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A police-led company is aiming to help small businesses get themselves safer, for free. The South West Cyber Resilience Centre is particularly focused on the construction sector, which – with so many small contractors – is more vulnerable than most. Not only can small businesses ill afford the cost of a cyberattack, but they’re often used as a foothold to breach larger companies: one survey showed that 93% of larger businesses had been attacked last year via their junior partners.

SWCRC is part of a national network, funded by the Home Office and by private sector partners. This means that it doesn’t need to make money from the businesses that it protects. It gives them free guidance to get safer, support to implement it, and a 12 week programme of bite-sized steps for beginners. Every month, it provides an update on the latest threats, and there are webinars, podcasts and events to find out more.  

The company, which is led by serving police officers on behalf of the SW region, also has a unique offering via its student team, to provide training, to check the hackability of websites and IT systems, and to provide advice on resilience planning, all at low cost as part of the not-for-profit model. And SWCRC can also signpost reputable local cyber businesses if you need certification for government contracts, or urgent help because you’ve been breached.

We’re supported by regional business groups including the SW business council and Business West, and we’re keen to look after anyone who doesn’t know where to start. We’d also like to be supporting those larger companies who might have their own house in order, but would like some assistance in looking after their supply chain. (Because the last thing you need is one of your contractors emailing you malware once their own account has been breached).

We’re free, and we’re here to help. Find out more at www.swcrc.co.uk , and let us know if you’d like a conversation.

The road to net zero is not an easy one, but social housing group, Sanctuary, is putting it at the forefront of its agenda.

Listen to the second episode in the ‘How We Live… Sustainably’ podcast series, where their head of affordable housing, Jacqueline Knox, is joined by Donna Williams, Group Director – Sustainability and Climate Change at social housing group – Sanctuary.

Head to their website HERE to tune in to the latest episode where they discuss the Greener Future Partnership that Sanctuary is now a part of,  the benefits the company and its customers are seeing from its approach to sustainability and a discussion about the operational practices Sanctuary is already working on, the organisation’s plans for the next 10 years and what social sustainability means to the business.

The social housing group currently invests around £1.4 million a year towards various sustainability projects that support the broader connection and resilience of its communities.

A group of construction leaders and professionals from across Bath attended a dedicated event to discuss how to combat some of the biggest challenges currently facing the industry.

The event was organised by Constructing Excellence South West, a member-led organisation designed to drive positive change in construction, and was chaired by Julia Davenport-Cooper, Partner at Temple Bright LLP.

Sponsored by global business insurer Gallagher, the evening was well attended by key clients, local authorities, developers and contractors who each shared their experiences of working within the industry.

Understanding how to navigate the challenges on climate crisis, building safety and attracting future skills and talent into the sector is a big focus throughout the region. So, the evening looked primarily at what can be done differently in these areas to make positive changes for the future of the industry.

Julia Davenport-Cooper, Chair of Constructing Excellence Bath Club, said: “It was a fantastic evening and marked one of the first times we were able to reunite as a club. Thank you to everyone who gave up their free time to attend and for being so open and honest during the discussions.

“A wide range of personal experiences, views and recommendations were shared across the room as participants unpicked climate crisis, building safety and future skills.

“Constructing Excellence South West is responsible for enabling us to hold events like this, and with the support of Gallagher it was a great success. We have lots of other events in the pipeline which will offer more opportunities to identify what changes can be made in our region, before rolling out fresh ideas and initiatives to the wider sector.”

Gallagher Managing Director, Bristol, Andy Ferguson added: ““All too often businesses work individually to tackle what’s actually a common challenge to all of us.  This event has shown how much more can be achieved when we come together and share our experiences of how we are adapting to change and embracing new ways of working.

“It was fantastic to be able to support this event and see the construction industry in Bath come together to drive forward positive change.”

This event forms part of a wider series of leadership gatherings which are being held in the South West region. The remaining sessions are scheduled to take place throughout the rest of the year in Taunton, Bournemouth, Swindon, Cheltenham, Exeter and Bristol.

