Taking the initiative

The Get It Right Initiative is a group of UK construction industry experts, organisations and businesses. They are working to actively improve productivity, quality, sustainability and safety in the construction sector, by striving to eliminate error. Its research is summarised in the initiative’s ‘Strategy for Change’ report, which sets out how it is addressing the elimination of error.

GIRI is a not-for-profit membership organisation, which has adopted a multi-disciplinary approach. Its members include clients, consultants, contractors, regulators, educators, professional institutions and trade bodies, who are working together across the construction sector, to raise awareness of the challenges of errors occurring in construction projects. The initiative works with its members to create a culture and working environment to get it right from the start. It encourages a change in attitudes and harnesses leadership responsibilities, to reduce error and improve construction quality, productivity and safety. It also aims to engage all stakeholders in eliminating error throughout the construction process. The initiative also shares knowledge about error reduction processes and systems, to improve skills across the sector, creating a positive approach to pre-empting error. Training courses and consultancy are also offered, in the hope that the initiative will instinctively change the way people think about accuracy and professionalism.  

Laying the groundwork

GIRI cites 26 areas of construction work where most errors occur and one is directly related to survey engineering. This involves setting out, which is one of the most crucial aspects of any building project. The plotting of the plan and design on the actual landscape, and the position and dimensions of the project lays the groundwork for everything that follows. The margins for error are minute, as any mistakes can be exacerbated as the project progresses. As the GIRI report cites, ‘Errors in setting out were reported to be low frequency but high cost’. But there are also nine associated areas where geospatial errors could have an associated impact too. These could be ‘contributed’ by inexperienced geospatial surveyors or by the contractors performing poor geospatial processes themselves, i.e. not employing a professional firm to carry out the work. These include drainage (drainage depths and/or drainage incorrectly positioned), piling (incorrect positioning), and tunnelling (incorrect plotting could result in separately plotted tunnels not meeting in the middle).

Minimise the margin

Late or no surveys and site investigation are also key contributors to ‘getting it wrong’. During the construction phase, damage could be done to underground live services, if no accurate underground utilities detection has been carried out. Also, if no GPR survey has been carried out, contractors won’t know utilities services’ exact position for underground services connections. The fact that several of the examples cited being affected by ‘contractors performing poor geospatial processes themselves and not using geospatial experts’ highlights an area of concern. Also in many cases, site surveys are late because not enough time has been planned in for their completion which puts pressure on the project and could easily result in poor, non- quality-controlled drawings being submitted to hit an impossible deadline.

The best way you can minimise or eradicate the margin for error is by ensuring you are working with experienced professionals who have the right levels of training and knowledge. Survey companies that are members of a variety of professional bodies, such as The Survey Association and The Chartered Institute of Civil Engineering Surveyors, will ensure both a high level of geospatial knowledge, but also a high degree of qualification and experience. At Powers we make sure that all our professionals are trained to the highest and latest standards, to ensure that ‘getting it right first time’ is always the outcome.

There’s more information on the Get It Right Initiative here: https://getitright.uk.com

If you would like to get in touch with one of geospatial team to discuss how we can work with you on a future project, then contact us today.