Tuesday, 13 August 2013

The cost of poorly assembled data to the construction industry

In terms of the recent CN Award for NBS Create, the judges highlighted one statistic "£2bn - the cost of rework every year". So how does the use of a good master specification system, that helps coordinates the data across the construction project team, help to significantly reduce this risk?

£2bn - the cost of rework every year
Some insightful statistics are provided at the "NBS Educator" area of the NBS website - http://www.thenbs.com/training/educator/specification/specProblems/specProblems02.asp - extracts from which are below...

When specification-based disputes go to court - the reasons as a percentage are:
  • ‘Or equal’ specifications: 25%.
    Jobs have ground to a halt over arguments about just what is ‘equal’ to the proprietary specification, and whose decision this is.
  • Conflict between drawings and specifications: 12%.
    Remains a major issue.
  • Ambiguity: 12%
  • Defective specifications, e.g. buildability: 12%.
  • Inaccurate technical data: 12%.
  • Product performance deficiencies: 8%
In terms of conflict between drawings and specifications, this is responsible for 19% of change orders.

Looking at various surveys across the world...
Construction contributed ca £65 billion to UK economy in 2004 – orders totalled ca £34 billion in 2009. 5% (for rework) of these figures is £3.25 billion and £1.7 billion respectively.

So, around £2 billion.

Thanks to NBS Technical Author John Gelder for many of these statistics and the original articles on the NBS Educator site.


  1. Great post and thanks for sharing Stephen. My favorite quotes from the NBS links were:

    Teamwork is often spoken about yet its meaning is probably rarely discussed.

    Construction too often fails to meet the needs of modern businesses that must be competitive in international markets, and rarely provides best value for clients and taxpayers.

    More than a third of major clients are dissatisfied with contractors’ performance

    55% of RFIs and 45% of disputes and variations are down to deficient design or documentation.

    most frequent and influential documentation problems:
    Insufficient detail.
    Incorrect or inadequate information.
    Conflicting information.


  2. Some very interesting statistics here Stephen. I think Gari has it right on with that quote though ^

  3. It is not possible to guess the exact cost that is going to be in any construction. It is because any construction is full of uncertainty that causes delays and increase the expenses dramatically.