The next Constructing Excellence Bath Club is an online webinar which looks at the ESG arena, with the leaders in this field highlighting how they believe it will be delivered in the sector or on projects. To sign-up to the event being held on Wednesday 15 June, visit: https://constructingexcellencesw.org.uk/event/refurb-v-rebuild-webinar/

To find out more about Constructing Excellence South West and its regional clubs, visit: https://constructingexcellencesw.org.uk/

Construction professionals and leaders from across Plymouth and the surrounding areas came together to discuss combatting the main challenges currently facing the industry in the South West.

The event was organised by Constructing Excellence South West, a member-led organisation designed to drive positive change in construction, and was chaired by Peter Everitt, Senior Pre-Construction Manager at Kier Construction.

Held at St. Elizabeth’s House, Plympton, the event was sponsored by global business insurer Gallagher, and was well-attended by key members of the built environment community including architects, developers, contractors, local authorities and representatives from higher education.

The evening had a jam-packed agenda as participants openly discussed their experiences of working in the industry, and shared their recommendations on how to combat the climate crisis, building safety and procurement on value.

Peter Everitt, Vice Chair of the Constructing Excellence Devon Club, said: “This event forms part of a wider programme being rolled out by Constructing Excellence South West. We had an incredible turnout and the discussions across the room were both interesting and incredibly thought provoking.

“It was fantastic to see so many of the key players working within construction give up their free time to have an input into the various industry hot topics.

“As one of the largest contributors to the UK economy, construction plays a fundamental role so it’s important to look at what can be done to help the sector thrive – particularly after an unprecedented few years.

“By looking closely at what we can do as a region is a great starting point to see what works before rolling out new ideas and initiatives further afield.

“Thank you to Constructing Excellence South West who enable us to hold events like this and to Gallagher for sponsoring the evening and for helping to make it a great success.”

Ross Browne, Development Director for Gallagher, added: “We know from speaking to our clients that the construction industry is facing fundamental pressures and change.

“We’re pleased to be part of this event and support the built-environment community in Plymouth to work together in overcoming challenges and embracing new methods of construction and working.  It was clear from the discussions that there is a real drive in Plymouth to work together on these issues.”

This is the second in a series of leadership events which are being held in the South West region. The remaining sessions will be held in Taunton, Bournemouth, Swindon, Cheltenham, Exeter and Bristol.

To sign-up as a member of Constructing Excellence South West, visit: https://constructingexcellencesw.org.uk/join-now/

Constructing Excellence South West’s Somerset Club gathered senior leaders from across the region to put Europe’s largest construction project under the spotlight.

In 2016, Somerset became home to Hinkley Point C (HPC), the first in a new generation of nuclear power stations designed to support the UK’s ambition to reach net-zero by 2050. In addition to being one of Britain’s most powerful actions to fight climate change, it’s the biggest construction project in Europe.

Creating opportunities for up to 25,000 employees and training 1,000 apprentices, HPC is much more than just a large-scale programme. Since work began, it has brought together specialist knowledge, sector experience and has uncovered numerous key learnings which can help to drive real change in construction.

Spanning 430 acres in total, the project is undoubtedly like anything else being developed in the sector.

The Constructing Excellence Somerset Club facilitated a dedicated workshop which was hosted in Weston–super-Mare, sponsored by civil engineering company, Alun Griffiths (Contractors) Ltd and supported by BYLOR – the Laing O’Rourke and Bouygues TP joint venture, delivering the main civil works package at HPC.

The session provided an opportunity for industry professionals to closely explore innovation, success and the challenges such a construction project brings.

Liz Bennett, Chair of CE Somerset Club, kick-started the session.

“This is one of the first learning and sharing events we’ve run in the South West for several years.

“As the industry starts to recover from lockdown it’s great to take advantage of opportunities like this where we can look to see how lessons can be learnt and then applied to smaller construction projects in the region.”

Sustainability matters

Following an overview of the project, its enormity and complexities, the discussions turned to sustainability.

As construction and the built environment are responsible for 40% of global carbon emissions, the sector has become incredibly focused on hitting the net-zero targets set out by the UK government. So, it was no surprise that participants were curious to see how Europe’s largest construction project is tackling this.

