Last edited 25 Dec 2020

A guide to improving value by reducing design error

The Get it Right Initiative (GIRI) is tackling avoidable error in the construction industry. Its aim is to significantly reduce error and its associated consequences, and its members are united to build a better UK construction industry.

On 13 November 2018, GIRI published A Guide to Improving Value by Reducing Design Error.

Previous research by GIRI had revealed that a large proportion of construction errors are caused by deficiencies or changes in design. These findings motivated GIRI members to create a design guide to address the causes of these deficiencies. The guide aims to share knowledge across the industry, setting out best-practice techniques to follow when approaching projects.

It includes 12 recommendations that can be applied to any project, particularly during the early stages:

  1. 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.
  2. Increased investment in design reduces project error.
  3. A clearly defined and well-managed design process should be established at the start of a project, and involve all key members of the project team.
  4. Every project will benefit from collaboration, and effective collaboration will lead to more successful projects with fewer errors. It is up to clients and leaders across all disciplines to act to enable collaboration to take place. The adoption of a partnering charter should be a key goal at the start of any project
  5. Develop a comprehensive project-specific plan of work.
  6. The briefing process is fundamental in defining client needs and expectations, and requires sufficient time to be completed in collaboration with all relevant parties.
  7. Correct and well-communicated design information is integral to successful communication between designers, clients and contractors.
  8. Time invested in understanding stakeholder needs and the client’s sign-off and approval process is never wasted.
  9. 'Opening-up’ and ‘closing down’ a project allows for all creative thinking and key decision making to be carried out and completed in good time prior to preparation of subsequent production information. This reduces the necessity for change and hence the opportunity for errors.
  10. All projects, regardless of the form of contract or procurement, would benefit from contractor advice at the design stage. This should be encouraged and would lead to a reduction in design errors.
  11. If a comprehensive set of information is produced at the handover stage and communicated and reviewed effectively, then the design is less likely to be misinterpreted, resulting in fewer errors.
  12. Introduction of an independent principal consultant as the ‘controlling mind’ for design development is critical to ensure that design-related communications are robust, co-ordinated, and well managed.

A recurrent theme throughout the guide is ‘standing back’, analysing the situation, developing a consistent plan, and making sure it is adhered to or changed. This applies to clients, designers, contractors and sub-contractors at all stages of the design process.

Get the guide HERE.

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