The Tier 1 IQ Group of major contactors looks to improve quality across the sector.
Martin Adie - Balfour Beatty Construction
Contractual Group Status
Chaired By: Martin Adie
Contractual Workstream - Session 3-20220523
PAUL MCSOLLEY talks about a meeting he had with ANNA (digital director of Scott Brownrigg).
MARTIN thinks that, ‘in terms of upstream, contractual relationships and requirements, we can’t go legalistic to say these are the standard conditions you must work to. What we can do is use our knowledge and reflect it upline and align it to what the government’s act and publications are saying. The backbone of this should be the collaborative procurement document put out by the government in January. Martin shares on screen the document he’s talking about. He reads out something significant from the document :’Fire instruction safety issues can be exacerbated by poor procurement including poorly designed tender specifications, 11th hour contractual appointments, lack of appropriate engagement with the supply chain, contract forms….the basis if what we’ve been talking about’.
PAUL MCSOLLEY breaks down what that text means: ‘lack of appropriate engagement with the supply chain means we’re not basing it on product because we are arguing about the money, contract forms which prioritise…costs is the design and build’. He shows a document on screen with ‘the energy stuff’. He says to make a ‘one pager’ and that a lot of it is going to be in the procurement document that Martin spoke about.
GEORGE says that there is now a great deal of government standards/guidance that is not very well joined up. People need to be able to absorb whatever the contractual workstream produces - to break it down in small elements so people can confirm they have understood it. GEORGE shows on screen a Bim4housing document giving guidance for the 12 principal asset types. The focus is on the many things that people have shared that they think is important for different purposes. last week, that info was taken and put into a format - a master list of all of the information requirements and then asked people to say ‘Who needs that information? who would you get that information from?’. The idea is if we know that then we can say e.g. who, principally, will tell us what the material of the facings are etc. There are 88 different properties (that’s probably too many for some items).
MARTIN says this is a quality assurance type model, he’s uncertain if it’s the right model to use for collaborative working…because you are talking about accountability and responsibility. GEORGE thinks he may be right, but it depends how it’s used - ‘we’re not trying to use it to transfer blame’. RICHARD says that it depends how you define it. MARTIN points out that the residents are missing from the parties involved. GEORGE says there is a lot of interest from the Tier1 group.
MARTIN says he wants to concentrate today on upstream, contractual stipulations, downstream to the supply chain (he’s not sure how to deal with that one), but if it’s correct upstream it reflects through downstream. He doesn’t sense a degree of urgency or understanding from the design community compared to the supply chain and other Tier1s. PAUL MCSOLLEY doesn’t expect architects to know about every detail of construction and materials, but he does expect the fire strategy people/engineers to be prescriptive about the standards used (low volume level/microphone cutting out).
RICHARD says that with the other groups the recording/high points/minutes documents is put on their section of the Bim4hosuing website. He asks them if it’s OK to do that with this contractual group. They are OK with that. He’s conscious that they may be wary of collusion issues, but with this that shouldn’t be the case if it’s made transparent.
PAUL MCSOLLEY shows a document on screen. Part 3, penetration seals. Looking at the rule sets, it’s all dependent on whether it’s combustible or non-combustible. Is the consultant choosing that material? No, because everyone’s going for best value for the employer and they’re changing pipe work material. (low volume level/microphone cutting out)…..how does a consultant know what’s being bought? They don’t know what the contractor is going to choose. They need to know if it’s Integrity, Information, Low leakage. If there are so many things to consider the consultants can’t work it out??? The issue with the service providers like dampers, ducts, walls is they don’t know what the other people have to do in their test. You put a wall to a damper, not a damper to a wall.
PAUL MCSOLLY considers that the the David Moseley document (as brought up earlier by MARTIN) is significant. he makes changes to the document displayed on screen. He writes as a heading ‘Fire Safety Case and Golden Thread overview’. He re-arranges other parts of the document.
PAUL MCSOLLEY: ‘We all know something’s wrong, but we don’t know how to fix it’. (low volume level/microphone cutting out). MARTIN says ‘the more we talk, the more I don’t know what the answer is’. He lists the numerous reason other parties can’t do it and thinks the answer must lie with themselves (the contractors). You can’t expect the designers to have the answer as they are not sufficiently engaged. The individual supply chain suppliers and installers are just too varied and diverse - it’s going to have to come back to us. PAUL agrees - ‘we need to get better, we have to stop passing the risk down the line. We’ve got to tell the client ‘if you want me to sign this contract, this is what we need to do to get to that point…are you willing to do that?’. If they say no you have to say ‘I can’t build your job’ - no one want to do it’.