James Bromley, Commercial Director, and Andrew Jackson, Technical Director, from BYLOR explained some innovative solutions HPC is trialling. One example in particular focused on the production of concrete.

With over 1.4 million m3 cubic metres needed – that’s 500 Olympic swimming pools – the HPC team has a specialist concrete batching plant on site, with a jetty so that materials can be brought to site by ferry, taking trucks off local roads. This means all concrete needed is produced on site, ensuring a consistent quality product needed to build a nuclear power station is created. Additionally, the team can make exactly what they need and when, reducing the amount of unnecessary waste.

But that’s not all. Before the project started on site, the team carried out several years of thorough testing to create a high quality and specifically formulated mix of concrete which contains less carbon.

After hearing about this innovative approach, the group felt inspired by the out-of-the-box thinking but questioned whether the industry is really ready for this. Participants were in agreement, that outside of major projects like this, the market isn’t currently moving at the pace of change required. In fact, they believe, more needs to be done to educate and support these changes in order to find more innovative solutions to tackle the climate crisis.

On-site digital solutions

The conversation then steered to digital tools as Francesca Draper, Senior Engineer at BYLOR explained how digitisation is fully utilised at HPC from the design phase right through to post-construction.

“Digital engineering isn’t and shouldn’t be an afterthought in built-environment initiatives,” Francesca explains.

“At BYLOR, on the HPC Project it’s fundamental to how we work, with each digital component of our toolset evolving over time in response to specific needs. The integration of this toolkit now allows us to map out every phase of the plan and limit the chances of an error occurring on the job site.

“Our experience indicates that disrupting the status quo and looking to the digital landscape for solutions can provide significant benefits. The approach of identifying pain-points and looking for solutions through digitalisation tools could be applied across the industry to any project, regardless of size.”

Digital solutions can help to connect not only every phase of the programme but also its team members who will be able to clearly understand their responsibilities and tasks when on site.

The participants shared their thoughts on why more digital tools aren’t currently used within the sector. They argued that smaller projects may not want to digitalise their processes and, even if they did, the tools required could be too expensive.

But they believe if digital engineering is clearly communicated and taught, senior leaders and teams will see the positive impact and benefit that digital ways of working will have on their projects. As a result, they could be more widely adopted throughout the industry.

With HPC fully utilising digitisation across the programme, the club recommended adopting these techniques and approaches with a smaller scale project to illustrate this as a best practice example.

“Running a pilot could be a great way to help remove some of the existing barriers and obstacles that are currently preventing digital transformation across the sector,” explains Dan Macey, Chair of Constructing Excellence South West.

Future skills at Hinkley Point

The day of discussion concluded with a focus on the future skills of the industry and Yasmin Caddick, Senior Quantity Surveyor at BYLOR, showcased how Hinkley has recruited and attracted a whole host of talent into the sector.

With an aging workforce, a big priority for the sector is ensuring it can successfully encourage the younger generation to apply for a career within construction.

The group explored ways to retain and attract new talent into the industry, and discussed how collaborating and engaging with educators throughout the region is key.

A collaborative approach is best

Following a successful day of debate, Andrew Carpenter, CEO of Constructing Excellence South West, rounded off the event.

“The session was incredibly valuable and included lots of very engaging discussions. Although the sector faces a number of challenges, working more collaboratively to collectively tackle them will be beneficial for the region, and sector, as a whole.

“HPC is an outstanding project and CESW wants to thank the BYLOR team for agreeing to be put under the spotlight to showcase their work to this group of construction professionals.

“I’d also like to say a massive thank you to Alun Griffiths (Contractors) Ltd. for sponsoring this event because without their generosity it wouldn’t have been possible to host this specialist session.

“Following this best practice event, it’s time to take some of HPC’s approaches and practices to see how they can be disseminated more widely across the sector – no matter the project’s size.

“Adopting a more joined-up approach will be incredibly beneficial to the future of the industry and this is a great first step.”

