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Constructing Excellence South West has launched a report exploring how to attract younger generations to a career in an ageing industry.

With almost half of employees in construction aged between 45 and 65, the Constructing the Future report outlines detailed recommendations to help evolve the industry to ensure it’s filled with new talent, skills, ideas and ways of working.

Designed to drive real change and combat the ongoing skills shortage, the report examines the current issues surrounding recruiting the next generation, and explores how to engage with and encourage school leavers to consider a career in construction and engineering.

The Generation for Change South West (G4CSW) is the sub-group of CESW responsible for implementing the recommendations listed in the Constructing the Future report. As the professional voice of young people in the UK built environment, G4CSW is committed to engage with the future leaders of the industry to show them the range of opportunities that lie ahead.

Andrew Carpenter, CEO of CESW, said: “Our latest report closely examines the existing issues surrounding the recruitment of the next generation of construction employees. It explores the attitudes and perceptions which influence career decisions and highlights the barriers which may be stopping younger people from applying for a career in construction and engineering.

“By reviewing the schemes already in place, G4CSW has developed a more effective, targeted and creative approach which is more likely to resonate with school leavers as they begin planning their futures.

“With an aging workforce, now is the time to make a real difference and provide an industry of opportunity for the next generation. Further action must be taken to recruit more young people into construction roles, and our list of recommendations highlight exactly how this can be done.”

To read the Constructing the Future report CLICK HERE

This is the time of the year we reflect on times past and the year ahead.  And let’s face it, 2021 was such a mixed bag that Martyn Jones was reminded of the first lines of Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities:  “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness.”

Dickens suggested an age of radical opposites taking place at the same time, which just about sums up construction in the last year or two.  Let’s start with some positives. The winners of the 2021 CESW Awards yet again demonstrated what the very best of construction can achieve. The submissions demonstrated how clients and their advisers and supply chains worked collaboratively, creatively and with agility to deliver excellent outcomes despite the pandemic, labour and material shortages, and supply chain disruption.

On the other hand, the revelations from the Grenfell inquiry have vividly and excruciatingly confirmed the other much less attractive side of our industry and its underlying weaknesses. We already knew that some clients and their advisors, designers, main and specialist contractors, and the suppliers of materials and components have all conspired in a race to the bottom.  Successive governments haven’t helped either with their light-touch approach to regulation. And then there are the parts played by ineffective control of quality and weak component testing regimes.

How come we’ve ended up with such contrasting cultures, approaches and behaviours in the same industry?  How come we have a two-tier system with some sections of the industry fully buying into the Rethinking Construction/Constructing Excellence agendas and others that clearly are not?  Why haven’t we all recognised the need for the leadership across the whole operating system to deliver outcomes focused on best value rather than lowest price?

The main reason is that many clients, their advisers, and suppliers often fall for the lure of the short-term when we all know that most construction projects are expected to go on providing value for many years over their lifetime.  But, for some, the short-term view has had much appeal: what is the cheapest cost for delivering my project NOW?  Will I even be around to see the longer-term benefits or weaknesses of the project? And, even if I may be, will I be held to account for disappointing longer-term performance?  Will anyone consider how better the project could have been if we had spent more time considering the safety and functionality of the completed project?  (The Grenfell inquiry is answering all the above questions and reminding us that chickens do eventually come home to roost.)

Downstream in the process this approach often persists too.  Subcontracts are often let in a similar fashion on the basis of lowest price for THIS project, not potential future projects where a specialist may be able to work with a main contractor to not only provide value for the client in terms of improved project outcomes but also to enhance the main contractor’s reputation, add mutual competitive advantage and secure future work.

So, what should be our collective resolve for 2022?  Surely, given the evidence from the Grenfell inquiry coupled with the increasingly clear features of the emerging 4th industrial revolution (4IR), now is the time to commit to a recalibration of our values, culture, operating system, procurement approaches and business models. This is a hugely ambitious agenda but the disruption that we have experienced over the past two years could be seen as preparing us for the radial and systemic changes that are needed.

We could start by unlearning our old habits and behaviours that have been so painfully laid bare by the Grenfell inquiry.  We need to learn new things about ourselves, our relationships with each other and how we go about responding to the emerging technological-economic-social paradigm.  We need to better understand the needs of external and internal customers and our planet throughout the whole life cycle of our products.  We need to build better, more value-focused interorganisational relationships, promote more transparent and integrated processes, and reward good behaviour.

