Super clerk of works to ensure ‘golden thread’?

A working group led by the CIOB has recommended the creation of a potentially critical new role: the independent construction assessor (ICA), effectively an enhanced clerk of works.

The suggestion was made to the Competence Steering Group (CSG), which has published its report, Setting the Bar.

Eleven working groups fed into the report and Working Group 9, led by the CIOB, was tasked with examining and defining the competencies for site supervisors on higher-risk residential buildings above 18m.

CIOB board trustee Pete Dawber, who chaired the group, said the ICA role would facilitate adoption of the ‘golden thread’ of information, which Dame Judith Hackitt recommended should run through projects following her independent review of Building Regulations and fire safety.

The working group agreed that third-party verification was needed to drive this industry change, Dawber said.

"The ICA would identify the information required and check that project elements have been satisfactorily installed and the relevant information captured, using digital technology," he explained.

"For example, photographic or video evidence would be captured after one work element, then further evidence recorded after a follow-on trade has gone through to confirm the work is still intact and not damaged. This way, the ICA would maintain the integrity of the golden thread.

"This provides a safety net for the client, so they know that the design has been properly designed and the construction has been executed correctly, including any agreed changes."

Dawber stressed the role would not diminish the responsibility of designer, contractor or site supervisor for ensuring work meets the required standard.

"The ICA is not personally going to sign off the work; they are specifying and collating the data, and confirming they have all the necessary information," he said. "That will include sign-off certificates, offsite and onsite inspection approvals for installed materials and components, detailed records of what has been installed and by whom, and evidence of their competence."

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  1. About time ,the role of COW is necessary for the contract to be finished to a high standard and for defect records and photographs
    For far to long developers architects and clients have thought it’s not a necessary cost and VE it out, for less than one percent of contract build cost you would have a person of exceptional construction knowledge a pair of eyes on site and ensure compliance with spec drawings building codes
    A good return on money spent
    Well done CIOB

  2. Surely a peer review on the design by a 3rd party is a standard requirement anyway? I’d be astonished if this were not the case, and was just left to a single designer.

  3. Peer review on designs is one thing but there is an absolute necessity to inspect work undertaken to ensure it complies and identifies any possible errors in said design. Sadly, and a lot of it is down to the lack of training, we have become an industry where many of those undertaking the work do not understand what purpose certain elements are designed to fulfil let alone how to install them properly. This combined with the attitude on many to make as much profit as quickly as possible can only lead to the type of situation we now find the industry in.

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