Free digital tool aims to provide a ‘constant reminder of quality targets’

Architects have welcomed the launch of a free app from the RIBA and other industry bodies that will help them keep track of what the Hackitt Review called the “golden thread” of safety.

The Quality Tracker app will allow architects and other stakeholders in a building project see for themselves if quality targets have been met.

Launched by RIBA, RICS and the CIOB, the tracker is a free-to-download digital tool designed to improve the quality of ongoing work and finished buildings in the construction industry.

Designed to be a “constant reminder of quality targets” – and being trialled for six months from today – the tracker sets up what the three organisations call a “formal ‘chain of custody for quality’ aligned to the RIBA Plan of Work”.

The app aims to help all prospective and current members of a given project team a better understanding of their risks, they said.

Nigel Ostime

Nigel Ostime of Hawkins Brown

Once a scheme has been completed and signed off the tracker gives purchasers, tenants, investors and asset managers a simple account of the quality targets for the building they are buying into and its development history.

Hawkins Brown director Nigel Ostime, chair of the RIBA client liaison group, said: “Following the Grenfell Tower fire, the Hackitt Review, and the findings of the Edinburgh Schools Inquiry, there is a clear appetite for improving quality.

“We hope this toolkit will be a catalyst for that change. The tracker will provide a core component of what Dame Judith Hackitt called a ‘golden thread’ that has been missing to date, and we are convinced that projects that implement the process it sets out from inception to completion will see a step-change in the results achieved.”

RIBA president Ben Derbyshire said the cross-industry initiative would enable clients and construction industry professionals alike to achieve better long-term building quality.

“The industry needs a shared definition and method of measuring quality, and better ways to account for risk and uncertainty and this tool is an excellent response to those issues.

“I urge all industry professionals to pilot and help to shape its development.”

Architect Henning Stummel welcomed the move saying said: “I will be very happy to test the Quality Tracker. A sensible and timely initiative from the RIBA.”

And Andy Heath, partner at the BPTW Partnership, said: “An initiative that seeks to define and enshrine quality at the outset of a project should be positively received across the industry. 

”While this initiative appears quite rightly targeted at responding to the quality issues being debated in relation to recent building tragedies, it should also help underpin some of the more aesthetic quality aspects that can become lost in the procurement process.  

“We look forward to seeing the detail and understanding how this might work in practice.”

Details of the pilot can be found here.