Construction Quality Planning - A gamechanger for construction's approach to quality
(Credit: Construction Innovation Hub)
Stepping through the doors of a brand-new building, your first natural reaction may be to cautiously question its level of quality. Does the structure feel safe and sturdy? Have high quality materials been used? Do the building components fit together faultlessly?
Despite the critical need for public assurance in the safety of new buildings, quality planning remains one the sector’s most inconsistently handled processes. In fact, a problematic culture of ‘defect-checking’ exists in construction, meaning that issues are assumed to exist and will be checked and corrected at a final quality control stage. What’s more, quality management methods vary widely across new infrastructure projects, with no common industry-wide process in place to define the way new construction products are brought to market.
A ‘zero-defects’ culture
This issue becomes increasingly stark when compared to processes used in the manufacturing industries. Unlike construction, sectors such as aerospace and automotive follow global industry-wide guidelines to effectively ‘build in’ quality when developing new products. This has created a strong ‘zero-defects’ culture, meaning that new parts for cars and airliners cannot be used before passing a series of meticulous, standardised quality assurance tests.
As part of our mission to transform UK construction, we in the Construction Innovation Hub are working to transfer and embed this ‘zero-defects’ mindset within the built environment. While schools and hospitals may not have wheels or jet engines, they ought to be planned and built with same amount of rigor and consistency as the latest top-of-the-range car model.
Construction Quality Planning
Combining the Hub’s expertise which spans building science, advanced manufacturing and digital construction, our team at the Hub – a partnership between BRE, MTC and CDBB – have developed a new quality process unique to the construction sector: Construction Quality Planning (CQP).
CQP is an adaptation of Advanced Product Quality Planning (APQP), a standardised quality planning process in broad use by the manufacturing industry. It serves as a consistent tool to evaluate and mitigate the risks of complex new products being introduced to the supply chain.
Similarly, Construction Quality Planning (CQP) will support innovative products being brought to the market by firms that feed construction with components for offsite builds. CQP will ensure that new parts uphold scrupulous quality standards and conform to the fit, form, and function needed by the industry. This will provide a much-needed standardised process for the construction industry to measure quality data and outputs. Crucially, CQP could lead on to future accreditation schemes, providing confidence to clients, insurers, lenders, and contractors.
As with all parts of the Hub’s transformative programme, we depend upon input from the industry to ensure this potentially game-changing solution delivers for our sector. To understand how CQP can be put into practice, we are currently holding workshops with a broad range of stakeholders such as Homes England, the Department of Education, and leading organisations from across the manufacturing and construction sectors.
We know that the key to CQP’s success is its aptitude for meeting the unique needs of construction, which is why the Draft Guide for CQP is open for consultation until Friday 31 July 2020. The Hub is keen to gain input from across the sector, particularly public and private sector clients and those involved in offsite manufacturing. By continuing to collaborate with industry, we can pave the way towards a ‘zero-defects’ culture in construction that delivers high-performing, safe buildings in which quality is guaranteed.
The Hub wants to hear your thoughts on Construction Quality Planning.
Consultation closes on 31 July.
Technical Lead (BRE) for the Construction Innovation Hub
Working around the four core themes of Value, Manufacturing, Assurance and Digital, the Construction Innovation Hub is changing the way buildings and infrastructure are designed, manufactured, integrated and connected within our built environment. The Hub is funded by the UK Research and Innovation’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, as part of the Construction Sector Deal.