will affect the way they work. One work stream is focusing on assessing competences and upskilling people. Another group is looking to put in place the digital system necessary to capture the golden thread of information required by the bill, providing a solid, reliable audit trail to every action. 

The company’s collaboration with the CIOB supports the process, as Simon Neal, regional quality manager, explains: “Our Training Partnership with the CIOB provides us with a unique advantage as we prepare for the Building Safety Bill. We’re increasing the number of members year on year through our professional development programme; the return is that we have a growing community of professionally qualified people who have met the competencies set by the CIOB and are committed to driving improvements across the industry.” 

In its recommendations, the company proposed that the Building Safety Bill applies not just to high-risk buildings, but to all buildings. After all, it makes good business sense to have in place a system that facilitates excellence in project delivery, without defects.

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