External Wall – Advice Note 3
From design to delivery
Continuing our series of best practice advice notes looking at external wall inspection, our third guidance note looks at the key elements of the project’s delivery…
A critical element of any project is the design review – the process for checking your approach and ensuring that all the correct sign-offs and verifications have been obtained and recorded.
This needs to happen right at the start of the project, as part of the procurement process, and should be an integral part of all the design team meetings.
Usually, we find clients want us to chair these sessions, so they know that due process is being followed, while leaving them free to concentrate on their own areas of expertise.
What this means in practice is that as the chair, we co-ordinate and agree the sign-off process with the team, making sure that the right expertise is represented around the table. It also means that specialisms like fire engineering, building control, specialist subcontractors and consultants are all covered – and that all have appropriated insurances in place. Furthermore, as the chair we would see that the lead designer has reviewed all these critical areas.
Meeting Building Safety Fund Criteria
Ensuring that all the correct contract management, administrative requirements and site visit timetables and records are all in place are an important part of complying with the strict rules and guidelines that are laid down by the Building Safety Fund (BSF).
The BSF has set high standards for all project information, including full cost data so it can verify that projects are fully compliant with funding criteria. This means they can clearly track what has been spent and verify any additional expenditure.
At John Rowan and Partners, we’ve developed an easy-to-use template and reporting pro forma that encapsulates this guidance. It helps our clients to capture all the right information in the right way, and in a timely fashion. All too often this element of ‘paperwork’ gets overlooked or left until the last minute!
Of course, you would expect this kind of attention to detail when it comes to administration for any construction project, but there are a few extra specifics that are added to the mix when it comes to external walls.
That’s why a good Quality Assurance (QA) record is critical – and we expect to see this requirement mandated as part of the Building Safety Case when the government finally agrees on and introduces its Building Safety Act.
Consistent Quality Assurance
The challenge here is that generally, every contractor has their own QA pro formas, which in our experience frequently differ. To help bring consistency to the QA process, we’ve developed a template for everyone to use, covering all the different areas, setting out the required standards, and laying down the expectations.
This covers everything from which stages will require photographic evidence and the details of the products that are being installed, through to details of the companies that have manufactured the equipment and the contractors that have installed it. Information from site inspections is also included.
The Golden Thread
This approach enables all the required QA information to be brought together in a virtual data room – a single place where everything can be viewed, checked, interrogated and verified. This supports the ‘Golden Thread of Information’ that is often talked about and provides all interested parties with the information and reassurances they need that all due process has – and is – being followed.
A comprehensive and thorough QA process that is adhered to throughout a project will make things much more straightforward when it comes to handover. It means that all documentation, from the health and safety file and operations and maintenance manual through to Regulation 38 information, will all be detailed, up-to-date and complete.
By starting to complete the template right from the project start, you’re much less likely to encounter last-minute delays or the need to scrabble around for missing information when it comes to the final handover.
If you have any questions about your building safety projects or would like to find out more information, please get in touch with either Gurpal Virdee or Calum Pearse.
Calum Pearse: firstname.lastname@example.org
Gurpal Virdee: email@example.com