Digital transparency in the construction industry post-Grenfell

Digital transparency in the construction industry post-Grenfell

The Grenfell Tower disaster was a tragedy that shook the nation – not to mention a wake-up call for the construction industry. As is now well known, it was the flammable nature of the building’s cladding that led to an inferno that killed 72 people. The contribution of negligent or irresponsible practices in material procurement certainly cost lives and the industry needed to seriously consider reform.

Now, the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) has published a new guide to try and make positive steps. The backbone of this plan is digitisation. Digital transparency is key to supporting a safer and more sustainable construction industry. This new guide sets out an efficient process to implement digitisation for manufacturers and contractors alike, enabling them to identify when supplying key data is important. In turn, this will allow them to avoid making poor investments, set priorities and manage information properly.

Cultivating a sense of responsibility

This information is key to enabling transparency throughout the supply chain. In a post-Grenfell environment, it will give contractors better visibility for procurement and materials selection. Meanwhile, the guidelines facilitate manufacturers to implement digitisation internally. It will also help them gain a better understanding of the concept of digitisation and how it can add value to their operation.

However, it’s not just about facilitation; it’s also about applying pressure. With these resources, we can instil a sense of responsibility in the building materials industry. As Rick Martwif, IET Built Environment Lead, commented: “Manufacturers produce a significant part of the information required for a safer construction industry, but currently, this information isn’t structured or shared in a consistent way.” With this guide, manufacturers have the tools for standardisation.

Benefits for manufacturers

However, the objective isn’t just to take the construction industry to task; it’s also to help them thrive in a new regulatory landscape. With this publication from the IET, they can meet the challenges of a digital future and be prepared for what new legislation holds. In further comments, Rick added:

“This new plain language guide will help the industry embrace digitisation. It is only through this digital transparency that industry and society can differentiate between compliant and non-compliant manufacturers. Making structured information available to the supply chain is an essential step in this process.”

The guide also presents the possibility for significant commercial advantages, including a smoother sales pipeline and a better brand image. In turn, this greater efficiency and subsequent improved image could lead to increased revenue and margins. After all, time is money, and with greater visibility, we can streamline processes while making construction safer.

The industry is on board

DJHC consulting is certainly encouraged by seeing positive steps towards greater transparency in the construction industry. The wider industry agrees; according to various sources, they believe that this plain English guide will help manufacturers and contractors alike navigate what was previously a minefield of regulations, information and systems. Ultimately, it will help us work better together – and build better homes, workplaces, and community spaces for all.



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