MARTIN thinks it will lead to more pre-construction service agreements. We need to be offering keys to the Gateways. PAUL is going to send the document to MARTIN.
I think based on what I heard today I think we need to consider a standard clause to cover those delays. Right now, we simply don't know so think we need a standard term to say in the event if a delay related to regulatory procedures yet to be fully described...
Really appreciate you taking the time to do this.
Makes sense. Aligns very much with my thoughts that that in many cases we need to get better at doing something we should already be doing. Aside from the functional requirements of the BR, for me that is proving competence, reviewing and verifying design, robust change control, validating what we actually built is what we designed, being able to prove this every step of the way and providing this information in a form the end user can fulfill their duties going forward.
All of this could potentially fall under the ‘reasonably foreseeable’ category.
The tricky element will be whether design and delivery programmes need to account for a Gateway approval period (not to mention the BSR falling over in achieving a 12 week response period as the new regime gets up to speed). Could get very interesting in financially closing PCSA’s in the coming months!
…and so the journey goes on 🙂
Hope well. I was at an event today with the HSE (Martin was there too, so please feel free to contradict if you took a different view). I took the opportunity to ask directly about timings of the Gateways and whether it would be staged i.e. Gateway 2 coming in first and then Gateway 3. What I took from her response was that this is detail to be determined, but the expectation is that we know what the functional requirements of the Building Regs are, regardless of Gateways we can be held to account for these in the future through the Act so the rest is admin, basically we should be compliant now and better at proving it by October 23. So I think you are safest to assume your initial assertion is correct, despite any clever argument a lawyer can make.
Apologies for not being in attendance yesterday.
Something I would be interested on your opinions……
Previously I was of the view that no matter what the date for Gateway 2 and 3 to come into play, the transitional arrangements would limit carrying on ‘business as usual’ So even if you had commenced prior to the trigger date you would still be required to pass through Gateway 3 (pre-occupation) should completion fall beyond this point.
A recent article by Pinsent Masons (attached) indicates that is not likely to be the case. They also are of the view that the trigger date is October 2023 i.e schemes commenced before that date continue under the ‘current regulatory regime’.
As a further point of interest in an interview at the start of May with Peter Baker, head of the new Building Safety Regulator he said “From October 2023, building owners will assume responsibility for fire and safety risks, and we, as the BSR, will be able to flex our muscles as a regulator in ensuring that building owners actually deliver their responsibilities. The building gateway system will follow, with the industry on notice to produce their certificate applications and safety cases, starting around April 2024.” – so differing from the Pinsent Masons view above and meaning it is difficult to figure out exactly what the trigger date is for the Gateways!
Apologies I will be tied up for this one too. If it could be moved to early pm I’ll be there boots and all.
Please feel free to invite other interested parties
CONTRACTUAL WORKSTREAM - SESSION 2-20220425
MARCUS of BALFOUR BEATTY is introduced to the workstream participants.
PAUL and SPEAKER 2 (MARTIN) had communicated via email to try and link up the thinking that’s contained within the M&E version of REBA, exploring the BG6 document and exploring how to use stage 4 to govern better.
GEORGE talks about the roundtable workshops they have been asked to organise by the UK Bim alliance at Digital Construction Week. There are 5 tables with 10 people at each, dedicated to the different working groups: development, design, construction, operations, manufacturing. The different stake holder groups will be involved. A particular risk will be looked at: the spread of smoke. To look at how a fire door can mitigate that risk. The objective of the discussion is to end up with an example of the challenges of the industry and the golden thread.
SPEAKER 2 (MARTIN) asks George if it will be done in a way that illustrates what happens when different groups do not communicate with each other e.g. an example of how to fail. ‘Is it a roundtable exercise? Or a roundtable discussion?’.
GEORGE says it will be a discussion – there is only 45 minutes allocated (and no whiteboards).
