Last night CIMCIG held its annual Chairman’s Debate (Tuesday 9 April 2013); at which a number of leading figures form a panel to discuss a key construction issues, in front of an audience of selected senior executives from the industry. Principal guest was Peter Hansford, Chief Construction Advisor; the panel comprised Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the Federation of Master Builders, Diana Montgomery Chief Executive of Construction Products Association, James Pargeter Partner at Deloitte Real Estate and Denise Bower, Professor of Engineering at the University of Leeds who is a member of the Construction Industrial Strategy Advisory Council.

The timing and subject of the debate: 21st Century Construction – Opportunities and Challenges was planned to provide Peter Hansford with input into the Construction Industrial Strategy.

The issues the Industrial strategy is expected to cover include growth and innovation; supply chain; SME engagement; skills; access to finance and overseas trade.  With the objective to create a long-term strategy for the construction industry, this document will consider where the industry should be in 2025 and is scheduled for publication this summer.

From Peter Hanford’s perspective, a key question he wants marketers to answer is:
“What do we want our industry’s image to be in 2025?”

Following last night’s event I have posted this as a question on LinkedIn for discussion, or you can post your response at the end of this blog. I will report on the answers received and of course pass them to Peter Hansford for his information.

Last night’s debate identified the following big current issues for construction:

  • the shortage of housing stock;
  • restrictions caused by the planning process;
  • the burden of pre-qualification paperwork;
  • development of ‘intelligent’ clients;
  • the need to accredit builders.

There were also calls for an end to the stop start nature of investment in the industry.

On the subject of the intelligent client, one large property holder was represented who said they had moved away from Design & Build and issued complete Bills of Quantity as they wanted their properties to operate to a good standard and did not feel they could rely on the contractor to deliver this.

The subject of whole life costing has also moved onto the radar of the intelligent client and savvy contractors are recognising that there is more potential value in a building for them post-construction than in the actual construction value. For this reason more are moving into maintenance and operation. As the sophisticated control of buildings increases there will be growing demand for centralised control of these facilities from building occupiers offering further opportunities.

The debate finished on an optimistic note, with the final summing up by the panel presenting the following points:

  • Be proud of what we do and what we achieve.
  • We are at an interesting point for the industry, government is prepared to listen and companies prepared to change
  • Celebrate the success of our small advances
  • The government pipeline is important in helping the industry plan, now we need to include the private sector
  • Reduce legislation so that construction can become a driver for economic growth

Peter Hansford stated that “The Government is listening and the industry is keen to respond to change. I would encourage everyone to continue to be a part of the discussion.”

What do you want our industry’s image to be in 2025 – what are your thoughts?

Please participate in my LinkedIn discussion or post a comment in response to this blog. I will report on the answers received and of course pass them to Peter Hansford for his information.

I look forward to hearing your comments on what our industry’s image will be in 2025!

Further reading:

Strengthening UK Based Supply Chains: Construction and Infrastructure

A series of publications relating to the industrial strategy

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>