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RIAS welcome public inquiry into hospital failings

September 25 2019

RIAS welcome public inquiry into hospital failings

The RIAS has welcomed a decision by the Scottish Government to launch a public inquiry into failings at both the Royal Hospital for Children and Young People in Edinburgh and the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow.

Health secretary Jeanne Freeman announced the inquiry last week citing the ‘safety and well-being’ of patients and to avoid a repeat in future NHS builds.

RIAS president Robin Webster OBE commented: “The removal of a co-ordinating overseer with professional independence; a broad and comprehensive understanding of the building design and the procurement process; with the time to apply that understanding and vitally, the executive authority to influence it, has inevitably allowed many gaps in the procurement process to open up; such that responsibilities are clouded, and appropriate resolution of issues fails to occur.”

The RIAS is continuing to participate in discussions around construction failures in schools having earlier called for urgent safety checks on all public buildings built post-2000.


#1 Posted by Inahuf on 25 Sep 2019 at 12:16 PM
So what did the Technical Advisers that sat on the client side and were meant to scrutinise and advise the client both on technical standards in the brief and the contractors response to that do in all this? Take the cash and run??
#2 Posted by Astis-Boy on 25 Sep 2019 at 14:59 PM
Factors at play include:
1. Design and build contracts generally
2. Poorly executed performance specifications
3. Creation of a fairy role of "Procurement specialists" who know little of construction/design and are "buyers"...
4. EU procurement rules
5. Reduction of the importance of a Clerk of Works role within the contract/client mindset
6. Contractual risk apportionment in favour of the client
7. Erosion of professional advisor fees
8. Lack of scrutiny of design proposals.
9. Funding pressures and a client reliance on lowest price (quality is still not a public sector procurement criteria of any significance despite what the public sector say)
10. Public sector procurement teams motivated by demonstrating their "value" to an organisation by savings made. (Causing the issues above).

It's a long list of ills but it comes back to the issue of Design and Build and the PFI/PPP model generally. Things were perceived to be better when clients designed what they wanted and bought in a contractor to build it. Maybe we need to look at the procurement models first and foremost and move away from Design and Build?
#3 Posted by Inahuf on 25 Sep 2019 at 15:42 PM
@2, hindsight is obviously through rose tinted glasses. Buildings leaked, collapsed, and were badly designed under traditional procurement too. Sadly client dissatisfaction with what was produced through traditional build was one of the factors that drove the public sector towards D&B as they were told all that’d put risk and control in one place, and with the folk who had the expertise to manage it, the building industry...
#4 Posted by mick on 25 Sep 2019 at 18:55 PM
As a profession architects are primarily party to this ongoing procurement disaster. RIAS, RIBA members and all the non aligned architects consistently failed to have the conviction to challenge the nonsence of procedural procurement. You agreed to non economic fees,You agreed to delusional protocols and procedures and You persisted in wallowing in the illusional and underperforming professional bodies. The pattern repeats and how can You or others really take the RIAS mutterings seriously.

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