A guide to improving value by reducing design error

7 Nov 2018

The Get it Right Initiative is an organisation with a mission to tackle avoidable error in the construction industry. The initiative’s single aim is to significantly reduce error and its associated consequences, and its members are united to build a better UK Construction Industry.

Early work focused on research into identifying the types of errors, their causes, and their costs, so that effective methods could be developed to avoid errors and minimise their consequences. The research included workshops, structured interviews and collection of quantitative data. The research summary and reports can be found at

A key outcome of this research was that a large proportion of errors in construction, costing the UK Industry billions of pounds a year, are rooted in deficiencies in design: designs that are uncoordinated, incomplete, miscommunicated, unintelligible, late, or just plain wrong. It was clear that a key priority was to address the causes of these deficiencies.

So it was with this in mind that members of the Get It Right Initiative, from across all disciplines, have collaborated to create this Design Guide: a set of twelve principal recommendations to improve value by reducing error, that can be applied to any project, particularly at its commencement and during early design stages. This is the product of their work, and a development of the brief synopsis which was published in July 2018.

The purpose of this guide is to share knowledge across the Industry as to best practice when approaching projects, with an aim to reduce error and increase productivity. It does not purport to be a ground-breaking report. It is a useful review and reminder of the key techniques that can be applied. The challenge is to apply these techniques in a consistent manner and to ensure that every project seeks to carry out these recommendations as a matter of routine. It will take determination and leadership to address them all.

The guide does not suggest preferred forms of procurement or contract to implement the recommendations, as experience has shown that with the right leadership, best practice can be delivered regardless of contract.

A theme that features throughout these recommendations is to stand back, analyse the situation and develop a consistent plan, and once that plan is in place make sure it is adhered to, or allowed to ex as situations change.

The themes highlighted in this guide apply to Clients, Designers, Contractors and Sub-contractors at all stages of the design process from conception to specialist detailed designs. We hope that you will find the approaches that we suggest to be useful tools in reducing error in the design process.

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