In short, we need to fashion a new compact between clients and their suppliers of construction products and services in a race to the top – not to the bottom.  In this race to the top, we need to be a force for good embracing environmental imperatives and adding social value. We need to blur the boundaries between the physical, digital, and biological worlds. We need to embrace the advances in technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, the Internet of Things (IoT), 3D printing, genetic engineering, and quantum computing whist shaping them to the specificities of the built environment – never forgetting that the built environment is designed, built and operated by people for people and that these technologies need to be humanised so that they address our needs.

Given this radical yet humanised agenda for change It looks like being yet another busy year for CESW, particularly for our new Theme Groups providing the thought leadership needed in SMART Construction, the Climate Crisis, Building Safety and Future Skills.

Digital Construction Skills are delighted to announce the launch of a new service for Constructing Excellence South West members for 2022.  DCS have received funding from CITB to provide free mentoring support to help you adopt new digital tools and ways of working. There are no forms to fill in, simply book a 15, 30 or 60-minute with a digital construction specialist to get started.

 

This mentoring support of up to 10 hours per company, is delivered by Digital Construction Skills and is aimed at SME construction company owners, directors or senior managers with responsibility for business improvement or digital change in your company.

 

All the mentors on this programme have recent, real-world experience on the front line of the construction industry and are specialists in the technical and commercial aspects of digital construction including digitalising information flow and physical elements such as 3D models and reality capture.

 

Your mentor can help you wherever you are on your digital journey, for example if you:

Here’s what others have said about the support they have received:

 

Digital Construction Skills helped us access funding to help us train our staff in a new digital platform we are rolling out across our business.” – Andy Dalrymple, Managing Director, Mackenzie Construction

 

Within our first session with Digital Construction Skills, we identified the types of digital tools which could help us save time and money and ruled out the ones that weren’t relevant to us.” – Keith Burrell, CEO, Procladd (Scotland) Ltd

 

Thanks to free support from Digital Construction Skills, I am adding several new revenue streams to my business including carrying out drone surveys and setting out construction works.” – Ed Clement, Owner, Patterson Bailey Engineers

 

The support helped us get all the right people together in one room, and get to the point where we were able to make a clear decision on the priority areas for digital tools.” – David Minns, Operations Director,

GAC Environmental

Andrew Carpenter, Chief Executive opening remarks for January 2022 newsletter

 

It with immense pleasure that I welcome you to the first CESW Newsletter of 2022. Late last year your board had an Away Day to agree the way forward for 2022 and beyond and this has resulted in a re-structing of our Theme Groups. We hope by focussing on the ‘key’ topics of the moment this will add value to both individual members and their organisations. All members are encouraged to put forward participants in one of our four new Theme Groups as below:

  1. Climate Crisis
  2. Building Safety
  3. Future Skills
  4. Smart Construction (Digital & Offsite)

In addition, the board has identified three cross-cutting strands that will be weaved into each of our Theme Groups as follows:

  1. Procurement on Value
  2. Health & Wellbeing
  3. Equality, Diversity & Inclusion

 

We are delighted that the links with the key UK wide construction sector agendas are being expanded and our influence is growing to ensure the South West is well represented on the national stage. In particular I would draw your attention to the following in which we are already involved:

  1. The Value Toolkit with Construction Innovation Hub Value Toolkit – Construction Innovation Hub
  2. Building Safety Charter with Considerate Contractors Building a Safer Future – Building Safety Starts with You
  3. Construct Zero with Construction Leadership Council CO2nstructZero » Construction Leadership Council

 

You will note that there is very much a joined-up approach with our Theme Groups feeding into the national agenda and vice versa. As the year progresses, we hope that our Best Practice Clubs will pick up on this same agenda to complete the end-to-end communication channel.

 

To add value to our movement I am delighted to say that our G4C movement is really beginning to take shape under the expert leadership of Lizzy Painter. Most notable have been the series of podcasts produced throughout 2021 and the Constructing the Future report launched in November last at our AGM. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Andrew Goodenough, Andrew Brown, Gordon Brown, and Lizzy for their work in compiling this report which will undoubtedly focus minds and be a central influence on our priorities going forward.

