ICE supported initiative aims to increase productivity through error reduction

The research which led to the formation of the Initiative suggested that avoidable errors were costing as much as £10-25bn per year

Sir John Armitt said GIRI had the potential to be ‘game-changing’
Sir John Armitt said GIRI had the potential to be ‘game-changing’

Representatives from across the construction industry gathered last week at One Great George Street for the launch of The Get it Right Initiative (GIRI) which aims to significantly reduce construction industry error and its associated consequences.

ICE Past President Sir John Armitt introduced the Initiative saying:

“The issues we’re discussing today are fundamental to our industry. According to a recent Mckinsey report ‘Imagining Construction’s Digital Future’, productivity in the construction industry has barely increased in the last twenty 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.”

He encouraged industry to get on board with the initiative which said had the potential to be ‘game-changing’.

Ed McCann from Expedition Engineering described how the Initiative evolved: “In 2014, at the ICE Best Practice group, a team of us got to wondering how much errors cost UK construction and indeed whether anyone knew. In parallel Peter Hansford, who had just issued the Industry Strategy for Construction was looking for ways to deliver cost reduction targets. We proposed to research and identify ‘classes of significant errors’ and then develop specific interventions to address them.”

Supported by seed funding from the CITB, and 16 major industry companies the research team put together a £100k project to identify the costs and root causes of error in UK Construction – and to make recommendations about what should be done.

This research revealed that within the £100bn a year construction industry, avoidable error results in costs between £10-£25bn per year - much more than total profits across the sector. The research also showed that the root causes for this are embedded deep within the construction industry.

When the companies involved were asked how they might invest to reduce error, responses determined a striking 73% of resources would be put towards skills development including design, management, planning and trade.

In light of this valuable research GIRI has developed a ‘Strategy for Change’ which has four threads: a skills development programme to improve capability in identified areas; a campaign to change and align attitudes which will both raise awareness to the cost of error and change attitudes to the issues; a programme to improve management programmes and systems which includes defining a common language to describe error as well as error identification and measurement to deliver benchmarking data; and improve construction technology and techniques including how digital technology is understood and used across the industry.

Tom Barton, Executive Director of the Get It Right Initiative explained that the first important phase for the Get It Right Initiative is about raising awareness and building momentum. Its membership and business community is growing on a daily basis and providing the right forum for sharing ideas and developing training programs. Workshops currently being delivered include ‘Avoidable Construction Errors’ and ‘Training for Operatives’ and a ‘Design Management course’ is in the pipeline.

The Initiative unites its members with a mission to build a better construction industry for the UK, to help reduce avoidable error, to share expert knowledge and solutions, to save businesses involved, the industry and the taxpayer money and to improve industry reputation, rigour and respect.