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    FORMER HSE BOSS CONDEMNS VALUE ENGINEERING

    Resident and public safety must match workforce safety progress

    Dame Judith Hackitt, author of Building a Safer Future: Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety has spoken about the need for a joined-up regulatory process that goes hand in hand with a tougher regulatory regime that has real penalties and sanctions for those that do not conform.

    Addressing the Chartered Association of Building Engineering (CABE) Annual Conference and Exhibition Dame Judith spoke openly about why it has taken a tragedy to wake everyone up to the need for a change in construction industry culture. She commented

    “People are looking for quick fixes but they need to understand that root and branch reform is required. This has to be a turning point to bring about the culture change we need.”

    Construction worker safety has led the way

    She referred to a time when construction health and safety was seen as a difficult problem to crack – but noted we have succeeded.

    Over the past 15 years, health and safety has taken huge strides and the high levels of fatalities are gone and now there are much improved standards that are industry wide and adhered to by everyone.

    The industry now needs to do the same again in the delivery of buildings that are fit for purpose.

    Drive out value engineering

    Continuing, she also drew conclusions about how safety can help to drive a wider industry change in terms of how we design, build and the legacy we leave behind.

    “Currently construction safety is focused on the workforce but we need to also consider residents and the public. We need to think about buildings not as jigsaw puzzles that magically come together, they need to be treated as a complex system – a change in one small thing can have massive changes and impact integrity of the buildings.”

    Part of this change will be in driving out value engineering – a phrase that Dame Judith claims she would be:

    “happy to never hear again. It is anything but value, it is cutting costs and quality.”

     

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