 

We are excited about the prospect of returning to something more like normal when it comes to events in 2022 and with that in mind we have a packed programme in store for members and supporters which may be viewed here: Events Planner – Constructing Excellence SW. Obviously, this will be COVID willing, and we will keep you posted on an event-by-event basis. In particular we are very excited to have recently launched our 2022 Awards About the awards – Constructing Excellence SW. The deadline for entries is 11th March 2022 but please do not leave it until the last minute, get your entry in early and take advantage of the early bird ticket offer. Do not forget you have to be in in to win it! We do have a few sponsorship packages still available if you are interest. Please contact me at Andrew.carpenter@cesw.org.uk. The regular Friday webinars, which have proved so valuable since their Launch in 2021, will continue with the first one this coming Friday 14th January 2022 when we welcome Richard Smith of NHBC to discuss all matters MMC Webinars – Constructing Excellence SW

 

Finally, I would say that we are on a bit of a membership drive currently so if you know of any organisation who has not signed up yet, please give me their contact details and we will do the rest.

 

May I wish you a happy and prosperous New Year and say I look forward to collaborating with you in the coming months and to seeing you at one or more events throughout the year.

We are planning an exciting array of events and activities for 2022 most of which will provide members and supporters with excellent sponsorship opportunities. If you would like to discuss any of the events listed below, please contact me via email at andrew.carpenter@cesw.org.

I look forward to hearing from you shortly and will deal with enquiries on a first come first served basis.

Yours sincerely,

Two of the most influential construction procurement bodies Crown Commercial Service and SCAPE have adopted the Building a Safer Future (BSF) initiative and are embedding it within their frameworks.

Demonstrating clear sectoral leadership and taking proactive steps and action ahead of regulation, the procurement organisations will use their influence to drive change through their UK wide partner and supply chain networks.

The adoption of BSF will support the construction industry to address critical areas of challenge in relation to building safety – particularly focussed on driving a step change in culture and leadership.

Crown Commercial Service and SCAPE will include both ‘BSF Champion’ status and ‘Registered Signatory’ status as requirements at different levels within their procurement frameworks and, working with BSF, will collaborate to encourage industry-wide adoption of this important initiative.

The BSF Charter was created to drive culture change in the built environment to help ensure that buildings are safe for those living and working in them and to protect life by putting safety first, ahead of all other building priorities. It is focussed on driving up standards, changing culture and behaviours and raising the bar in relation to building safety from design through to management and maintenance.

Construction companies can engage through becoming:

Crown Commercial Service is an executive agency of the Cabinet Office and the UK’s largest public procurement organisation. They offer the largest construction frameworks in the country, driving industry change in support of the Government’s construction strategy

SCAPE is one of the UK’s leading public sector procurement authorities, dedicated to creating spaces and places that leave a sustainable legacy within the community. The SCAPE group of companies also includes Arc Partnership, an innovative joint venture between SCAPE and Nottinghamshire County Council and Lungfish Architects. Each of the companies within SCAPE have committed to adopting the principles contained within the BSF Charter and to participating themselves in the BSF Champions programme where this is applicable.

Amanda Long, Chief Executive, Building a Safer Future, said: “I am delighted that two major procurement frameworks, Crown Commercial Service and SCAPE have chosen to adopt Building a Safer Future as a critical lever of change. This trailblazing development will further support the construction industry to take the critical steps to put building safety first, and recognise those that do so. I encourage other procurement frameworks to follow their lead.”

Here are links to press coverage that CESW has had in December

Creative Building Magazine – CESW launches 2022 Awards

Building Products – CESW awards set for 2022 return

Construction.co.uk – Dan Macey appointed new chair of CESW

BDC Magazine – Dan Macey appointed new chair of CESW

BDC Magazine – Industry leaders gather for crucial CESW Summit

Building Products – CESW brings indusrty leaders together at Exeter Summit

BDC magazine social posts about the Construction Summit:

LinkedIn

Twitter

PBC Today reports “Constructing Excellence South West (CESW) has appointed Dan Macey as the new chair, to lead a strategy for positive change in the construction industry.

Macey will work with the board and CESW partners to develop and lead a strategy that will positively shape the future of the South West construction industry. With six years of experience on the CESW board already under his belt, Macey said: “Construction faces challenges around safety and hitting net zero carbon targets and we must come together collaboratively to find the solution.”

