You can imagine how many companies are now trying to sell their box! And what we mean by “selling their box”, is that not one individual company has the slightest interest in how all parties are to integrate together or whether there may be a conflict on site during the project. They just want to sell boxes. Has any due diligence been carried out on all of these companies? The answer is almost definitely NO.
How could they have?
What’s more, it takes around 50 years for the implementation of a new regulation in the construction industry and yet technology shifts at an average rate of just 15 months. So with this said, and the fact that the contractors need to sell their box, they are not going to check every one of their suppliers are fully compliant with the specification.
They may ASK their suppliers if they are specification compliant but what do you think their suppliers answer to that question will be? YES! Of course. Anything to sell another box.
Most of the time, the good specialists will ask the mechanical and electrical contractors to request some information from the consultants to ensure that they can meet the requirements of the project but the contractors are more often than not frightened to go back to the consultant to ask questions as they think it will make them look incompetent and they want to sell their box so they just tell the specialist to do whatever they feel, after all, “YOU’RE THE SPECIALIST”.
So how does this affect the process? Well remember the vague line in the specification that states “EQUAL AND APPROVED”? Well the contractors see this as a green light to pick the cheapest of EVERY box seller and because the prices have been screwed so low, every company involved now has no incentive other than to get in, fit their box at a marginal profit (whether it fits properly or not) and then get out and move onto the next one.
So then the project gets awarded to the “team” who fight with each other continuously throughout the project as nothing has gone to plan because boxes don’t fit properly, some boxes didn’t come with features they were expecting, some boxes even break because they realise there was not enough money in the price to use extra strong box tape and EVENTUALLY the project comes to an “end”.
Cue the consultants team who wrote the original specification to come back to site and check the standards and functionality of the installation to ensure out meets the EQUAL AND APPROVED quality. But what’s that? Does the consultant even know?
The consultant gets defensive because they realise that they are now responsible (or their public indemnity insurance is) for signing off on this project that could quite easily be nothing like what the paying client was expecting.
So what they do is defer signing off on completion for as long as possible by creating a snag list. If you have ever played monopoly, this is like a “get out of jail free card”.
They then tell the main contractor that they had only allowed for 2 visits upon completion to sign off the project within their cost and they explain that every visit after that is going to cost them an astronomical day rate.
At this point, the main contractor threatens to pass the costs down the line to the contractors who then pass down to their sub contractors and instead of concentrating on getting the snags complete and getting paid, the main contractor will tell the mechanical and electrical team that they are no longer paying the original price quoted for the works and they make “take it or leave it” deductions and the supply chain starts to break under tension.
Profit margins are strangled and the pressure is on to get snags completed.
Boxes are taped up, some boxes are decorated in pretty wrapping, some boxes that didn’t fit are sometimes thrown away in the hope that no one asks where they are.
By this point, there is no money left to pay the consultant to come back.
We have worked closely with many consultants who have been in the industry for over 30 years and they have openly told us that they have NEVER signed a project off!
So how do these projects cross the line? Well believe it or not, it ends up with some snags being completed and the client will move into the property.
During the first year to two years, the client will log complaints regarding issues they have found within the property and a retention of money is held until the issues are addressed. The problem now is that the only issues that are addressed are ones raised by the untrained eye of the client.
There is no specialist engineer involved anymore and the main contractor just wants to get off the job to get paid the retention.
But what HAS been left behind? What lurks behind the walls? What did the client pay for? How much of what they paid for got installed and how much of it lined the pockets of another golfing trip?
What lessons have been learnt? Many actually. But will it be different on the next project? NO. Because each company wants to sell the box they specialise in and nothing more.
Why is it that in the last ten years, people have educated themselves on how to book flights using their phone and manage their bank account over the internet and yet when it comes to going that extra mile to ensure the chance of longevity and sustainability of their brand stands strong, they aren’t collectively working together and embracing collaboration and innovation?
Now there will be a long investigation to try and pin the blame on someone. Was it the cladding? What is the installation of the cladding? Was it the gas valve not shutting?
The fact is its the process that’s wrong.
We were all taught in school “process over outcome”.
Get the process right and the correct outcome is inevitable.
At Gemco, we believe that by being completely transparent and educating our clients with an unbiased application solution, coupled with an incomparable high standard, we will shift the industry slowly but surely and its because our ONLY goal is to deliver what the client wants. A safe and reliable solution.
Money was created for fair exchange and if you are providing a solution that satisfies the demand of the client, then the cost will be accepted and there will be no issue.
The problem today is that no one is monitoring the fair exchange and checking what’s inside the boxes everyone is selling.
We would love to hear your thoughts on this tragedy. Please leave your comments below and engage in the discussion.
Gemco are offering a FREE safety and compliance survey to ALL residential and commercial properties. The survey comprises of a full status validation and report on the existing control system to ensure the installation meets regulations.