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Timber structures Timber frame

Defect-free homes Critical changes that would improve quality assurance processes on site include: • Greater emphasis and training for on-site inspection

methods, particularly for those managing construction projects (recommendation 7).

• More use of clerks of works to provide impartiality and

a quality safety net; more funding to train people for this profession (recommendation 8).

‘Pervasive reports of building failures in both new build and refurbishment and maintenance of existing stock are undermining consumer confidence. In an era when large housing associations and councils Timber roof being lifted into place will be embarking on major housing construction projects ... it is essential the housing construction sector addresses and resolves the issue of quality.’

• Greater use of technology to document construction quality,

Commenting on the report, Nigel Ostime, Project Delivery Director at Hawkins/Brown, said improvements in quality and productivity can be significantly enhanced with off-site manufacture, including the use of timber frame and CLT.

• Clients making the development of skills, such as the training

‘The report sets out 14 recommendations running through the whole project process. A key message is the need for procurement reform, without which it will be difficult to effect change, and in particular the need to design for manufacture and assembly rather than traditional construction. It also highlights the benefits of modern methods of construction and greater use of off-site to improve both quality and productivity. This includes timber frame and cross-laminated timber, which also have benefits in reducing carbon.’ n

such as the use of tablets and software on site; BIM and imaging and sensors to provide evidence that work has been completed to standard (recommendation 9).

of apprentices, part of the selection criteria to help plug the skills gap (recommendation 10).

• Greater clarity about project team roles including the role of clerk of the works to maintain the golden thread of project quality (recommendation 11).

• Greater use of pilots or benchmark samples/mock-ups to assess quality of workmanship when choosing suppliers (recommendation 12).

Longer-term recommendations The report calls for tighter controls on the competencies of the workforce to raise quality. This includes mandatory licensing of people working in life-critical trades, such as passive fire protection and structural systems, and over time, the widening of this requirement to other construction trades. Key to a better inspection regime would be the introduction of ‘hold points’ in the construction process, whereby critical stages would be checked and verified by independent quality inspectors before further work can proceed. This could be tied to the payment process for the main contractor and sub-contractor. ‘The tragic events that unfolded at Grenfell Tower have brought failings across construction into even sharper focus,’ says the introduction to the Housing Forum report. ‘What has become clear is an urgent need to change culture and processes. Grenfell will be the catalyst for changes that many in the sector would say are long overdue. But alongside the regulatory reforms that must ensue, how can we bring about a muchneeded culture change so that all homes get built the way they are designed, to the highest quality standards?

Further information • ‘Stopping Building Failures’ the full report, is available to view at:

• One of the lessons apparent from the report is the need

for quality checks throughout the construction process. This can be done by an in-house team or by using external experts, and in the case of timber frame, by BM TRADA's frameCHECK service. To find out more, go to www.bmtrada. com/consultancy-services/timber-frame-consultancy

Further reading Site check: The timber frame pocket guide, ISBN 978-1-909594-65-4, Exova BM TRADA, 2018 Hairstans, R., Off-site and modern methods of timber construction: a sustainable approach, ISBN 978-1900510-738, TRADA Technology, 2010 (A new edition is in progress for publication in 2019) Timber 2019 Industry Yearbook

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Profile for BM TRADA

Timber 2019 Industry Yearbook  

The annual publication of the Timber Research and Development Association (TRADA) includes topical and technical features on all aspects of...

Timber 2019 Industry Yearbook  

The annual publication of the Timber Research and Development Association (TRADA) includes topical and technical features on all aspects of...

Profile for trada