Digital “Quality Tracker” launched in UK to prevent construction defects

Three major UK construction professional bodies today launched a free digital tool – the Quality Tracker – to improve built outcomes and prevent disputes and defects.

The initiative by the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB), Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) comes amid warnings of a crisis in quality affecting the industry.

They say the tracker is needed because, although quality targets can be set at the start of projects, they often are neglected as deadlines approach and costs rise.

This tool is a "constant reminder of quality targets", the bodies said.

The tracker sets up a formal "chain of custody for quality" aligned to the RIBA Plan of Work, helping project team members understand their risks. The bodies said this will improve collaboration, increase transparency, and avert disputes as project teams grow and change.

Post-completion, when signed-off, the Quality Tracker gives purchasers, tenants, investors and asset managers an account of the quality targets for the building, and its development history.

They say it "allows clients to demonstrate their overall commitment to quality and differentiate themselves in the market".

The tool will be piloted over the next six months on real construction projects, and participants are sought (see below).

"This is a significant cross-industry initiative which will enable clients and construction industry professionals to achieve better long-term building quality," said RIBA President, Ben Derbyshire. "The industry needs a shared definition and method of measuring quality, and better ways to account for risk and uncertainty – and this tool is an excellent response to those issues. I urge all industry professionals to pilot and help to shape its development."

Paul Nash, Past-President of CIOB and Chair of its Quality Commission, said: "Last year the CIOB established a Commission to examine the issue of quality in our industry. We needed to understand what was preventing or promoting the delivery of quality on construction projects.

"Our research identified that there was a need to raise standards across the industry and to improve education and training on quality. But importantly there was also a recognition that the industry needed to collaborate if it is to bring about the change that is so urgently needed.

"It is for this reason that the Building in Quality initiative is so important, and I would encourage our members and wider industry to support this initiative and work together to build a better industry."

For information on how to sign up to the pilot, visit here.

Image: London’s skyline at dusk, 2013 (mattbuck/Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International)

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