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  • Writer's pictureTony Putsman

Where's the Quality Assurance in Construction?

Updated: Oct 14, 2023

There appears to be a worrying trend in new construction works having to be demolished due to structural elements failing to meet the required quality standards, either through errors in design or construction. Not surprisingly, media reports often lack any indication how the problems were allowed to develop, with the organisations involved unwilling to admit to their failings.

In a recent case reported in Construction Enquirer and elsewhere the problem was outlined as follows :

'Problems were found earlier this year with new homes under construction at the Darwin Green site where Barratt David Wilson Homes Cambridgeshire is building a new community of nearly 1,600 homes. The faults were originally thought to affect 36 new homes on the site.

But Barratt has now submitted a planning application to Cambridge City Council for the demolition of 83 homes “due to necessary changes to the built foundations.”

Whilst it is impossible for the casual observer to identify the causation in particular cases, there appears to a general need to review how project teams can demonstrate to their clients that they are delivering what has been specified. ( see our previous post ' Are we sure that what we design gets built correctly?') The new Building Safety Act that came into force on 1st October is going to compel clients and their professional teams to consider this question from the strategic planning stage of the scheme, particularly with respect to fire and structural safety. Each project team will need to agree who should carry out the inspection and certification of key elements of the works, but simply relying on 'our quality assurance systems' will probably not suffice.

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Oct 14, 2023

I know we have discussed this previously at length, it is a sad indictment of the industry. Whilst the government (past, present and future) keep promising more homes, will they insist on good quality housing? Unfortunately I think they will not. Having a construction organisation mark its own homework or the use of third parties who are paid by said construction company it will never change.

The clerk of works was an integral role in construction projects which has now sadly disappeared. We can only hope that the new BSA will have a positive impact within the industry, something positive should come out of the sad loss of life such as Grenfell.

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