The Importance of Site Visits

By the Sales Director for Framing at voestalpine Metsec plc

There are several elements that contribute to a successful build; products, materials, people and design to name a few. While training and development are hailed as important foundations for a smooth-running project, there are other factors to consider that play a critical role in the success of an installation.

Site visits are one such element. Often overlooked in the planning of a project, they are important in both mitigating risk and controlling costs for installers, manufacturers and end clients. There are many different inspection models dependent on the type of works being completed, such as structural, architectural or mechanical & electrical. Regardless of which discipline, site visits help ensure that work is progressing as intended. Working in partnership with the contractor or end client, it provides an independent view of the works and how the job is moving ahead.

We offer site visits to all of our projects as we view them as a key part of the progress and success of a project. Not there to sign off the building, we simply give an independent ‘second pair of eyes’ that ensure that the framing is being installed in accordance with the design. This is important to avoid any long-term building issues.

The cost implications of errors in the installation stages can jeopardise the entire delivery of a project and ensuring that all product is being installed in accordance with the design can alleviate delays in project completion. Recent research showed that the cost of errors is between £10 billion and £25 billion a year, which exceeds the average profit margin for the industry.

We underwrite our designs and warranty them, but this is only if the installer has built the product in accordance with our design – and this is a tricky topic. While site visits are an important part of managing a project, quality work needs to be underpinned by appropriate training. It’s also important to select reputable companies to partner with on a project.

When it comes to selecting a manufacturer, you need a company with the relevant accreditations, such as CE marking and verification to BIM Level 2 if applicable, as well as in-house design and detailing capabilities. Metsec, along with the aforementioned in-house skills and qualifications, offers a warranty on all the designs it produces.

Similarly, it’s crucial that a proven installer is selected. SFS projects are largely self-assessed by the sub-contractor, which is why we strongly recommend that an approved Metsec Framing installer is engaged. We advocate the use of these installers as they provide assurance that the design is implemented and that the framing element of the package is installed correctly. Any delays in the early stages of a project can cost the end client dearly, both financially and in timing.

For those with well-established relationships with preferred installers, Metsec also offers training courses to these partners to ensure all parties that implement Metsec SFS designs do so with a full and applied understanding of the product and its assembly.

Site visits are best practice when it comes to a construction project, but they are more than that. While we advise the installer as to whether the product has been implemented correctly in accordance with our guidelines, if it hasn’t there is very little recourse for the client.

That’s why we think it’s important to not only check the installation, but to offer our assistance. We offer training ahead of the project, but also have an accredited list of approved installers and suggest that they are used for Metsec projects to give clients that extra peace of mind.