Event report: The Hub launches milestone quality assurance framework

On 10 August, the Construction Innovation Hub (‘the Hub’) unveiled its latest milestone project at a masterclass event at BRE in Watford.

Construction Product Quality Planning (CPQP) is a quality assurance framework for the construction industry aimed at setting out a best practice approach for manufacturers to follow during the creation of new platform systems and offsite manufactured construction products.

‘A pivotal moment for industry’

The event featured a keynote from Dame Judith Hackitt (pictured), who described the framework as a “very positive response to the new regulatory requirements for quality assurance.”

Her report after the Grenfell tragedy highlighted the need for a major overhaul of both the processes which assure the quality of construction products and the testing regime that underpins the industry.

“When I started my review, the lack of innovation and digitization in the construction sector came as a surprise and a disappointment to me,” she said. “My own background in engineering and manufacturing led me to question how a whole industry sector could appear to have missed out on so much change. Change that had driven increased productivity, better product quality and increased consumer confidence in so many other sectors.

“The Building Safety Act puts us at a pivotal moment for the industry, where poor and outdated practices in these areas need to be left behind and new approaches and attitudes must come to the fore.

“I’ve often heard it argued during that time that regulation actually stifles innovation. But my experience says that this is not the case at all. Good regulation drives the right behaviours and actually encourages innovation and I want to congratulate the Hub on the development of CPQP; an example of how regulation is driving the right behaviours and encouraging innovation.

“Poor and outdated practices need to be left behind and new approaches and attitudes must come to the fore”

Dame Judith Hackitt

“What we are seeing launched today will help bring new and innovative projects to the market and ensure that risks are identified and mitigated at every phase and products are aligned with the new regulatory requirements of the Building Safety Act which cover change control, product validation and testing and the provision of the golden thread of information.”

Tools are available for businesses

CPQP aims to drive improved quality and safety standards for new construction products by setting out a five-phase process, ranging from product definition to product launch. It also includes the creation of a live control document, which provides a digital audit trail.

CPQP is an adaptation of Advanced Product Quality Planning (APQP), which is employed throughout the manufacturing sector on a global scale to effectively ‘build in’ quality when developing new products. APQP ensures that quality is factored into the entire product development cycle, from concept design through to the full-scale implementation of a manufacturing strategy.

The aim of CPQP is to mitigate risk at an early stage, helping manufacturers to comply with regulations and reducing the potential for product failures and warranty issues and helping to reduce issues arising during the build process when the cost is higher.

At launch, a set of guideline documents is being made available including the CPQP Guide, the Construction Product Approval Process (CPAP) Handbook and nine supporting guidelines to follow which help complete crucial aspects of the quality assurance process. This includes guides to undertaking Design and a Process Failure Mode and Effect Analysis (DFMEA and PFMEA) and how to create a Risk Control Plan.    

Aligned with industry standards

At the event, the Hub’s impact director, Gill Kelleher stressed the significance of regulatory changes and urgency for organisations to act now. CPQP could help businesses address the issues raised by Dame Judith, whilst supporting businesses preparing for new regulatory changes and standards being introduced.

“We have mapped our processes against the requirements of the Building Safety Act and ensured that the framework is aligned with the newly introduced BS99001 Quality Management Standard for Construction standard. This means that manufacturers who adopt the framework can be confident that they are working in line with the latest guidance and regulations within construction,” said Kelleher.

The live control document and documentation completed as part of the CPQP framework process will help teams form a Building Safety Case for a building – which is now required before designs are approved. CPQP will also help define roles and accountable persons, whilst providing a means to accurately manage product data.

“CPQP provides tools that help ensure quality and consistency across all of UK construction manufacturing”

The Hub’s impact director, Gill Kelleher.

This is a further benefit according to Quality Assurance Team Lead, Dr Krish Parmar, a key figure in the development of the framework – who spoke in the panel session covering Building Safety Case requirements later in the day. He was keen to emphasise that one of the core pieces of guidance in the CPQP framework surrounds the formation of appropriately skilled multi-disciplinary teams at the beginning of projects.

 “This allows a broader set of views and skills to contribute to the success of the product development process and also helps drive cultural change across the business,” he said. “The implementation of this approach in our industry trials was also successful in managing in-group biases and efficiently capturing all the data we required such as potential failure modes and gaps in existing quality assurance processes.”

Kelleher also detailed a Digital Quality Assurance Tool (DQAT) which is being piloted within the CPQP framework. DQAT is a user-friendly online tool that monitors, tracks and measures progress against the CPQP process for a specific product.

DQAT supports digital transformation with the potential for businesses to generate records for inclusion within a Building Safety Case and the golden thread for high-risk buildings required through the Building Safety Act. For example, linking the activity/deliverable with the responsible person, offering a digital communication platform between the client representative, the approval coordinator and product design teams.

A stark choice for businesses

Looking beyond the implementation of the Building Safety Act and the CPQP framework, Dame Judith set out a stark choice facing construction businesses:

“Do you want to be the leader who changes proactively and secures market advantage because of your responsible approach, or are you in the group who are going to wait to be told and held to account by new and much tougher regulators?”

With the level of waste typically anticipated on most significant construction products currently running in the order of 15%, she also pointed out that those who adopted principles such as those set out in the CQPQ framework had a big prize to aim for: significantly reduced costs, improved efficiency and competitive advantage.

For Kelleher, working on embedding CPQP’s core principles into businesses is the key next step for the project. To support this, the final version of the Hub’s Platform Rulebook will include signposts to relevant CPQP documents.

Developed with the Hub’s industry partners, the Rulebook addresses the Government’s ambitions – set out in the Construction Playbook and TIP Roadmap – to accelerate the development and adoption of solutions to deliver our future schools, hospitals and homes – boosting productivity, innovation and quality.

The Hub team is looking to work with businesses to help them implement the framework. Considerable success has already been had with ilke Homes and Project Etopia, and with other Platform Programme partners who took part in the development of the framework.

Keith Waller, programme director at the Construction Innovation Hub, concluded: “CPQP provides tools that will enable the accelerated adoption of platform approaches by helping to ensure quality and consistency across all of UK construction manufacturing.

“When applied in conjunction with the Product Platform Rulebook and Value Toolkit, the CPQP framework will improve the overall safety, performance, and quality of new construction products by identifying risks as early as possible in the design and development process, when the cost of change is lower.”


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