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  • Tony Putsman

Are We Sure That What We Design Gets Built Correctly?

Since the Grenfell fire and subsequent inquiry, construction professionals have been forced to reassess whether the way projects are procured and delivered allows sub-standard work to go unchecked.

During our early careers (1970s & 80s), monitoring of the quality of contractors’ work was typically carried out by members of the design team, resident engineers and/or clerks of works employed by the client, to protect their interests and ensure that contractors delivered what was specified in the contract documents.

Whilst the cladding was clearly the major factor in the catastrophic spread of fire at Grenfell Tower, there were many other contributing factors concerning poor quality workmanship and sub-standard materials.

The Building Safety Bill currently progressing through the parliamentary process will, when enacted, compel clients and their design teams to consider fire risk at each stage of the project.

Being confident that completed work is compliant is a subject that will need far greater consideration than has previously been the case on many projects, and systems to encourage compliance needed to be put in place at the strategic planning stage.

Evidence shows that relying entirely on contractors to produce compliant work without autonomous scrutiny does not result in compliant buildings.

Clients might decide that paying additional fees to designers or to other fully independent inspectors to undertake detailed inspections of critical elements, represents a sound investment.

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Tony Putsman
Tony Putsman
Sep 20, 2022

Thanks Matt. I suspect we may see the return of 'independent inspection' of contractors work, particularly on high risk buildings with the enforcement of the Building Safety Act in 2023.


Mar 01, 2022

An interesting article, I remember the Clerk of Works all too well. The self policing of standards certainly has had a detrimental effect over the years and as of yet is not fully realised in the industry. Hopefully these poor practices do not end in tragedy such as that seen in Grenfell. Unfortunately it is these such events that instigate change.

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