Read full article on PBC Today HERE

Two Bristol Housing Reports have been published by the Bristol Housing Festival

One (BRE) looking at MMC data and two (BCC and the whole consortium) looking at the project and how BCC was able to learn lessons about how best to unlock MMC.

Enabling Housing Innovation for Inclusive Growth: Project Summary https://www.bristolhousingfestival.org.uk/resources/ehifrg-final-report

In April 2020, a consortium of partners was awarded an Innovate UK grant for their project Enabling Housing Innovation for Inclusive Growth. This project was led by YTKO and included Bristol City Council, Bristol Housing Festival, BRE, Arcadis, Unit 9, and nine leading modular housing companies.

This is an 18-month programme working with multiple partners towards the delivery of a major Research, Development, and Innovation project in the use of Modern Methods of Construction (MMC).

This report summarises the outputs from the project from the consortium of partners and the lessons learnt throughout the project.

Benefits of Modern Methods of Construction in housing: Performance data and case studies 

https://www.bristolhousingfestival.org.uk/resources/bre-report

Bristol projects featured twice at COP26 – Watch this A ten-minute film on the Innovate UK funded project https://www.bristolhousingfestival.org.uk/news/2021/hoperisecop26

COP26 reaffirmed the need to combat climate change and our CEO neatly encapsulated the challenge we in the built environment face: “[We] are responsible for a shocking 40% of global carbon emissions – and that means when it comes to achieving a net zero future, building matters. The sector has an urgent responsibility to reduce its carbon footprint.”

This will require innovation at scale and pace. This month Martyn Jones explores the role of trust  in crafting the innovativeness that is needed to play out part in achieving net-zero.

By definition, innovation is about doing something new and different.  It involves exploring unknown territory.  On beginning the journey, we are not entirely sure of the final destination. There is no certainty, little transparency and therefore considerable risk.

Trust is needed if people are to work together, take risks and be comfortable with not knowing the exact outcome.  And the more radical the innovation the greater the possible reward, but also the greater the risk.  Innovation at scale requires a high tolerance of uncertainty and potential loss, and it is trust that carries people through.

But trust is very complex, not clearly defined and interpreted differently by the literature. It is commonly associated with the confidence that a partner will deliver the required mutually beneficial behaviour and desired outcomes.

Our experience of adopting Supply Chain Management in construction over the past 20 years or so has demonstrated that trust needs to be painstakingly developed beyond the basic ‘contractual trust’ and developing into ‘competence trust’, as partners demonstrate their accomplishments over time.  ‘Goodwill trust’ emerges where partners driven by mutual benefits do more than expected, going beyond predictability and reliability and surpassing past achievements.

What distinguishes ‘goodwill trust’ from ‘contractual trust’ is the expectation in the former that the partners commit to taking initiatives to exploit new opportunities over and above what was explicitly promised.  The key difference here is that a partner is not only looking after their own interests but is also seeking to offer their partner a competitive advantage too.  If both partners do the same then the combined efforts of both will lead to better outcomes and build mutual competitive advantage.

When asking people, as we are now, to go through a major transformation, trust is vital.  Given the current imperatives to combat climate change we need to go beyond  ‘goodwill trust’ to ‘goodwill trust +’, or ‘co-creation trust’, to unleash the radical innovation that is now needed.  As we did back in the 1990s, when clients and suppliers took a leap in trust to adopt the new technologies and ways of working associated with the ICT revolution, we need to take that leap now. But alongside that we also learnt how difficult it is to change and to place faith in each other.

So how do we get people and organisations to take the leap of faith that is needed to repair the planet?  Leaders entering a joint innovation partnership with existing long-term partners may well already have the required levels of ‘goodwill trust’ in place to support the co-creativity and innovation that is needed.

But, the current nature and scale of the changes we face means that we will need to forge relationships with new partners, and quite possibly with those who are currently to be found outside construction. This means we may need to remind ourselves of the keys to building creative partnerships:

We must not forget that change is not just about technology.  We are dealing with an innately human process and there are some key human traits that we need to be aware of when it comes to building trust, especially on this scale.

Of course, there must be technical competence, experience, perceptiveness, and judgement in the partnership but beyond those we also need benevolence: How much partners care. And, empathy: How much understanding they have for each other’s needs and the situation? And then there’s integrity: Whether the partners’ intentions are aligned.

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