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Construction sector 'could save billions through better design'

construction site

A drive to eliminate errors in the construction industry says that a collaborative culture on projects and increased investment in design could save the sector billions of pounds each year.

The Get It Right Initiative (GIRI)  published a report at its launch last year, saying that avoidable errors are costing the £100bn a year construction industry £21bn annually.

The report says that between 10% and 25% of project costs are lost through errors. This includes direct and indirect costs plus unmeasured costs.

A year on from the report, GIRI has produced a guide to reducing design errors with 13 key recommendations, which it says will cut the cost of errors and increase productivity.

Speaking at the GIRI annual review yesterday, its executive director Tom Barton said: “The root causes of error, it’s about planning, it’s about culture, it’s about design… If we set about wanting to do it right, if we set about creating the environment in which people want to do it right, at every level, we have a chance.”

The initial report was launched just after the Grenfell Tower fire last year. Referring to the fire, Barton said: “I just hope at the end of the day we really learn our lessons and the industry really worries about getting it right.”

The guide to reducing design errors contains 13 recommendations. These include getting the culture right, where it says: “Every project needs a clearly defined intent, a consistent focus on outcomes and the project team to work seamlessly together and adopt the process of back briefing at every stage. The right culture is a collaborative one.”

It also recommends increased investment in early design and a clearly defined and well managed design process.

Firms including Arcadis, Skanska, BuroHappold, Mace, Mott Macdonald and Costain all contributed to the guide.

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