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Billions lost through construction errors each year

get it right

Avoidable errors are costing the £100bn a year construction industry £21bn annually, according the backers of a new initiative aimed at eliminating mistakes. The Get it Right Initiative (GIRI) has been launched to help firms avoid construction errors.

GIRI has published research showing that between 10% and 25% of project costs are lost through errors. This includes direct and indirect costs plus unmeasured costs.

“Twenty one billion pounds is not far off the government spend on transport every year,” said Expedition Engineering director Ed McCann, who has been a driving force behind GIRI since the firm’s research and development arm was commissioned to research the project.

The initiative, which is supported by the Institution of Civil Engineers, is funded through members including Costain, Bam, Taylor Woodrow and Skanska.

McCann said that many of the error costs were invisible because of the structure of the supply chain. “It’s buried in rates and marked up rates,” he said.

Since initiating the project, McCann said that companies had started sharing their experiences of errors, so they could learn from them. He wants performance to be measured systematically across the industry, to improve benchmarking.

The initiative’s research suggest that many errors are rooted in the planning process, not the construction phase. Causes include late design changes, poor communication and lack of co-ordination.

GIRI has devised four different initiatives to reduce errors in the sector. These are:

  • a skills development programme; initiatives to combat errors
  • a campaign to change attitudes about errors
  • a drive to improvement management processes and systems
  • a drive to improve construction technology and techniques

Firms signing up to the initiative will receive guidance, articles and reports and training, and opportunities to share knowledge under Chatham House rules.

National Infrastructure Commission deputy chair Sir John Armitt gave GIRI his support by speaking at the launch event. He said: “According to Mckinsey report Imagining construction’s digital future; productivity in the construction industry has barely increased in the last 20 years. As a consequence, our projects cost more, which means we are building fewer, as society can’t afford them.

“We all know part of that cost is the things that go wrong, and the aim of the Get It Right Initiative is to address this. We’re an industry that loves to crack on, but in cracking on, errors are made, so it’s a case of less haste more speed.

”GIRI could be game changing for our industry, so I encourage you to get on board and maintain momentum.”

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