If you’re interested to learn more about how you can influence the change agenda within the industry, you can become a regional member of Constructing Excellence South West.

Members have exclusive access to events, activities, clubs, theme groups and specialist resources, and also benefit from networking, learning and sharing best practice principles, access to tools and so much more.

To sign-up as a member of Constructing Excellence South West, visit: https://constructingexcellencesw.org.uk/join-now/

Previously, Martyn Jones has called for a new compact between construction clients and their suppliers. This month he argues that Integrative Negotiation – with the key elements of Emotional Intelligence and Co-creation – present a way to shape the new compact.  He also sets out what he sees as the main skills and attributes needed to make it work,

In an Integrative Negotiation, often referred to as “win-win”, everyone benefits from the agreement. There is usually more than one issue to be negotiated so there are opportunities for each party to create value and for trade-offs too so that a mutually beneficial agreement can be reached.

Negotiation, a well-established form of procurement amongst private sector clients, is where the client and a preferred contractor enter a contract through direct negotiation. As we saw in the recently published Rider Levett Bucknall (RLB) survey of procurement, around 20% of the projects sampled were procured in this way.  However, its use in the public sector is currently problematic because of its procurement constraints – barriers that will need to be removed if the sector is to share the benefits of negotiation.

Negotiation is ideal where the work is of a unique nature and the client is confident that there is only one contractor suitable to undertake the work, or where the client has a strong preference to use a particular contractor who has performed well in previous projects. Here, I argue that “Integrative Negotiation”, is key to fashioning a new compact between client and their advisers and main contractors.

And not just between client and main contractor but along the supply chain too, between main and specialist contractors and manufacturers (what we might dub a “win-win-win-win-win”).  The alternative form of negotiation,  “Distributive Bargaining”, where both sides try to gain control of a limited amount of resource is considered a “win-lose” negotiation where one side’s gain equals the other side’s loss and is seen as inappropriate in forging our new compact in shifting to a race to the top rather than the bottom.

What skills and attributes do negotiators need for an Integrative Negotiation approach? What are the keys to unlocking mutually beneficial outcomes?  Alongside the obvious  technical knowledge and “hard” skills, soft skills are very much needed too, including Emotional Intelligence, listening, persuasion, planning and co-creating. Understanding and deploying these skills and attributes are the first steps to becoming an effective negotiator.

But bear in mind, as in all situations, the specific skills needed will be shaped by the product or service being procured, the operating environment, the intended outcomes, and the culture of the people and organisations involved.

For me, there are two attributes and skills at the core of what I’m proposing: Emotional Intelligence and Co-creation.

Emotional intelligence (EI) because it combines personal competence (self-awareness, self-regulation and motivation) with social competence (empathy and social skills).  It provides a means to manage emotions, empathise with the  feelings of other parties and raise everyone’s consciousness of the emotional dynamics at play.

And, given that we are looking to establish a new compact, negotiations also need to include innovation. This is where co-creation comes into play, a form of collaborative innovation where ideas are shared and improved together, rather than retained by each party. It provides a shift in thinking from the single organisation as a definer of value to a more participative process where people and organizations together generate and develop meaning and value.

But there are other attributes we need to include too. The ability to build rapport helps establish and sustain relationships where both sides feel comfortable, appreciated and understood.

Listening skills are critical in order to truly understand the people involved, their needs, aspirations and ambitions, and the specificities of the situation.

Integrity or having strong ethical and moral principles are important as being thoughtful, respectful and honest builds trust.

Persuasion, the ability to influence others, can help explain why a party’s proposed ideas and solutions are beneficial to all parties and encourage others to support their point of view. In addition to being persuasive, negotiators should be, where necessary, assertive too to get their views across whilst respecting the perspectives of others.

Patience, doesn’t always fit comfortably in construction’s often gung-ho approach to projects but some negotiations can take a long time to complete, occasionally involving renegotiation and counteroffers. Rather than seeking a quick conclusion, negotiators often practice patience to properly assess the situation and reach the best mutually beneficial conclusions.

Negotiation requires planning, research and strategizing to help parties to determine what they really need and want.

