Paul Aubrey, divisional director at SAS International, talks about how the growing number of new regulations makes it essential for specialist contractors to carefully assess tender details and identify anomalies early on.

The idiom ‘the devil is in the detail’ is often used to mean that although something might seem simple, there could be a mysterious element hidden in the details. This phrase is more pertinent in today’s  construction industry than at any other time. Five years ago,  specifications were steered by  aesthetics, performance and sustainability; now, a more socially driven standard is also shaping the agenda. With the rising levels of sector benchmarks and quality standards, how do you manage these demands and guidelines?

Increasingly, all members of the supply chain, from designer to installer, are asked to satisfy Health Building Notes for healthcare  projects, Building Bulletins within  education, and countless  documents covering carbon  emissions, VOCs, acoustics and many other important matters.  Additionally, there is a new initiative to enhance wellbeing and  productivity for building  occupiers developed to retain staff and improve visitor experience.

With this in mind, it is vitally important that specialist  contractors properly assess and familiarise themselves with the details of new regulations to ensure that anomalies are identified and addressed early in the process.

Contained within each tender enquiry there is a growing volume of these documents and often they are not included in their  entirety but simply referenced within specifications. Adding to this, as the responsibility transfers to the tendering contractor, many of the documents are not only open to interpretation but may conflict with other criteria within the specifications or drawings.  Recently, a client approached us with the aim to achieve the new WELL Building Standard. Calling for a minimum light reflectance value of 80 per cent across the ceiling, the criteria clashed with the aesthetic design for the space, which  consisted of large, open, expanded metal panels – two drivers  immediately at conflict. To identify issues in the tender criteria and reduce risk to the project, specialist contractors need to check the specification carefully and recognise potential contradictions before approaching the manufacturer.

Whether you are undertaking work in a new sector or taking on a new standard, take the time to review all the information and  remember, ‘the devil is in the detail’.

SAS International
Divisional director – UK