Etex Expert Series

Welcome to the Etex Experts Series – a collection of new research, insights and commentary we have gathered from industry professionals, including members of the Etex Building Performance team.

This Series came about as a result of the construction sector having been subject to significant change over the past 18 months. We wanted to find out how the industry is faring as we come out of the other side of the pandemic.

The first event in this series happened on Wednesday 14th July 2021, when we hosted a virtual roundtable with a panel of industry experts to discuss some of the challenges currently facing the construction sector, including productivity, risk mitigation and digital innovation.

These insights combined with our own research of 250 decision-makers in the sector have been formed into a series of mini reports, which we hope will spur further conversations around collaboration, innovation and the future of our industry. Second up: Risk Mitigation.

 

Theme #2: Risk Mitigation 


Key findings:

1. Focusing on training and skills development…

is crucial to mitigate risk and increase quality at build stage. The same product installed by two different people could lead to a very different end result, depending on how skilled with that particular product those installing it are. So, manufacturers have a responsibility to upskill those that will be fitting the products to ensure a consistent level of quality across the board.

2. Collaboration…

is crucial from the outset of a project in order to identify risks early and, as a result, not be faced with more costly issues down the line. This collaborationshould remain a core focus throughout the entire project lifecycle, with all parties working together to identify risks and then quickly taking action before they snowball.

3. Regardless of their role…

everyone operating in the construction sector is worried about risk implications to some extent – with many admitting they worry about them regularly. While the Government has made efforts over the past few years to introduce more initiatives and regulations to mitigate risk, there is an overwhelming sentiment that policy makers could, and should, be doing more. That being said, everyone in the supply chain has a part to play here; this isn’t just the job of one person, group or party – it’s a collective responsibility that we all hold.

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The expert view:

Mathew Baxter, Founder of echelon Consultancy, said:
It all goes back to the point we have been making throughout this discussion, it really is about collaboration and openness. As we are all aware, issues with certain products and elements of the construction process arise week on week. It’s important that we all work very closely with contractors and clients to recognise any problems quickly and say, “right, what can we do?” and do it.

When asked about the burden of risk, three roles felt that it was weighted more heavily on their profession than on others:

72% of project managers

66% of contractors

54% of architects

Download the full report

Theme #1: Productivity


Key findings:

1. Collaboration…

is key – in particular early engagement, where possible – to ensure all teams are aligned and everyone knows what’sachievable. Other successful models across Europe should be looked at for inspiration.

2. Post-pandemic is an opportunity…

to do things differently across all systems and processes. Whether that’s a shift to more digital models and ways of working, or properly assessing how supply chain or collaborations are currently operating and then working together to make things more efficient.

3. Despite having huge potential, MMC and offsite…

need further Government profile, support and drive in order to really make a difference. Many organisations also need to see proof of concept in order to invest. The industry must keep pushing and educating on this front.

4. Upcoming new legislations…

(such as the Future Homes Standard) that include increased focus on record keeping will make the requirement for the uptake of technologies such as BIM even more necessary in order to stay compliant.

5.Upskilling is key…

to solving the skills shortage. Construction firms should be prioritising this, as well as attracting early talent, by continuing to focus on CPD and training for those that need to catch up with propelled changes as a result of the pandemic (i.e. digital skills).

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Tailoring our approach
Our research enables us to understand and respond to the sector’s feedback on productivity. Two areas we have paid particular attention to are collaboration and training.

Collaboration:

Collaboration

We are investing heavily into digital tools to help us collaborate with customers and the rest of the supply chain. Key areas of focus are early design engagement, installation processes, centralised data and the ‘golden data thread’, products that are easy to find and compare, and communication around stock and deliveries. We act as an extension to customer’s teams, working closely together to tailor and deliver compliant products that are right for the application and work alongside budget and timelines.

Training:

Training

With the skills shortage being cited as one of the sector’s main concerns, training is a key focus of ours. We offer on-site training for installers as we understand installation quality is just as important as the quality of the product when it comes to maintaining performance. We also offer a range of online training courses. In addition, we  have a training centre in Bristol, providing drylining courses to customers, universities and most recently, Cardiff prison.

The product-approach to productivity: Our products have just as much of a role to play as our processes in helping to increase construction productivity. Below is a snapshot of three products that do just that:

Securtex

securtex

Securtex is a reinforced plasterboard for secure partition systems meeting requirements of Secured by Design and Part Q for residential and commercial buildings.

View details on our Siniat website

Weather Defence™

Weather Defence

Weather Defence™ is a revolutionary external sheathing board, enabling a faster way to weather tight a building. Strong, highly moisture resistant and A1 non combustible.

View details on our Siniat website

Resilient Acoustic Stud

Resilient Acoustic Stud

GTEC Resilient Acoustic Stud (RAS) is an innovative acoustic stud, helping achieve acoustic performances on site, reducing risk, build time and partition footprint.

View details on our Siniat website

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