Construction

Following Design Sign-off, the fit-out can enter the next major project phase where construction works commence on-site.

Key objectives at this stage are to:

  • Identify a competent contractor through Project Team Selection.

  • Embed sustainability requirements as part of the agreed scope of works – both in terms of the design solutions and the methods of construction.

  • Monitor project progress and gather associated data to assures the delivery of requirements.

1. Embed Requirements within Scope of Works 

Considerate Constructors Scheme

The Considerate Constructors Scheme assesses registered sites, companies and suppliers in relation to a construction projects appearance, respect for the community, environmental protection, health & safety and value placed on the workforce.

It is a useful procurement requirement for owners and occupiers to specify of their contractors to ensure best-practice.

The method of contractually fixing the scope of works will vary depending on the size and scope of the fit-out project, and the type of construction contract utilised. In general, the scope is typically fixed as far as possible prior to commencement of construction activities to help ensure time, cost and quality project objectives are met.

In most circumstances, the scope of works will be defined by a suite of drawings, specifications and documents representing the approved design, as appended to a construction contract setting out requirements related to construction process. It is critical principles and requirements identified through the development of a Requirements Brief and agreed within Legal Agreements are incorporated as part of the process, and filter through into the scope of works

If the contractor has an element of design responsibility, e.g. under a design and build contract, then the initial scope of works may evolve in parallel with the detailed design, based on design solutions collectively agreed by the client (occupier) and the contractor.

2. Implement Management Processes to Meet Requirements 

To help ensure that all sustainability requirements are met through construction, including any agreed KPIs and best practice measures, it is imperative that sustainability is embedded as a thread through the project management, reporting and assurance processes. Appointed Contractor’s Proposals should set out clearly both commitment and specific mechanisms in relation to meeting the occupier’s requirements. To support this, the following principles are recommended.

Principles to meet requirements

1. Integrate Principles within Construction Project Plan

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The contractor should produce a clear and simple plan setting out commitments, measures, initiatives and targets relating to sustainability. This could form part of a construction project plan covering wider issues, e.g. health and safety, quality assurance etc. The plan should reflect the occupier’s Requirements Brief, and may include additional commitments from the contractor to meet their own organisation’s sustainability objectives. 

Topics may include:

  • Use of the Considerate Constructors Scheme (CCS).
  • Stakeholder communication and relationship management.
  • Supply chain procurement and management processes.
  • Energy management and reporting.
  • Water management and reporting.
  • Waste management and reporting.
  • Travel and logistics impacts.
  • Managing nuisance e.g. dust, emissions, odours, lighting, noise, vibrations.
  • Managing onsite wildlife and ecology.

The Ciria Fit-out Environmental Good Practice On Site Guide provides detailed guidance on this topic.

2. Set Clear Roles & Responsibilities, and Communications Framework

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The occupier and contractor should agree and record clear roles and responsibilities in relation to meeting sustainability requirements. This should integrate fully with the wider framework of defined roles and responsibilities between occupier, their design team, and with the owner. The occupier should endeavour to set a tone of openness and collaboration as part of a communications framework detailing the flow of information between stakeholders. 

3. Agree Reporting Requirements

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The occupier and contractor should agree how sustainability progress will be tracked and reported throughout the project. This could include having it as a fixed agenda item for project progress meetings, and integrated as part of any project reporting dashboard, i.e. sitting alongside other progress reports covering performance against programme, health and safety incidents etc. 

4. Undertake Construction Audits

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The occupier could consider engaging suitable design team representatives or independent parties to carry out periodic audits. Larger contractors may undertake their own internal audits on particularly sensitive or large fit-out projects, and so the occupier role may be one of audit assurance in such situations.

A plan-do-check-act audit process can help ensure that progress against requirements is regularly monitored, recorded and ultimately achieved. Auditing can help to identify risks, as well as opportunities, early. The process can also support Fit-out Ratings assessment, e.g. BREEAM Fit-out & Refurbishment, SKA, WELL or Fitwel, as records collated during construction (e.g. audits, records, photographs) can be used as evidence.

5. Establish a Robust Change Management Process

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It is not uncommon for variations to the intended design and/or method of work to occur once on site. Variations can result from client instructed changes, resolving unforeseen interface issues with the base build, or from pressure to cut costs or accelerate works.

It is important that the impacts in meeting sustainability requirements as a result of any variation are quickly understood to guide appropriate decision-making by the occupier and contractor. This issue is particularly important in terms of materials substitutions, where replacements could be non-compliant to the original specification and negatively impact any agreed outcomes for the project - both contractual or aspirational. 

6. Engage with the Owner & any Neighbours

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The owner, and their design and/or property management team, are key to the smooth undertaking of the fit-out process and the successful integration of the works to the base-build.

The occupier, contractor and owner should agree mechanisms for regular communication, and co-ordination in terms of timing of any disruptive or critical works.

For projects taking place in occupied multi-tenanted buildings, and those with adjoining or nearby sensitive neighbours, a method for wider engagement should be considered. This could include proactively meeting neighbours to explain upcoming works, updating them on progress, and providing a named individual as a point of contact for enquiries.