Qualitas Inspection Services

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Qualitas Inspection Services's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Qualitas Inspection Services is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles


Managing Director Roy Burke
Stratford Halo, London
Committed to improving the standard of social housing
schemes, Qualitas Inspection Services have supervised
over 350 major construction projects during their
history. Having noticed a softening of standards, they believe
that all large construction projects should be overseen by an
independent and objective inspection service. The small cost this
may incur during construction, they believe, will lead to greater
savings in the long run, as the cost of rectifying defects will
always be greater. Managing Director Roy Burke has worked
in the construction industry for over 20 years and explains the
need for greater diligence during the construction process.
Before establishing the business, I had been involved in construction for over
20 years, working for 13 years as a site inspector for Waltham Forest Council.
Following this, I was headhunted by another company, who made me director. In
2008, I bought out their stake and took full control.
We were founded in 2007 at the request of a large London-based housing
association for the sole purpose of improving the standard of finish to completed
social housing schemes. These inspections covered all aspects of the construction
process, from groundwork through to final finishes.
Although site inspection is our core business, we also run a department for the
delivery of aftercare. This consists of a freephone service where we take residents’
complaints and the reporting of various issues during the first 12-month defects
period, which is part of the constructor’s contract. However, the majority of the
»Managing Director: Roy Burke
»Established in 2007
»Based in Southend
»Services: Construction project
»No. of employees: 7 on site
and 2 in the office
»Award from Institute of
Clerk of Works “Building on
Quality” and Small Business
Award for the area
Qualitas Inspection
Highlighting best practice
projects we are appointed to have
had no inspection during their entire
construction, and it is notable that
many if not all of the defects reported
could have been avoided with
During the intervening 12 years, we
have been appointed to over 350
major construction schemes, with
budgets ranging from £3 million to
£130 million.
A softening of standards
In recent times, we have noticed that
the original emphasis on exemplary
quality with the goal of zero defects
has been compromised in many
instances, suggesting a softening
Having dedicated our business to
the improvement of buildings being
constructed for social occupancy,
it is disappointing to see national
newspapers reporting that new-build
properties are being handed over
only to receive immediate reports
of multiple defects. This is of major
concern. These high-profile examples
underline this slackening of vigilance
while calling into question our
industry’s reputation, placing it under
further scrutiny.
These problems can be solved before
they arise by the introduction of a
more holistic approach. We are all
aware that a contractor’s priority
should be safely constructing good-
quality buildings to the highest
standard of finish, and we are
convinced that all of the major building
companies we have worked with over
the years are largely committed to
Cheaper commissioning can be
more expensive in the long run
There will always be issues when
constructing large multi-occupancy
buildings, as there are so many
complicated aspects to be dealt
with, and it is inevitable that on-site
management will be unaware of the
errors made by their subcontractors.
Because of this, we are convinced that
all major work should be overseen by
an independent inspection company,
with no allegiance to any other body.
Quality and safety should be the
driving forces prioritised by the delivery
team in the interests of the client
and customer. Major social housing
projects are multimillion pound
schemes, and there are a number of
ways this money is generated, with a
large proportion through government
funding. It is unacceptable that the
public should face a scenario where
a relatively minor saving on a major
contract could actually compromise
that project. The ongoing cost in
maintenance may be so prohibitive
that it could burden planning funding
for years to come. Prevention is
preferable to cure and, in this context,
cheaper is ultimately more expensive in
the end.
We should all be aware of the need
to reduce unnecessary costs and
wastage, and every effort should
Rathbone Market,
problems can
be solved
before they
arise by the
of a more
be made to deliver effective social
housing schemes efficiently. However,
projects are managed at the client
level. It is incumbent on the manager
of the delivery team to work to a pre-
determined budget, where it is their
remit to make savings from the outset.
The delivery of quality by an
independent company is increasingly
at risk as the responsibility for its
delivery is passed to another agency,
known as a “multi-disciplinary”
organisation, who may well have other
parallel interests within the project.
They are not independent and cannot
It is time that central government
insisted on large housing projects
being protected from shoddy working
practices in the interests of the end
user and the tax-paying public by
ensuring that these works are attended
by independent site inspectors who
build their reputations on success.
Refusing to engage fully with
companies like ours is a major obstacle
in the pursuit of excellence and safety.
Separate bodies should specialise in
the administration of contracts and
leave the quality of workmanship
issues to a clerk of works or site
inspector who is qualified to assess
Establishing objective site
It has long been our aim to persuade
housing associations to employ site
inspectors for major projects on a
full-time basis to ensure that work
is being carried out to a guaranteed
standard that bears no risk of criticism
or subsequent revaluation. By using
an independent company to carry out
this task, with the client enjoying the
assurance that the operative on site
will have the backing of admin staff
and dedicated IT support, this can
With a currently inadequate supply
of social housing being constructed,
blighted further by delays over the
past decade, this must be the ideal
time to adopt a proactive approach
by fully supporting the delivery team
to achieve the best possible outcome.
That is why a company like ours should
become increasingly relevant.
Given the massive costs of these
projects, with the projected useful
lifespan of buildings being a minimum
of 60 years, the investment of such
a small fee to have an inspector on
site to report on the standard of the
workmanship and adherence to the
contract programme seems essential.
We shouldn’t sacrifice safety and
quality for such short-term financial
benefit, as independent inspection
offers such good value. This is why
we are committed to being at the
vanguard of change in the construction
sector, working in partnership with
housing associations and local
authorities to supervise an exciting new
era of excellence and transparency in
the 21st century.
We are
committed to
being at the
vanguard of
change in the
Creating green space on
inner city projects


