ADCAS looks to British Standard to tackle information overload

Looking to tackle ‘information overload’ — Paul Adlam.

ADCAS, the Association of Ductwork Contractors & Allied Services, has called for the adoption of procedures in a British Standard to reduce the problems caused during tendering by an excess of unclassified information. Paul Adlam, who heads the ADCAS campaign against this form of ‘information overload’, says, ‘This British Standard could help, but it’s not well enough known and not well enough defined. ADCAS will now lobby for contractors to adhere to BS 1192-5 1998 and for the standard to be revised as a matter of priority.

‘It’s not a perfect tool by any means, but it could be a much better one, and it could make a contribution to cutting some of the confusion and wasted time in the tendering process — now estimated to cost the construction industry over £1 billion every year.’

Such information overload affects everyone in the procurement chain, but tends to become more acute with every step down — so specialist contractors are particularly vulnerable. ADCAS believes that a week’s work could be cut from the tendering process for almost every major ductwork manufacturer if specifications were better defined in relation to specialist services — with the prospect of a significant reduction in the cost of the final job.

The British Standard is called ‘Construction drawing practice — guide for the structuring and exchange of CAD data’. It recommends how drawings or CAD layers for all building systems and components could be named by their originators, so that their technical content can be identified as easily as possible.

Paul Etty of ADCAS believes that the British Standard is flawed but could be turned into a practical tool. He says, ‘If every tender disk had the drawings properly coded, we could cut into the waste of time and money. The standard has a code, which could be improved, but there are other codings in use, including the redoubtable DW144, and some consultants even have their own. Something as simple as an A4 sheet of “tick boxes” could identify all the information required to produce an accurate price — and eliminate the ambiguity in the current documentation.

‘We need to take the best of these inputs and create a standard that’s clear enough to help get the job done.’

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