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New figures that reveal the number of administrations in the construction industry increased in July show that more needs to be done to support the future of the industry1.

The spike in company insolvencies, ongoing supply chain issues, skills shortages and, the climate crisis may encourage proactive organisations, operating in this sector, to step up and drive positive change throughout the industry.

One organisation in particular that is charged with improving performance to create 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.

Andrew Carpenter, CEO of Constructing Excellence South West, said: “The best way to tackle ongoing issues, influence change in the sector, and make a real difference is through cross-sector collaboration across all levels of the supply chain – and Constructing Excellence South West is designed to do just this.

“From offering practical support and creating opportunities to network with like-minded people from the sector, our membership guarantees a host of benefits to professionals within this industry.”

With over 200 South West members, CESW is well-established among the key players working in the region.

Emma Osmundsen, Managing Director of Exeter City Living, is a longstanding member of CESW and currently sits on the board. She said: “I was initially interested in being a member of CESW because the organisation offered such a varied and interesting agenda of activities, events, and conferences across both construction and development.

“As I became more involved with CESW and its invaluable networking opportunities, I soon realised how being a member has helped to widen my professional network and broaden my knowledge of the industry.

“As a member, not only have I been given the chance to join the regional board but I’ve also helped to influence the policy and direction of construction in the UK – contributing to how the industry becomes more diverse, skilled, and sustainable.

“I would certainly recommend becoming a CESW member because it’s a true investment for both individuals working in the built environment and for the future excellence of the industry as a whole.”

Constructing Excellence South West’s CEO has been crowned the winner of an incredible regional property and construction award.

Andrew Carpenter has been voted the Property Personality of the Year at the 2022 South West Property Awards.

Returning for the fifteenth consecutive year, the awards recognise outstanding achievements of the people, businesses and organisations which have played a vital role in the design and development of the built environment in the South West region.

Since joining the construction sector 45 years ago, Andrew has worked tirelessly and was selected for his contribution during Covid-19 and beyond where he created opportunities for construction professionals across the South West to regularly collaborate via webinars, dinners or debates.

“I can’t quite believe that I was voted the South West Property Personality of the Year,” comments Andrew.

“At Constructing Excellence South West we’re passionate about supporting the industry and wanted to make sure we continued to engage with our members throughout the pandemic. So, we designed and launched a brand-new weekly webinar series covering a wide range of industry topics to keep people informed and consulted.

“It’s fantastic to win this award and I’m incredibly proud to have been nominated by the judges and chosen by the ballot.”

Constructing Excellence South West is a member-led organisation created to drive the change agenda in construction across the South West region. It exists to improve industry performance to produce a better-built environment and operates for the good of the construction industry and its stakeholders.

I write my final Newsletter introduction for CESW with mixed feelings in that I’m both very sorry to be leaving an organisation that I helped create in 2003 but happy I leave an organisation in a very strong position both in terms of membership and influence.

It was in 2003 that Tom Harper, Mark Giltsoff, Trish Johnson and I worked together as a ‘gang of four’ to create Constructing Excellence South West. The launch took place at Somerset County Cricket Ground and so it’s fitting my farewell performance will take place at the same venue. My involvement in the early years was restricted to the organisation of the annual awards until in 2013 I was asked to become Chief Executive. At that time we had come out of a severe recession and in effect there was no regional body only three clubs in Bristol, Gloucestershire and Plymouth all of whom had managed to weather the storm of the recession.

My first job was to create a structure that would provide a sustainable organisation going forward. To do this I asked key figures from across the South West supply chain if they thought we needed CESW, if I was the man to lead it, whether they would sit on the board and also pay for the privilege! I’m delighted to say we got a very good list of volunteers, and the rest is history, so they say! Of that original board I would like to pay tribute to our inaugural chair and vice chair, Rob Knight and David Renwick, and the only board member still standing Andrew Goodenough for their vision, support and dedication. We owe them a huge debt of gratitude as it is upon their foundation, we see the successful organisation today that is CESW.

The next job was to build on the aforementioned three clubs by breathing new life into Cornwall, Devon & Exeter, Dorset and Swindon & Wiltshire Clubs and create new ones in Bath and Somerset. Plymouth and Exeter have merged to form the Devon Club, but Dorset still stands alone. I thank all the club chairs over the years for their huge contribution in ensuring the two-way communication with the construction industry coalface and the ability to provide two-way communication channel for best practice.

