Independent Oversight of Public Construction Projects
Home > News > July 17 - CPN1-2017- Construction Quality
28 July 2017
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GHPC recently reviewed the Scottish Government’s Construction Policy Note “CPN 1/2017” dated 20 July 2017, which made for interesting reading. The purpose of the CPN document is to provide an update and interim guidance to contracting authority staff involved in the planning and delivery of public works contracts, following Professor John Cole’s Independent Inquiry into the construction of Edinburgh Schools in February 2017.
The key message of the CPN is that Contracting Authorities and contracting staff engaged and involved in construction, must make appropriate arrangements for the independent inspection of construction activities in the planning and delivering of public projects.
It identifies six recommendations in relation to site inspection and its role in relation to quality assurance:
1. Nature of inspection
2. Independent inspection of the works
3. Scope of service of design team members
4. Role of design teams in inspecting works on site
5. Design and use of head restraints
6. Inspection and sign-off of cavity walls
The key recommendation of the CPN is that procurers should maintain a level of independent inspection of construction activities which is “commensurate with the risk assessed in any individual project”, and that this goes beyond oversight of the contractors’ quality systems and processes, and provides some targeted independent inspection of construction activities and outputs, no matter the size of the project.
The CPN explains that regardless of the procurement strategy, whether traditional procurement routes, Design & Build Contracts or Public Private Partnerships, “it is incumbent upon public sector clients to implement project appropriate site inspection and assurance processes that mitigate resultant risk from the construction phase”, recommending the use of an independent Quality Control Inspector or Clerk of Works.
Local Authorities should therefore now maintain an appropriate level of independent oversight of all building projects to ensure that the quality of the works meet the specification and standards, whichever form of construction contract or procurement strategy is used.
In doing so, contracting staff working on behalf of public sector clients must take account of the nature (size and complexity) of each project, as well as the nature of the contract itself and should seek additional assurances as required by the project, in order to mitigate the risk of failure of the resultant structure.
Further guidance is currently being developed by the Scottish Government, however in the meantime, contracting authorities should make sure that appropriate site inspection and assurance processes are put in place.
Because quality construction is something that GHPC understands implicitly, we are already working with a number of Scottish Local Authorities, providing construction Quality Control and Clerk of Works services. We fully understand the pressures involved in procurement, development and contracting, and we are aware that there are times when controlling quality can be a challenging process when the client is not present on-site, amidst the pressure to complete on programme and within budget.
GHPC has a team of experienced Building and Services Engineering Inspectors who work to our Quality Control standard procedures for reporting, recording and monitoring of all projects. Adopting a high level of consistency ensures that we are able to replicate the same quality of service to our clients across the board, while still being able to modify our services to meet specific project requirements.
The service is designed to provide independent, on-site representation on behalf of the procuring authority or client, and involves regular visits to site to carry out inspections, verifying that the correct quality of works is being achieved against the contract documentation and design. Part of this inspection regime is maintaining accurate records of site activities, site conditions, labour, plant and progress against programme.
GHPC’s team members are either members of the Institute of Clerks of Works & Construction Inspectorate or have extensive experience in their field, or hold equivalent qualifications. The company carries £10 million Professional Indemnity Insurance as well as appropriate levels of Employers' and Public Liability Insurance.