This article was sponsored by Qualitas Inspection Services. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Michael Gove.

Rt Hon Michael Gove's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Michael Gove

This year's Parliamentary Review comes at a momentous time for parliament, as we collectively determine the destiny of the United Kingdom. 

On October 31, the UK will leave the European Union. The successful implementation of this process is this government's number-one priority.

Three years after a historic referendum vote, we will deliver on the decisive mandate from the British people. Trust in our democracy depends on it. Until that final hour, we will work determinedly and diligently to negotiate a deal, one that abolishes the backstop and upholds the warm and close relationship we share with our friends, allies and neighbours in the EU. But in the event that the EU refuses to meet us at the table, we must be prepared to leave without a deal.

As the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, it is my job to lead on this government's approach, should that scenario happen. Preparing for Brexit is my department's driving mission. But while I am leading this turbocharged effort, the whole of government is committed to this endeavour.

Ministers across Whitehall are working together to ensure that every possibility is considered, every plan is scrutinised and every provision is made. A daily drumbeat of meetings means that we are holding departments accountable, so that preparations are completed on time.

The chancellor has confirmed that all necessary funding will be made available. And we have mobilised thecivil service, assigning 15,000 of our most talented civil servants to manage our exit from the EU.

We will make sure that on November 1, there is as little disruption to national life as possible. Our trade relationships will continue to thrive, thanks to agreements with countries around the world worth £70 billion. Our country will remain secure, thanks to nearly 1,000 new officers posted at our borders. And the 3.2 million EU nationals now living and working among us can remain confident, with absolute certainty, of their right to remain in the UK.

Above all, our goal is to be transparent. Soon, we will launch a public information campaign so that citizens, communities and businesses are ready and reassured about what will happen in the event of “no deal”.

In my first few weeks in this role, I have travelled to ports and tarmacs, borders and bridges, all across the UK –from the seaside of Dover to the rolling green hills of County Armagh. I have heard from business owners and border officials, farmers and hauliers. They are ready to put an end to uncertainty. And they are ready to embrace the opportunities ahead.

Our departure from the EU will be a once in a lifetime chance to chart a new course for the United Kingdom. Preparing for that new course will be a herculean effort. But this country has made astounding efforts before. We can do it again.
Rt Hon Michael Gove
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster