The industry is no stranger to a challenge, in the last few years alone it has been put under unprecedented strain following Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic. Now it faces a raft of other issues, including tackling the government’s net zero targets, dealing with supply chain disruption, and new building regulation changes.
One organisation that is charged with driving the change agenda within construction to improve performance and produce a better-built environment is Constructing Excellence South West (CESW).
Operating in the South West region, this cross-sector, cross-supply chain member-led organisation operates for the good of the industry and its stakeholders.
One of CESW’s most successful initiatives is its renowned leadership dinner series which brings together key clients, architects, engineers, contractors, politicians, and supply chain from the built environment.
Andrew Carpenter, CEO of CESW, said: “Our leadership dinners focus on getting the key movers and shakers from any given area into one room to discuss the biggest issues affecting the construction industry. It’s something we’ve done for several years.
“Typically, we discuss key issues in the construction sector and then consider how they’re affecting the South West in particular. The latest series kick-started earlier this year and has been exploring some of the biggest challenges for the industry including climate crisis, building safety, and procurement on value.”
Global insurance brokerage and risk management services company Gallagher is the sole sponsor of the 2022 leadership dinners which have reached the mid-way mark.
Launched in March, the series started in Newquay before moving to Plymouth, Bath and Taunton.
During each evening, representatives from the CESW clubs openly talked about their experiences of working in the industry and shared their recommendations on how to combat these key challenges for the future of the construction sector.
With each evening following a similar structure, climate crisis was the first topic to be put under the spotlight.
Work together to solve the climate challenge
Although held at different times and in separate locations, there were lots of similarities between each of the four CESW club discussions, particularly when it came to debating how to tackle climate crisis.
The most important element for each club was collaboration. With CE Cornwall club highlighting that the secret to solving the climate challenge is working together.
It was agreed there isn’t enough collaboration within the built environment but to succeed that needs to change. Silo working needs to become a thing of the past and instead, companies must combat climate crisis collaboratively.
But first, more clarity is needed.
Each club highlighted that with no set action plan, strategy or clear targets in place, things are confused across the region. Although companies are keen to progress, there is a lot of uncertainty on how to successfully move forward.
For this to change, CE Devon Club believes that more needs to be done to educate and also demystify how the targets can be achieved and what it means for each player in construction.
CE Somerset Club also recognised this as an opportunity and discussed the role they could play as influencers, to develop the skills and markets to communicate best practices more widely.
Involve key players as soon as possible
As an insurance broker, a representative from the Gallagher team introduced the topic of building safety at the leadership dinners.
Each club discussed the timeline of a construction project and although they believed the key players must be involved at the earliest stage of the programme, to ensure everyone is on the same page, there were slight differences in which players were mentioned.
With the vital role that they play within the process, CE Cornwall Club believed insurers should be brought in at the beginning of the project. CE Devon Club added that engaging with architects earlier may help to mitigate any issues concerning safety further down the line.
CE Bath Club also thought it was important to get everyone from across the supply chain to sit at the table to make sure they understand the specification and overall objective of the project.
Ultimately, with everyone singing from the same hymn sheet, it’s guaranteed to reduce the number of problems along the way, helping to deliver a safe high-quality programme on time and on budget.
Understand the value of people
The final topic explored during each evening was procurement on value.
While each discussion began by outlining how the construction sector has traditionally approached value, the conversations eventually evolved into what value means for each group – and surprisingly, each club shared similar ideas.
For CE Somerset Club, the attendees agreed that value is not just measured in money. It includes various other metrics like human capital and produced capital. The club acknowledged that different regions place value on different things but if a company is procuring on value, they first need to understand the value of the people.
Like CE Somerset Club, people were the main talking point for CE Cornwall Club. The club highlighted how value is centred around key players working openly and honestly together to create an outstanding reputation and set a precedent for the sector.
CE Devon Club were also in agreement about the role that people play in regards to procurement on value and started to explore what they could do as a club to make more positive changes moving forward. The members agreed to demonstrate best practice in their region to be able to share their learnings more widely across the industry.
Positive changes set for future
Andy Ferguson, Managing Director for Gallagher in Bristol, said: “It’s been incredibly valuable to be a part of the discussions at each event and this renowned leadership series.
“As sole sponsors, we believe in the difference we can make when we work together. It’s great to see how many people have given up their free time to not only attend but to also share their personal and professional experiences about working in the sector in a bid to make a positive difference to the future of the construction industry.”
Andrew Carpenter, CEO of CESW, adds: “Events like this create the perfect opportunity for key construction professionals to have open and honest conversations with like-minded people.
“Each leadership dinner has been well attended showing there is a big appetite in the South West to change and improve the current practices of the sector. We’re really looking forward to the remaining events and are confident lots of great things will follow this latest leadership dinner series.”
The remainder of the sessions will take place in the autumn and will be held in Bournemouth, Swindon, Cheltenham, Exeter and Bristol.
Announcement from Local Authority Building Control
“Some of you will be aware that LABC has been working for some time on initiatives to bring in new recruits to public service building control.
We all know that the building control profession has an aging demographic, and that the requirements of the Building Safety Act will bring additional responsibilities to building control, alongside more stringent requirements for Registration of the profession and Operational Standards and Rules for both public and private sector. All these factors mean that we desperately need to bring new people into the profession, to ensure that we have enough competent people to make the proposed building safety regime work – so that people are safe and feel safe in their homes, where they work and where they play.
We are seeking around 150 new people across England from a wide and diverse range of backgrounds, ages and experience. We are working closely with organisations that support ex-military personnel and with sixth form colleges and other careers services.
New recruits will be taken on a 3-year contract with attractive pay plus fully funded education up to degree level. They will be seconded into local authority building control where they will gain their experiential learning. After 3 years they will be released for permanent employment in local authority teams.
I’m delighted to say that the application process has gone live today, and we will be running assessment centres in London, Manchester and Birmingham in the next few weeks.
I would be very grateful if you could share a link on your social media / comms channels to get information about this opportunity out to as many people as possible.
More information can be found in our press release https://www.labc.co.uk/news/local-authority-building-control-launch-funded-trainee-scheme and by clicking through these links:
- Job advert and application portal https://opuspeoplesolutions.co.uk/job/trainee-building-control-surveyor
- LABC pages: www.labc.co.uk/new-entrants https://www.labc.co.uk/node/5178
Thank you to our colleagues in CABE, CIOB and RICS for supporting this initiative and of course to colleagues in DLUHC and HSE for their tireless work on the building safety programme.”
Please do get in touch if you want any further information Lorna Stimpson: firstname.lastname@example.org Chief Executive, LABC
NMITE has created two 12-week professional short courses in timber engineering and design (TED1 and TED2) that will be delivered in partnership with Edinburgh Napier University and Timber Development UK. The first course will launched on 26th September 2022 (CLICK HERE TO SEE OVERVIEW). It’s aim is to have both TED courses recognised by CIOB and CIAT
Applications are now live and can be accessed at Timber Technology Engineering Design 1 (Timber TED 1) (nmite.ac.uk). The new, purpose-built “Living Lab”- the Centre for Advanced Timber Technology – will be handed over on 1st September, and NMITE look forward to welcoming the first cohort of professional learners for a residential week on 26th September. There are more exciting projects and events taking shape that will run from the CATT Living Lab from Autumn onwards and these will be shared in due course.
NMITE would really appreciate your help in making this first TED short course a success. Industrial uptake of these short courses will help maintain CATT’s momentum, and demonstrate demand for a BSc in Sustainable Built Environment (launching Sept 2023) which will have timber as a core material.
Please support this important work by nominating a built environment professional in your organisation or network who will benefit from structured professional development in timber engineering design, an expanded professional network, career acceleration, and who is capable of creating value return for the sector and making a positive contribution to addressing the climate crisis.
NMITE are at an advanced stage in securing funding to support the tuition fees of some pioneer learners so please do encourage them to apply at the link above, and do encourage them to get in touch if they need any support in the application process. And finally, do support this work by sharing this opportunity in your networks.
Construction leaders and professionals from across Taunton and the surrounding areas attended an event designed to focus on some of the biggest challenges currently facing the industry.
Held at Castle Hotel, Taunton, the event was organised by Constructing Excellence South West (CESW) – a member-led organisation designed to drive positive change in construction – and chaired by Andrew Carpenter, CEO of CESW, and Liz Bennett, Director of Safety in Design.
The evening was well attended by a variety of key clients, contractors and developers who each shared their thoughts on climate crisis, building safety and the value toolkit.
Sponsored by global business insurance broker Gallagher, participants were quick to get involved and share their personal experiences and recommendations on how the industry can come together to successfully tackle the net-zero targets, changes to building safety and deliver value.
Liz Bennett, Chair of Constructing Excellence Somerset Club, said: “This event forms part of a wider programme being rolled out by Constructing Excellence South West. It was great to be able to run a specific session in Taunton and to hear the views of those who work in the construction industry every day.
“Everyone was incredibly passionate about the topics being discussed throughout the evening, and it was clear to see how collaboration can play a fundamental role in tackling some of the ongoing issues facing the sector.
“Without Constructing Excellence South West and Gallagher the evening wouldn’t have been possible. Thank you to both organisations who helped to make the event a great success.”
Cheryl Phillips, Managing Director for Gallagher in Exeter, said: “This event in Taunton has shown once again how much can be achieved when people and businesses come together to tackle common issues.
“It was great to be able to support this event and to contribute to the discussions in overcoming challenges and embracing positive change in building safety and our part to play in reaching net-zero targets. Collaboration is key to change, and we’re delighted to be a part of that.”
This event forms part of a wider leadership dinner series being rolled out across the region by Constructing Excellence South West. Future sessions are scheduled for the autumn and have been arranged to be held in Bournemouth, Swindon, Cheltenham, Exeter and Bristol.
Construction Innovation Hub have released their latest video showing how the Value Toolkit will be the catalyst from cost based to value-based decision making.
The purpose of the short Survey conducted on the 18th and 19th July 2022 was to find out from people:
• How important they think Collaboration and Working Collaboratively is;
• Ascertain how much time they spend in Working Collaboratively in delivering successful contracts and projects;
• Whether they had undertaken and training in Collaboration and Working Collaboratively; and
• If so, how long was this training.
The people contacted were from a data base of those who had attended one or more of the Constructing Excellence Zoom webinars hosted by LeadersMeets between 2020 and 2022.
Kane has 10 years experience in the construction industry, and the recurring theme throughout his podcast is the ‘variety’ the industry has to offer. Whether this is in terms of technical skills (from heavy plant/machinery to hard landscaping), the types of projects (such as commercial business parks, residential developments, and remedial works), or the general variety each day at work brings (both on and off-site).
A fantastic listen for understanding more about the role of groundworkers in the construction industry.
Kane also gives some brilliant advice on how we can attract the younger generation to the construction industry. In particular, Kane suggests re-vamping the work experience scheme, so instead of learners spending 2 weeks in the same role, they spend slightly longer (e.g. 6 weeks) spread across different roles (e.g. 6 roles). This will maximise learners’ exposure to the working world, and ultimately help them make a decision about where to take their career.
Please share with anyone you think might be interested in joining the industry, and would benefit from hearing more about the variety of roles and opportunities available.
This podcast is also available on Apple podcasts and Spotify by searching “Generation for Change”.
According to Alice Cooper, “School’s out for summer.” But there’s little respite for construction learners as we continue to respond to the conveyor belt of change that keeps delivering up ever more challenges. To name just two in our learning inbox – how to respond to the Building Safety Act and tackle the growing climate crisis.
This month, Martyn Jones reaffirms the need for learning to respond to these challenges but more specifically probes our ability or capacity to absorb and exploit the enormous and ever-growing amount of information and knowledge available to us.
What do we mean by absorptive capacity? Well, it’s the measure of an organisation’s ability to identify, assimilate, transform, and use external knowledge, research and practice for the benefit of the organisation. Put simply, it’s a measure of an organisation’s ability to learn and to make use of that learning for value creation and increasing competitive advantage.
The model of absorptive capacity provided in the diagram above breaks it down into its component parts. It starts with knowledge sources that are available. And there are many sources of external knowledge available to us including our partners in project teams and supply chains. We all know how much we rely on the knowledge on offer from specialist and trade contractors and material and component manufacturers.
And beyond the boundaries of supply chains there’s the knowledge to be harvested from trade and professional bodies, universities and, of course, Constructing Excellence’s offerings through events, Here to Learn workshops, case studies, guides to best practice and the excellent Construction Webinar Series offered in partnership with LeadersMeets.
As can be seen from the diagram, at the heart of absorptive capacity are mechanisms for learning, innovation and value creation, which are needed to transform and exploit potential knowledge capacity and convert it into realised capacity.
The final step in the model are the outcomes: The emergence of increased competitive advantage through enhanced performance, innovation and the shaping of new value propositions.
The clearest and ultimate measure of the effectiveness of our learning and absorptive capacity is the extent to which we increase our competitive advantage. For example, more satisfied customers, less defects, less waste, less carbon, more value, enhanced reputation, increased profitability.
And we can measure our performance in each part of the model too by scoring ourselves against these typical challenging statements.
- New knowledge plays an important part in our business strategy
- We are aware of developments in the outside world and how and in what directions competitors, legislation, technologies and ways of working are changing
- We are good at acquiring, evaluating and assimilating new knowledge from outside our organisation and connecting it to our people inside our teams who need to know
- We are good at matching new knowledge from outside our organisation with what we already know inside to create new products, services, and processes
- We work with universities and other institutes to support our development activities
- We’re good at translating the knowledge of our customers and suppliers into something we can use in our business
- We have mechanisms and procedures in place to support learning and to manage and continuously update our knowledge
- We are growing our business through offering a steady stream of new knowledge-based products and services
- We carry out post-project reviews and uses the learning to improve what we do next time around
- We measure how our learning and absorptive capacity is increasing our competitive advantage
After helping create CESW in 2003 and spending the last nine years as Chief Executive, I have decided the time has come for me to step down from my role. This decision has been difficult and is affected by my other commitments as Chief Executive of both the Structural Timber Association and CE Midlands. In the case of the STA, I have been asked to sit on a new Government Working Group to ‘safely increase the amount of timber used in construction’ and this work will take a significant additional amount of my time.
When it comes to Constructing Excellence, I believe CE Midlands is in more need of my help in running the region and so I have come to the reluctant conclusion that it is CESW from which I must stand down. My final day will be Thursday 24th November 2022 at the AGM in Taunton and I do hope as many of you as possible will join me for our annual luncheon.
Our chair, Dan Macey, has been exceedingly kind in his comments about my departure saying that my contribution to the construction industry during my 5 decades is significant. He went on to say that there is no doubt that CESW’s membership, profile and success within the sector and across the supply chain, are down to my energy, enthusiasm, knowledge, contacts and sheer passion for ‘best practice and that under my leadership, we have made great progress in setting best practice standards, through seminars, workshops, conferences and summits, published valuable guidance and by celebrating outstanding achievements in our annual CESW Awards. I am humbled by these kind words and am glad that my legacy is considered to be a positive one.
I look forward to seeing the board grow and develop this legacy for the benefit of our members and the wider construction industry. I’m confident I hand over the baton to a talented and hard-working board of directors to take this excellent organisation from strength to strength. I will be maintaining an interest in my position as CEO of CE Midlands whilst sitting on the Constructing Excellence Regional Partnership board. It will undoubtedly be onwards and upwards for CESW.
I would like to thank all Board, G4C, Club and Theme Group members for their time, knowledge, dedication & friendship and the entire membership for helping to make my time with CESW such fun. I would also like to place on record my thanks to the CESW internal team without whom the growth in membership and influence would not have been possible.