Managing expectations. Just as negotiators should enter a negotiation with a clear goal, the other party will also likely have their own defined expectations. If one party might not be able to agree to each other’s terms, they should try adjusting their expectations and maintaining a balance between being a firm and collaborative negotiator.

We must always bear in mind that construction is project based with a wide diversity of organisations and products so adaptability is an important skill for a successful negotiation as each negotiation is unique, and even the situation within a singular negotiation may change from one day to the next.

However difficult negotiation might be given the specificities of construction, remember the words of Nelson Mandela: “No problem is so deep that it cannot be overcome, given the will of all parties, through discussion and negotiation rather than force and violence.”

BLOC Productions are looking for warehouse/premises to build their set build for ‘Elf the Musical’ which will show at The Hippodrome Bristol later this year.

It needs to be in the Bristol area with light, power, water and toilets and will be required for use September to end of November 2022

Needs to be accessible by lorry 24/7 with large entrance doors.

Minimum sizes – Height 6m – Width 7m – Length 7m.

In an ideal world somewhere 15m sq would enable us to put the complete set of scenery together in position as it would be on stage.

Please contact Andrew Carpenter: andrew.carpenter@constructingexcellencesw.org.uk

 

 

The top 100 Influential Women in Construction aimed at showcasing women in the sector to make these role models more accessible

We are proud to announce that CESW CEO, Andrew Carpenter will be a judge at the awards this year

This year marks the start of real change for the Industry, aimed at showcasing women in the sector in order to make female and non-binary role models more visible and accessible.

These nominations help to shine a light on those that are working to support Equality, Diversity, Inclusion and Equity across the Industry through their actions and support of others.

The list and winners will be announced during an exclusive event, on 27 October 2022 in Manchester

Book tickets HERE

As a recently elected Board Member I am delighted to have been asked to write the opening to this month’s CESW newsletter.  Constructing Excellence continues to have an important role in our industry to drive change, development and crucially collaboration.  In my view, a healthy and prosperous CESW programme is vital, and I would encourage you all to engage and support as much as time allows.

It has been an incredibly difficult period for many of our members with the demise of many businesses, including Midas, and the negative impact that has had on employees, families, suppliers, contractors and clients.  I have been heartened by the way the industry has rallied at what is an incredibly challenging time.

In April, the CE Devon Club gathered business leaders from the area to discuss what has led to this current instability in our sector.  The debate was healthy, and the key issues highlighted stem back to trust, collaboration, contractual risk and how it’s apportioned, procurement (including tender) and project leadership.    Sound familiar?

I believe we should reflect back to the days of Latham and Egan as many of the problems tackled then have, once again, resurfaced. Their findings on a similarly troubled sector were a catalyst for change. Perhaps it is time to take an honest and hard look at ourselves as an industry, adapt and make positive change once again. Constructing Excellence should and will continue to be at the forefront of this, but to do this we need maximum engagement from the industry whilst, in my view, taking additional perspectives from outside.

I recently attended a Boardroom 2030 multi-sector event, which closed by asking those individuals leading businesses to keep thinking about:

These questions seem pertinent to our industry and some of the challenges we face whether structural, economic or environmental.  I am sure you will agree to effect change we need to challenge, disrupt and collaborate to ensure that the industry thrives and resolves the issues now and in the future.  Again, I believe passionately that CESW should be at the forefront of helping our industry adapt, evolve and improve.  During the few months I have been involved it’s been exciting to see the plans CESW have developed to help meet these challenges head on.

To this end, it is fantastic to see the take up from members on site visits, webinars, conferences, leadership dinners and networking events to name a few.  There are some key events coming up in May that may interest you including:

I look forward to meeting you at a future event!

Finally, I have had the pleasure of being part of the judging panel on some of the CESW Awards and it has been an enlightening experience so far. I have learnt so much about the many fantastic projects and initiatives that you have been leading in our region.  Truly inspirational.

Would you like to exhibit at the CESW Housing Summit on the 18th May 2022?

There is one more space available so do get in touch.

The cost is £250 plus VAT.

Take a look at the pack below with all the details.

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