Regarding the letters that have gone between Michael Gove and the CPA, George thinks Gove is taking a very hard line. The CPA’s response to Gove was good and coherent, but did not give Gove the answer he needed. The work in the information quality group is extremely important, otherwise we’ll be run ragged by lawyers.
PAUL shows his slides. GEORGE’S view from an information management perspective is that all of this is in different documents that are not related properly to each other and the only way of relating them is by a human looking at them and making an interpretation: if you’ve got three people looking at them, you’ll get three different answers. This needs to be distilled down into something simpler.
GEORGE: ‘we need to arrive at something known in the manufacturing industry as progressive fixity, or mass standardisation. If you have a project that it using standardisation throughout (including documentation) when you vary from that then the risk is higher.’
SPEAKER 2 (MARTIN) says standardised contracts already exist...but they get amended. PAUL says it wouldn’t matter how they get amended if the design was alright in the first place.
44 mins 37 secs
IAN (SPEAKER 7) ‘I think we’ve got to specifically go at one package, and I think dry line is the obvious one for us, and say it’s crystal clear at Gateway two that unless we’ve got this information it is completely unreasonable to ask anyone to start work.’
IAN (Speaker 7) mentions the connection between the design and construction of a building and its potential to be insured: at what stage should it be insured? Should it be insured if it’s not built the way the insurance company would think is right?
PAUL shows more slides. He talks about the common phenomenon of people delaying the procurement process because that way they get a better price.
IAN (Speaker 7) thinks it’s all about what the system is and who owns it...the owner of the system isn’t necessarily aligned to the way that we control the packages. We have to get to a system-based approach, it’s a different way of thinking about it. PAUL agrees and talks about an example of how you need to know every single detail about a wall (symmetrical/asymmetrical/what’s within the wall?/dampers/duct work) ‘then you can systemize that design, but it has to be taken back to the start of stage 4 once you’ve got the specialist information involved’.
GEORGE agrees with the importance of a systems-based approach. He then shows a graphic that looks at the process that his company Active Plan are following to look at an individual component e.g. a door, re asset information requirement. The properties of the door are described and also there is a unique identifier/ a digital key called a GUID which gets passed to the product. It can be tested at any stage against a manufactured product. This ensures what you are requiring can actually be provided in the market. This info is given to the designer (modelled in work stage 4), there are types tied back to the original requirement. This info can go to the contractors, if changes have to take place there can be a more robust technical submission process. Once it’s been approved it can be purchased.’ GEORGE is working with Travis Perkins on this.
GEORGE thinks the technical deviation process is a critical area. SPEAKER 5 thinks that specifying products (perhaps) too early in the design process can potentially be a commercial difficulty...when it comes to the procurement stage suddenly things may change in terms of the number.
The team debates whether equal and approved products (to install assets) is a good way to go.
PAUL thinks everyone has the same 2 problems: 1) there is a schedule, but what’s on it? Is it right, wrong, or indifferent? 2) there is no schedule. Even if you do have a schedule (there are all kinds of problems)
GEORGE discusses the risk involved in installing the initially design-included assets with equal and approved products, especially after the process has moved on to the next stage.
In general, the group disagrees with George’s suggestion of potentially bringing in the M&E co-ordination engineers before the installation contractors are procured. ‘I’m not seeing the benefit of bringing another party into the process’...
GEORGE thinks the group agrees that the early selection of products and materials is going to be important. ‘If we can make it seamless and easy to sway out one product for another’ (that would be good). To replace with ‘not just a generic product, but a manufactured product designed according to the requirements’...then we’ve got a digital object we can actually work with’.
GEORGE: If we try and conflate the legacy with the future I think we’ll get nowhere because it’s just too big a job.’
SPEAKER 2 (MARTIN) has written a number of points that have come out of today’s meeting: 1) early selection of products 2) System-based approach/system owner 3) better understanding of the design/ earlier design/ why are we progressing without proper designs in place 4) the rules we need to post upstream and downstream that people need to abide by 5) Ian’s point to be mindful of the legacy issues as we push ahead 6) digitising things...
SPEAKER 2 (MARTIN) will invite Ian Abli to the next meeting.
CONTRACTUAL WORKSTREAM - SESSION 1
George: The incompleteness of the M&E design is significant, from a coordination perspective, largely because of the procurement process which actually adds a lot of unnecessary penetrations.
