Colin Harris is a quality assurance manager within our Regional Building North and Scotland business. Here, Colin explains how digitisation is playing a pivotal role in ensuring quality is at the heart of project delivery at Kier – and it’s plain for all to see.
“Delivering quality projects is fundamental to all that we do – we are only able to uphold our position as the leading regional builder in the country by delivering our projects well, time and time again.
Our clients trust that we will support them in delivering a first-class project, be it a school, healthcare building or other vital infrastructure and thanks to the role digitisation is playing, we can demonstrate to them exactly how quality is embedded in all parts of a building.
Digital collaboration is now an essential way of working for us and we firmly believe it spans the breadth of a project lifecycle. Working with our clients and our trusted supply chain partners, the technologies we are using allows us to constantly review, assess and monitor all aspects of our work.
The basic model for quality hasn’t changed. It’s about evidencing what we are doing on a project every step of the way, and basically ensuring we have checks and balances in place. What has evolved is the blend of in-person inspections alongside the use of digital technologies and I fully support this approach which will help to drive up standards across the industry.
And this includes our supply chain. With our supply chain, we use Snagmaster, and the insights we get from that tell such a story. It means we are constantly reviewing all aspects of a build as it happens.
Across the sites I support in Scotland and the north of England, we have implemented a range of other technologies. These include Matterport, a Google maps style walk through of a project, which is frequently being used for pre and post construction and Dalux, an app-based model browser that gives access to the Building Information Model when on site through mobile devices. Technology is driving a consistent, transparent approach to quality for all to see.
What’s more, we are pushing the boundaries, always trying to keep ahead of the curve, with regards to the products we're using on our sites. For example, we use Holobuilder on all sites, whereby we capture 360-degree photos on site each week, – this gives the whole project team, including clients and designers, a remote view of the project and progress without having to go to site, which has provide an essential tool following the outbreak of COVID-19.
We are using all of these tools on projects across Scotland and the north of England, including Ponteland, where we are delivering a new £42m school and leisure development, the new £34m Alness Academy for hub North Scotland and The Highland Council and the £9.7m redevelopment of the Wolfson Building for University of Strathclyde.
Using a range of techniques, we can demonstrate progress on site and evidence that the quality of work remains of the highest standard. This approach is helping us be more consistent across our business, speeding up many of our processes.
This digital toolkit also provides information and evidence to the client upon completion of a project, which is an important – but often lacking aspect – of older buildings. It means informed choices can be made on any potential future works.
Digital technology combined with regular site visits is the ideal – they should work hand-in-hand to ensure quality and all standards are being adhered to. It’s about having a suite of tools that drives up consistency, accuracy and efficiencies for all.
This past year has shown that our industry can and has been agile to respond to new technologies and I fully expect over the next decade we will see big changes in how we deliver projects, with the use of robotics, drones and more.
I have worked in the construction industry for the past 20 years and I am more excited than ever by how it is evolving.
Specifically, how quality is a key driver for us all, which has been made clear by the Government’s plans to ‘build back better’. We are well-placed to support this ambition and sustainably deliver vital infrastructure across the UK – and what’s more, through our collaborative working approach and the technology we have in place, the quality of our projects is plain for all to see.”