Construction Quality Planning Tool

Learning from manufacturing to improve quality assurance.

Last updated: 22nd January 2021

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Innovation Lead: Gill Kelleher

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Website:
constructioninnovationhub.org.uk/


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Summary

Quality assurance is about producing something exactly as it has been designed. Manufacturing has been standardising quality assurance for decades, which is why the Construction Innovation Hub looked to the automotive industry as inspiration for its new assurance framework. The result is the Construction Quality Planning tool which builds in assurance checks and measures from the very start, and makes sure that manufacturing-led construction projects are handed over with confidence that they have been built as designed. The framework helps shift the industry from a culture of quality control and defect-checking, to one of defect prevention - helping increase productivity and leading to a better quality built environment.

Innovation type: Digital, Process, Procurement, Skills
Organisation type: Construction tier 1 contractors, Government client, Housebuilder, Innovative SME, Manufacturer, Research centre, Supply chain

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Project pioneers

The Construction Innovation Hub was born out of the Construction Sector Deal, with £72 million from the Transforming Construction Challenge Fund and helps deliver the Construction Leadership Council’s Roadmap to Recovery: An Industry Recovery Plan for the UK Construction Sector. The Construction Innovation Hub’s Assurance work stream has been tasked to improve the trust and confidence in the quality of our built environment, especially as Modern Methods of Construction are rapidly being adopted in the sector.

The problem

Quality assurance is rarely baked into a programme from the start, which means the industry finds itself fixing defects rather than preventing them in the first place. It means that buildings are rarely handed over exactly as they were designed. This is not only a waste of time, resources and materials but leads to poorer quality buildings. When quality assurance methods are used, they are often bespoke or unique to that manufacturer or supplier and so are likely to be inconsistent with other projects. None of these approaches gives enough peace of mind that a finished building will perform as its meant to.

Vision

The use of a more robust system of quality assurance from the start is fundamental to making sure buildings are handed over exactly as they have been designed. It will be possible to know that every component has been manufactured accurately and assembled correctly, is of the right quality and that poorly performing components haven't been switched in instead. It means that construction programmes should be right first time. Ultimately it's about buildings having traceability, delivering on quality and safety, and leaving the end user with peace of mind that the building will perform as intended.

Key Insight

Just as construction is adopting a manufacturing-led approach to products, materials and sub-assemblies, it can also learn from how manufacturing standardises quality assurance and ensures the traceability of components. To improve quality and safety in the industry, the Construction Innovation Hub looked to the automotive industry and its Advanced Product Quality Planning framework which creates a systemised process of quality, incorporated from the very start of the design and planning process. This model was the inspiration for a new assurance framework.

First step

In May 2020, the Construction Innovation Hub launched the Construction Quality Planning Guide Draft for Consultation. This document has started a conversation across the industry around quality assurance, and informed the next critical phase of the Construction Quality Planning tool (CQP) where the Construction Innovation Hub want to understand how a framework like CQP would be used in practice in the UK construction sector.

Barrier

Without a systemised process in place, the construction sector will stay rooted in a culture of quality control and defect inspection, rather than one of quality assurance and defect prevention. This would be costly and wasteful. CQP offers the opportunity to switch to a framework that embeds quality and safety outputs into precision manufacturing processes from the start.

Process innovation

The Construction Innovation Hub learned from the Advanced Product Quality Planning framework, and created 5 phases to its new Construction Quality Planning tool:

  1. Planning
  2. Product Design and Development
  3. Process Design and Development
  4. Product and Process Validation
  5. Production Launch and Ongoing Monitoring The CQP framework will provide a standardised process with measurable quality data. It draws on Simultaneous Engineering principles, meaning that rather than tasks being traditionally carried out in sequence by separate teams, they can be carried out simultaneously by cross-functional teams. So when results from a phase become available, they can be inputted into the activity of the next phase rather than waiting for the phase to complete. By looking at and adapting the APQP, the Construction Innovation Hub can successfully apply CQP to construction products being manufactured and delivered at scale. And as well as supporting a shift from defect-checking to defect-prevention, this will give new construction programmes a clear and consistent route to market.

Digital Innovation

To support the successful application of CQP and smooth data transfer between the five phases of the programme, the Construction Innovation Hub is developing an interactive platform that can monitor quality at product level and project level.

Whole life innovation

CQP is a methodology for making sure quality is factored into the entire product development cycle, from concept design through to the full-scale implementation of a manufacturing strategy. In this way, CQP builds whole-life value into manufactured buildings, from the smallest of components to the way the building system is assembled. This includes Product Design Requirements such as safety, quality, service life, reliability, durability, maintainability and servicing, whole-life costs, environmental outcomes, re-use and sustainability. CQP also ensures products conform to the fit, form, and function needed by the industry and uphold the quality standards that construction will require in order to get complex parts through productionised supply chains.