It was important that CESW was not a ‘talking shop’ and we were able provided best practice collateral that could be used by the industry at large to improve the performance of the UK construction industry which was of course our elevator pitch whenever we were asked ‘what does CE do?’ To do this we set up a series of working Theme Groups, initially nine subsequently reduced to six and now further reduced to four. They have worked tirelessly over the years to identify gaps in knowledge and then bring together experts to fill those gaps and provide best practice documents that may be used throughout the sector. I am in awe of the knowledge and time Theme Group members have been prepared to share with CESW to provide this excellent collateral. I would like to place on record my personal thanks to Martyn Jones who got the ball rolling in 2014 with our first documents on procurement best practice and who has been the driving force behind their success ever since.

The origins of Rethinking Construction have always concentrated on making our sector a better place to work and with this in mind we set up our own G4C movement for those of thirty-five and under i.e., our future leaders. Over the years we have had a succession of chairs, all committed to the cause, and this is very much the case now with Lizzy Painter building on the success of Lisa Denby in providing a vibrant group of young professionals all committed to the principles of collaborative working. The recent highlight has been a series of podcasts arranged by the group to promote construction as a career. In addition, for three years, thanks to the generosity of Southern Construction Framework we ran a very successful Adopt a School campaign to improve the image of construction and promote it as a career of choice.

Over my nine years as Chief Executive we have organised several very successful conferences, summits, workshops, webinars, podcasts and of course Awards ceremonies all dedicated to showcasing best practice and providing networking opportunities for like-minded forward-thinking people all of whom who share our best practice principles and passion for change. I will miss my involvement with CESW but will maintain my interest from afar as a member of the Constructing Excellence Regional Partnership in my capacity as Chief Executive of Constructing Excellence Midlands.

I conclude this introduction by wishing Dan Macey and the current board all the very best in taking CESW onwards and upwards. It’s time for my baby to fly the nest and I know I leave the organization in excellent hands. I look forward to seeing it mature and blossom as its membership and influence continues to grow. As I’ve said for nineteen years the only constant in life is change and now that change includes my departure.

I thank all members, both old and current, for their support, dedication and sense of humour. We’ve built CESW on trust and goodwill and those values will stand the organization in good stead going forward into an even brighter future.

Thank you.

Andrew Carpenter

CESW would like to congratulate our first cohort of successful graduates of the CE Diploma in Collaboration in Construction.

The certificates were presented to the following graduates at UKCW 2022 in Birmingham last month: Andrew Clayton, Darren Wallace, Jamie Conde, Joe O’Boyle, Kelly Humphries, Kubra Sari, Matt Moe, Richard Vickers, Steve Hunter, Ele George and Rob Faro

Next year’s Diploma starts in January 2023, you can download the prospectus here

The Diploma is a ten month online course on one half day a month followed by additional reading material and homework

Ele George, one of this year’s graduates said “I would highly recommend this diploma people working across all specialisms in the industry. The course has been a great way to understand from a board range of construction professionals how and why we must adopt new approaches in construction. From writing a project brief to setting a company vision, the key learning is that collaboration and early engagement are essential if we want to share the risk but also share the reward.

The 2022 Constructing Excellence South West Construction Summit takes place next week at Lulsgate House, Bristol Airport on the 8th November. Kindly sponsored by the South West Procurement Alliance SWPA

A major event for the South West construction industry, this year’s summit will focus on best practice and how collaborative working, integrated supply chains and lean processes can positively affect the productivity of the sector.

Industry leaders and professionals from construction, housing and infrastructure will come together for the half-day conference which will also look at the opportunities and challenges facing the industry, paying particular attention to current market conditions and the direct impact this has on the sector.

The agenda for this year’s Construction Summit is jam-packed and includes an impressive line-up of speakers. Ian Nicholson, from Construction Innovation Hub, will take to the stage discussing the importance of the value toolkit. He will be followed by Louise Lado-Byrnes of IPInitiatives who will lead an interesting talk on turning the construction playbook into oven-ready reality. While Allan Wilen, Economics Director, will discuss construction prospects and opportunities.

The afternoon session will then turn its attention to talks from the four Constructing Excellence South West Theme Group Chairs.

As each theme group focuses on a specific area impacting the industry, the chair will share an update on their activity which explores both the improvements that can be made in the sector and identifies examples of best practice throughout the region.

Imogen Snell will kick start with an overview on the Climate Crisis Theme Group’s activities, while Richard Kochanski will share an update on building safety.

Then, to round-off the day’s discussions, Mary Bennell will update on smart construction looking closely at how it can address the climate and economic crisis, and Natalie Bell will share an overview on the activity undertaken by the Future Skills Theme Group.

Andrew Carpenter, CEO of Constructing Excellence South West, said: “As a member-led organisation designed to drive change throughout the South West region, we regularly organise events like this to bring together industry professionals from across housing, infrastructure and construction.

“The built environment has a bad habit of working in silos but in order to tackle some of the biggest industry challenges, it needs to change tact and be far more collaborative.

“With the ongoing economic uncertainty, our construction summit comes at a pivotal time for the industry which needs to come together to take advantage of the opportunities which lie ahead.

“I’m delighted with our impressive line-up of speakers and look forward to sharing their knowledge with our CESW members and guests.”

To book a place at the summit please CLICK HERE

In a statement of the bleeding obvious, the planet, the country and construction are facing great uncertainties and major challenges on several fronts. Assembling a cluster of policies and strategies to get us out of the current political and economic malaise to a more inclusive and fairer, net-zero economy will need ambitious and innovative missions that transform the entire economy.  As Martyn Jones argues this month, it will require a fundamental pivot away from “business as usual” within the current technological-economic-societal-legal-environmental paradigm.

With much of the world facing climate, health, energy, inequality and cost-of-living challenges, leaders have an opportunity – indeed an obligation – to articulate a meaningful alternative to current policymaking.  This will require conveying bold and coherent visions and missions to achieve more sustainable and equitable growth.

We need a progressive and inspirational economic agenda to transform the entire economy embracing all aspects of our lives including how we build, what we eat, our energy sources and how we get around. This will generate a real “green new deal” founded on sustainable and inclusive growth, with governments working with industry to set the direction of our journey and crowd ideas and investment, rather than cleaning up the messes left by bad policies and harmful business practices.

What will be the key drivers and strategies of the new “green and inclusive” paradigm?  Several publications by CESW and other thought leaders are already showing our direction of travel, starting with recognising the need for a clear break from the thinking that has shaped our policies and practices in the past.  That thinking needs to be replaced by a new positive narrative setting out the future with a fundamental reassessment of our core values (including integrity, reliability, honesty, courage, loyalty, concern for others) and how value is created.

Like the rest of the economy, construction needs a new, comprehensive, inclusive, equitable, and sustainable agenda for change.  This of course will require innovation, without which solutions to problems – be it a pandemic, climate change, or inequalities – will remain beyond our reach.

This – to coin a phrase – rethinking construction is already underway as in recent years the limitations of our current paradigm and ways of working have become more and more apparent.  And there are solutions emerging too.  For example, the Value Toolkit: a government-backed initiative designed to change the way we in construction, and particularly clients, think about and measure value.  It enables the kind of value-based decision making needed to drive better societal, environmental, and economic outcomes, and improve our industry’s legacy for future generations.

And then there are publications by CESW including the recently to be launched guide website, ‘The enlightened client’s journey to project quality and compliance’, and its 6 Ps (Purpose, People, Procurement, Product, Process, and Performance) that offers a dynamic, organic, and evolving framework for clients and their advisers to re-evaluate what they value in their organisations and projects and how they can work more effectively with the industry to deliver the transformative project outcomes that are needed.

We can also look to the theories and empirical evidence of technological and economic change for some insights into the likely shape of the emerging paradigm. From an analysis of previous techno-economic shifts we can anticipate that there will be key factor industries offering abundant supply at rapidly descending price.

Then there are main carrier branches (infrastructure has been a major carrier in previous paradigm shifts), and induced growth sectors in the new economy.  And other growth sectors growing rapidly from a small base.  A new skill profile affecting both quality and quantity of labour and corresponding patterns of income distribution. A new pattern in the location of national and international investment. And there will be changes too in regulatory regimes and features of our national system of innovation.

And of particular interest to Constructing Excellence, new best practices in the way in which firms are organised and the emergence of new forms of cooperation and competition.

Who will lead the transformation?  Britain, France, and Belgium led the explosive surge of interrelated innovations associated with the First techno-economic paradigm. The USA, Japan and Germany were at the forefront of the Fifth. Will Britain, construction and the South West be amongst the leaders in shaping the Sixth paradigm?

We are now mid-autumn where the months of September and October seem to be jam packed with Awards Events, Gala Dinners and Conferences. The Tux has already seen it’s fair share of action and the Taylor Lewis team were delighted to receive a winning award for our Passive Fire Project in the Health, Safety and Wellbeing category and a ‘Highly Commended’ in the Net Zero category, at the recent CESW awards in Bristol. Well done to all the shortlisted and winning companies and individuals!

At Taylor Lewis, it is that time of year for staff appraisals and pay reviews. I don’t think there has ever been a more important time in our business to support our staff both financially and from a wellbeing perspective, particularly given the current economic climate. Staff retention is so important for all businesses (especially SMEs), and we have really focused over the ‘post lockdown’ period to create a culture whereby staff feel valued and supported as we get use to this more hybrid working environment.

I would encourage all business owners/directors/partners, who don’t already, to consult with their staff to find out what drives them; what motivates them; what does their work mean to them and their families; and once you have this information, create a very clear business vision which aligns with the values of the staff.

As we are frequently reminded by CESW ‘Collaboration’ is a core value of the Construction Industry and I would encourage staff collaboration within your organisations to make sure the culture is as positive as it can be.

Having a constitution is important for a country as it sets out the laws accepted by the people generating trust between the government and citizens. This month Martyn Jones asks whether construction needs a formal “constitution” that more explicitly and formally reflects our purpose and values, and fosters greater trust in project teams and supply chains?

There has been much talk recently about the nature and viability of the British constitution. At moments during recent tumultuous times, questions have been asked about whether it is working well. In a similar vein, again during a turbulent period in construction, we have been debating whether we are working well, and whether we too need a more formal “constitution”, or set of overarching principles or code of practice.

Unlike most modern states, Britain does not have a codified constitution but an unwritten one formed of Acts of Parliament, court judgments and conventions. It exists as a complex web of institutions, processes, and responsibilities, understood through precedent as much as through its various documents and statutes.

Like the country, we in construction do not have a single codified “constitution” but one drawn from a complex web of sources including construction law – made up of legislation, various statutes, and subordinate legislation (regulations, orders etc) that govern the carrying out of construction operations; contract law; tort; and precedent.

Construction standards can be seen as part of construction’s “constitution” as they set out the specification of recommended procedures, quality of outputs, terminology, and other details in the making of a product, managing a process, delivering a service, or the supplying of materials.

Then there are codes of practice, although they do not carry the same force as legislation, they provide written guidelines issued by professional associations that lay out ethical standards for our professions, trades, occupations, and organisations.

And then there are our professional and trade bodies who play a significant role by maintaining an oversight of the knowledge, skills, conduct and practice of our disciplines and occupations.

At the level of the organisation, individual companies contribute by having constitutions containing the governing rules on how they can operate, including the ‘Memorandum of Association’, a legal statement signed by all initial shareholders or guarantors agreeing to form the company, and the ‘Articles of Association’ which specify how a company must be run, governed, and operated.

Then there is the influence of the rise of Supply Chain Management (SCM) and the growing adoption of Supply Chain Codes of Conduct that set out its principles and the values and behaviours expected both of customers and suppliers in our supply networks.

CESW has added to the amalgam of inputs to our “constitution” with our stated ambition for the industry: Committed leadership, a focus on the customer, integration of the process and team around the product, a quality driven agenda, and commitment to people.

And, a while back CESW’s former Procurement Theme Group members made their contribution to construction’s “constitution” by producing their Top 10 Principles for SCM. Surely well worth a revisit during this period of continuing turbulence and uncertainty and the legitimate questioning of our integrity.

Top 10 principles of SCM Having assembled the team using CESW’s Top 10 Principles of Procurement we now commit:

1. As clients and internal customers to communicate our desired outcomes clearly and unambiguously to suppliers along the supply chain

2. As consultants and suppliers to respond by making our client’s desired outcomes the central focus of supply chain activity Jointly

3. To creating an environment in which relationships are enhanced and supply chains work as collaboratively as possible within the chosen operating system and commercial and contractual arrangements

4. To adopting a process-oriented approach that crosses organisational boundaries, focuses on goals and ends rather than actions and means, relates all processes to internal and external customer (client) needs and seeks out opportunities to add value and reduce waste

5. To building mutual competitive advantage by fulfilling shared supply chain objectives whilst still meeting individual corporate objectives

6. To incentivising suppliers so that they are rewarded in ways that encourage them to deliver the desired outcomes to the required quality, on time and to budget, safely and without adversely affecting the health and wellbeing of people and harming the natural environment

7. To working proactively to avoid opportunistic behaviour and conflict and facilitate the early resolution of potential issues and disputes

8. To maintaining supplier accounts fairly and paying interim payments in full and in the agreed time and settling final accounts in a timely manner as set out in a Fair Payment Charter

9. To providing constructive feedback on areas for improvement and jointly exploring opportunities for learning and innovation

10. To celebrating success and working successfully together again.

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