It would be excellent if by the time we get to gateway two design was complete ready for stage 4 design and there is still the correct amount of design time at the front end.
George: re the change management process, they are putting off the selection of products and materials for later, because they perceive that it is transferring risk onto the supply chain. If products are selected earlier, we can simplify (and consequently) de-risk the process. Compartmentation is one of the biggest issues, but we’re probably only looking at 50 or 60 types of assets. We should concentrate on those and have the right parametric information so that when a product is changed later on the impact of the penetration is more limited.
PREPERATION OF EMPLOYER’S REQUIREMENTS
SCHEDULE ONE Design submission procedure.
Paul: It’s important the manufacturer foresees any kind of problems that will come later on in the process and to register it.
George: It’s important that we try and address the process of identifying what is actually causing the risk and therefore being able to evidence the fact it’s being dealt with. The Housing Association property mutual process potentially has a method of addressing this. It looks at things that go wrong and it’s either the materials, the workmanship or the design. What the building performance group did was focus on doing those so that there was far more clarity in terms of that work. By having rigorous plant of work inspections, it meant that the incidence of failure reduced hugely and that’s why the property mutual worked.
The pre-construction process is crucially important. The latest trend is to shift it to the left, which means that focus has shifted away from what we are doing on site to what we are doing before we get to the site.
George: What we can do about the red lines?/red list idea? Is to take that back to the duty holder group, people who have currently got that responsibility, and get them to feed that back into their development colleagues, because at the moment the development colleagues are going to be driven by the normal sort of commercial things that are causing the problem. They can come back at it through the health & safety and liability side of things rather than the commercial.
There ae more and more questions about embedded carbon.
The interrelationship between different assets is important, you know what goes to make up a compartment and also the standards that they need to adhere to.
George’s strategy: 3 or 4 years ago started talking to People in development teams – those who are interested are outnumbered by those who are not interested. Through them I started meeting asset managers and property managers, eventually focusing on the duty holders because they are the ones who will be legally carrying the can; therefore, they are sensible people looking at it from a practical/self-preservation perspective.
The duty holders should be able to say to the development people that this is the quality of information/evidence/digital records that I need before I’m willing to sign that off now.
Regarding the HSE and treatments, for those treatments to work we need eg this type of asset to be installed to this level of quality with this information.
George has been talking to the constructors and manufacturers in BIM4housing and they’ve told me about essential characteristics. These are built into the product standards that most factories comply with to provide their information to sell their products. But getting to what those essential characteristics are is difficult because they are locked up in standards. There are declarations of performance and something called EAD which is for products that don’t have a declaration of performance. We’ve looked at what are the values in the declaration of performance – remarkably there is no master library of what these characteristics are.
Paul talks about the compatibility of different parts of an asset eg fire curtain, and how there are nuances regarding the compatibility.
What we haven’t done very well with BIM is map the information requirements for the end users.
Richard: we need a proper marketing strategy to get this stuff out there...where are those messages going and how are they going to get there?
George: we could feed it back through the supply chain sustainability school.
Martin: should use caution about marketing and getting the message out re tier 1s and possible collusion...to not make a set of demands, as if holding hostage.
WHAT TO DO NEXT? Martin: We’re thinking about a downstream set of conditions, advice guidance eg this is what you're going to need before you get ready to engage. This is the digital journey. This is what you need before you can get to gateway two. If you take standard and fair contracts and try and offset this risk it isn’t going to go down well with the agency or the insurance industry because it’s limited...
Then, we can do a piece of work re this is what we’re going to need from the supply chain downstream in terms of the digital journey and the information that’s going to needed to fed into getting through gateway 2.
George: We have to look at the process of products and materials they submitted and how is design agreed with the client and get the client to recognise that for us to be able to deliver the quality that they are expecting. Then some changes need to be taken earlier in the in the process. We need to address those things and modify contracts to these standard contracts is not the way of doing that...we have to be more collaborative in the process.
Martin: offsetting risks through modifications to contracts is no substitute for engagement and resolving the risks and identifying them.
The Building safety bill is about profound change and what we haven’t got is a roadmap. We’ve got a picture of the future. What we need to do is work out how we've changed the procurement process and to evolve the procurement process to support a better construction sector.