In 2018 the Swedish National Board of Housing, Building, and Planning released a report on errors, deficiencies, and damage in the construction sector. This report was the result of a commission by the government in which the Board was to map construction damage in new construction or renovation of buildings. It was found that these damages correspond to costs up to SEK 111 billion.
The purpose of the commission was to provide a picture of the occurrence of building damage and the property and socio-economic consequences these damages cause. In this investigation systematic construction defects and significant quality deficiencies was also included. One reason to why these mistakes and errors tend to occur is a lack of motivation and commitment. This is an important reason why the problems arise, the National Board of Housing, Building and Planning affirmed in dialogue with the construction industry.
This summer the National Board of Housing, Building, and Planning started an initiative to create more motivation within the industry. All actors in the construction process must take responsibility for how we build. A value-based leadership is believed to be the key to a good project culture where employees are motivated and committed. This way it could be possible to reduce the incidence of errors, deficiencies, and injuries. As a part of this initiative the National Board has released a set of tools and guidelines in order to help the industry create a better working environment. While this ambition is good and honorable, we at believe that even more can be done.
We are strong believers in that a good project culture, where employees feel motivated, is good thing. Especially by focusing on the construction process from a larger perspective, making sure to keep end users in mind, can leave a real impression. But to really minimize damages and errors, our industry needs to do more.
First and foremost, the industry must realize that changes must be made. Then be brave enough to make these changes. One example of how the building- and construction industry hasn’t evolved is the lagging digital maturity. More ambitious digital strategies have to be established, both on national level as well as corporate levels.
Organizations will not only have to invest in digital tools but invest time in learning the optimized workflow, which leaves decision makers in doubt as they fear they will not have any return on the investment soon anough. In a matter of fact, the opposite is true. Making smart, well thought through investments does not only save costs by reducing errors in the process, but it also opens up for new business opportunities.
BIM, Building Information Management, is an important step in the journey towards an evolved industry. By having all technical disciplines interacting within the same source of truth will allow for less misunderstandings and minimize sources of errors. Investing in new, interesting tools and workflows may also help with employee motivation as it open up opportunities for further training and personal growth.
So our message is this: do you best in creating a nice and welcoming project culture. But go further! Look into all aspects of your work and workplace and be honest about where things can be improved. Then do make these improvements.