Collaborators

The summer 2020 consultation on CQP showed strong industry support for a transformed approach to quality planning - 84% of respondents were from the construction sector, with 7% coming from central Government, 6% from other public bodies and 3% from academia and research. The consultation validated that the CQP framework aligns with other quality initiatives including: RIBA Building in Quality initiative and Tracker, CIOB Code for Quality Management, and the Get It Right Initiative (GIRI). There were multiple expressions of interests by different organisations to participate in pilot case studies. The Construction Innovation Hub is already working with the Active Roof supply chain to trial the Construction Quality Planning approach.

  • Active Roof
  • CIOB
  • Construction Innovation Hub
  • Get It Right Initiative (GIRI)
  • RIBA

Lead support

Without the Transforming Construction Challenge there would be no Construction Quality Planning tool. The TCC programme provided the Construction Innovation Hub’s Assurance team with the funding and resources needed to develop a scheme and toolset to demonstrate the safety, quality and industry-fit of products created by a manufacturing-led approach.

Long Term Vision

End users want peace of mind that the building they get is of high quality and will perform as it was designed to do. To move the industry away from a culture of defect checking and fixing, and towards a principle of right first time, the Construction Innovation Hub has created CQP, It is a robust, systemised process of quality assurance that, when followed, will improved safety and compliance within the construction industry. It will act like a golden thread of quality through the build, and it will be possible to know that every component is traceable, has been manufactured accurately, and assembled correctly. Incorporating CQP from the start will mitigate defects, improve productivity and create better quality buildings for the end users.

Human Stories

Defect checking and fixing is a frustration process for construction teams and for the end user. Handover of new buildings should come with the peace of mind that everything has been selected and assembled as designed and the building system will work as expected. CQP can remove those frustrations by instilling a mindset of right first time through defect-prevention. To enable the easy adoption of CQP by design and site teams, the Construction Innovation Hub is developing an interactive platform that can monitor quality at product level and project level. New skills and competencies will also be required in the sector to implementation of CQP, and this could create new job opportunities.

Powerful Processes

The Construction Innovation Hub has learned from the Advanced Product Quality Planning (APQP) which is widely used in manufacturing - especially in the aerospace and automotive sectors where new products need to meet high safety standards. It has tailored it to the unique needs of the construction sector. The new CQP tool applies a systemised process of quality to Modern Methods of Construction to ensure quality assurance. The CQP has five phases to its framework: Planning; Product Design and Development; Process Design and Development; Product and Process Validation; Production Launch and Ongoing Monitoring and draws on Simultaneous Engineering principles. This means that tasks, traditionally carried out in sequence by separate teams, can be carried out simultaneously by cross-functional teams rather than waiting for the phase to complete. This improves productivity as

Fascinating Facts

The Construction Innovation Hub is supporting delivery of the Construction Leadership Council’s Roadmap to Recovery: An Industry Recovery Plan for the UK construction sector, so construction can return to work with enhanced quality planning processes; to increase productivity and the quality of products, systems, and assets. The Summer 2020 consultation on CQP confirmed that it aligns with other quality initiatives including: RIBA Building in Quality initiative and Tracker, CIOB Code for Quality Management, and the Get It Right Initiative (GIRI). There were multiple expressions of interests by different organisations to participate in pilot case studies. The Construction Innovation Hub is already working with the Active Roof supply chain to trial the Construction Quality Planning approach.

Benefits

Assurance
The Construction Quality Planning approach has received strong industry support from the summer 2020 consultation, confirming that it is a robust and systematic approach for ensuring manufacturing-led construction programmes are delivered with accuracy, quality and safety from the start. It replaces wasteful defect-checking with a proactive, defect-prevention-led approach.

Safety
CQP ensures that new building components, assemblies and assets, developed using a manufacturing-led approach, are high-performing and compliant with all the required regulations. Product Design Requirements such as safety, quality, reliability, durability, maintainability and servicing are factored into the entire product development cycle; from concept design through to the full-scale implementation of a manufacturing strategy. A defect-prevention-led approach based on robust, systematic procedures, will create a rigorous culture of safety and compliance within the construction industry.

Uptake
Following the summer 2020 consultation on CQP, the Construction Innovation Hub received multiple expressions of interests from different organisations looking to participate in pilot case studies. These included government departments looking to embed CQP in its procurement processes.

Whole-life Value
CQP builds whole-life value into manufactured buildings from the start. It does this by incorporating Product Design Requirements such as safety, quality, service life, reliability, durability, maintainability and servicing, whole-life costs, environmental outcomes, sustainability and re-use into the entire product development cycle. Its ambition is to deliver builds with little or no defects, improved productivity, and that are ultimately better quality for the end users.