The housing sector is calling for quality measures to be embedded into contracts to ensure the industry improves standards.
At The Housing Forum‘s Quality Counts conference, architects, contractors, suppliers and sub-contractors identified procurement as the stage in the housebuilding process that will have the most impact on quality.
Their suggestions included building in quality measures and check points within each stage, being specific on standards that must be adhered too and stating the minimum quality expectations, all within the initial contract.
They also called for roles within design and procurement to engage with parties involved in the build and occupancy stage much earlier in the development to give a more realistic indicator of time scale and cost.
Stephen Teagle, Chair of The Housing Forum, said: “I tend to break down the approach to quality in to four areas: design; procurement; build and customer experience. We have tools and solutions for design, build and customer experience, but all attendees touched on the issues experienced during the procurement stage.
“Often the industry is racing to deliver on time which can result in a failure to consult the supply chain effectively. We need to look at the relationship between the different parties involved at all stages to help address the fragmentation of the industry.”
The use of technology was another key theme to emerge from the Quality Counts event. As well as embracing newer technologies and processes linked to Modern Methods of Construction (MMC), groups discussed how existing technologies such as smart phones could be utilised to help streamline and accurately record data for quality assurance purposes.
As part of its commitment to quality, The Housing Forum has also released its new A Quality Home for All manifesto. The manifesto calls for a far higher number of affordable homes to be built, properly funded local authority planning services, and the appointment of a Secretary of State for Housing.
It has also written to all main party candidates standing in the General Election in England, urging them to place quality house building at the heart of their political agenda.
To download the manifesto, visit The Housing Forum website: www.housingforum.org.uk