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On the 22nd September we had great pleasure in commencing our first Diploma in Collaborative Working in Construction.

Following a year in the making we have brought together 13 candidates from the industry ranging from principal contractors, Procurement Frameworks, Clients & Consultants on a journey that will have them explore and learn all things collaborative from Leadership & Team Management, Lean and Continuous Improvement, the Value Toolkit and Construction Playbook through to Design for the Environment and Collaborative Forms of Contract.

To spend the first module with a group of industry representatives who are enthusiastic, passionate and committed to driving change through the sector was encouraging, welcome and a real honor.

It has to start somewhere and learning the theory, skills and tools from industry experts is not a bad place so, if you would like to enquire about further programme’s of this diploma, please do not hesitate to contact us

See the full brochure for our Diploma HERE

Marc Preite – NTU

To introduce myself, I am the new Chair for the G4C South West. We are the professional voice of young people in the UK built environment industry. Our agenda is to drive change in the industry, through the development and connection of the future leaders. Our South West contingent is particularly focused on encouraging school leavers to consider a career in the industry. On this basis, we produce a monthly podcast interviewing inspirational individuals in the industry about their passion and the vast range of opportunities available. Please have a listen (or share with someone you think would be interested) – https://audioboom.com/channels/5050671.

The G4C is something I am very proud of, and I look forward to expanding on our joint goals with Constructing Excellence South West. It is fundamentally important to share experience, knowledge and ideas across the industry, to help create a more cohesive force for change. If you would like to hear more about the G4C and what we do, please get in contact.

Moving onto my reflection of the last month. How is it October already?! The replacement of long evenings and al fresco dining with woolly jumpers and fingers twitching to turn on the heating, makes summer feel like a lifetime ago.

September brought the first major physical event in almost 2 years – the Constructing Excellence South West Awards 2021. A big congratulations to all involved. It was brilliant to celebrate the tremendous successes of our region, especially after such a long ‘face to face’ hiatus. From personal experience, I know this is the tip of the iceberg for physical events. G4C South West will also be hosting a breakfast event at the end of November. My local Constructing Excellence Club (Bath) also has a fantastic programme of site visits and social networking opportunities over the next few months. Remember to sign up to your local mailing list (and/or follow them on social media) for further information and tickets.

And finally, the petrol crisis. I’ll keep it brief, as my only comment is to note that the industry’s gradual movement from petrol/diesel business fleets and plant to more hybrid electrical models, appears to have helped it get through the initial stages of panic. That being said, such a crisis reiterates our nation’s reliance on fossil fuels. Another reminder (if we ever needed one!) to drive our climate change agenda, and achieve our Net Zero targets not only on site (for the delivery of carbon zero projects) but also within our infrastructure itself. In the words of Greta Thunberg, no more ‘blah blah blah’. Time to take action.

Lizzy Painter is a construction and engineering solicitor at Royds Withy King LLP, based in Bath (https://www.roydswithyking.com/solicitors-for-business/construction-and-engineering/). 

We all know the saying, “Nothing changes if nothing changes”. And if nothing changes, we remain the same. We don’t address failures of the past or exploit the opportunities of the future.  We don’t grow. We don’t progress. We don’t get better.

As we note in our guide Outcome-led procurement: A common sense approach to construction procurement,  Albert Einstein defined insanity as “doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result”.

Innovation, which breaks that repetitive and to many a largely unsatisfying cycle, is the focus of Martyn Jones’ Thought for the Month.

What is it?  We talk a lot about it and the term innovation is thrown about widely and promiscuously.  The most common and widely accepted definition is the application of new ideas.

But this is not sufficiently nuanced to be particularly helpful in understanding and managing innovation generally or in the context and culture of construction.  Let’s explore some important elements of innovation.

The first, is that it’s important!  It’s the essential means by which organisations – and indeed whole industries such as construction – change, survive and thrive.

Innovation is both an outcome and a process.  The innovative outcomes that have received the most attention in the past have been improved products, followed by improved processes and trailing some distance behind these, services.

These all remain important but innovation is also to be found in new markets, new ways of organising and operating, and new ways of fashioning the means to add value in business propositions and models.

We also need to be aware of the nature and dynamics of innovation and the myriad of contextual factors that shape innovation choices, including historical, social, economic, cultural, political, technological and legal.

A combination of both demand and supply is seen as a determinant of successful innovation.

Innovation is a multi-factor process depending on collaborative intra- and inter-organisational relationships.

Innovations cluster together to create new technological-economic-social paradigms

There is a significant spatial or geographical dimension to innovation with links between innovation and regional support and learning.

These elements shape the strategies and practices decision-makers use to decide what innovations to pursue, develop, implement and sustain in order to add value to their endeavours – which might include better economic performance, corporate and supply chain competitiveness and productivity, environmental sustainability, and in our case the quality of the built environment and the wellbeing of users.

And there’s the scope of innovations to consider too.  At the incremental end of the spectrum innovations occur in established markets, technologies, and ways of doing things that are close to existing practices.

At the other end of the spectrum, radical innovations involve breakthroughs in markets, technologies and ways of doing things very different from current practices. They are rare, largely unknowable but highly consequential.

Between these two levels on the innovation spectrum is the fertile ground that promises many substantial innovations that build on existing products, practices and technologies, but extends them and diversifies them into new ventures and areas.

But our innovative ambitions need to be tempered by the matter too of the risks, costs, uncertainties and timescales associated with innovation, the extent of which will depend upon the ambition and amplitude of the innovation.

Another consideration for the fervent  innovator: The best returns on their innovation may not actually be accrued by them for their risky endeavours but by those who emulate, copy and follow them.

Another difficulty facing the innovator is that decision-making necessary for innovation will often conflict with the deeply embedded financial objectives, routines and incentives found in and between most organisations including those in construction’s organisations, project teams and supply chains.  Innovation requires collaboration across those professional and organisational boundaries, and routines with a tolerance of possible failure that most of construction clients and suppliers find difficult to accept.

All of these factors need to be taken into account in deciding what innovation to pursue and how to lead and manage the innovation process.

Despite all these challenges, innovation can be highly stimulating and rewarding for those involved.  And it is desperately needed too, particularly in dealing with the current climate crisis and other pressing issues associated with the emerging paradigm.

And, encouragingly for those daunted by the prospect of innovation, most innovations spring from the body of materials, experiments, ideas developed in previous innovative efforts so that most innovation involves new combinations of existing elements, bodies of knowledge or technology,

Given the immense challenges we now face in the built environment we need to shift from doing everyday things better (although recent events revealing construction’s difficulties with compliance show there’s considerable scope for that too) to those intermediate levels of innovation that through significant changes in resources and capabilities can add new solutions to existing problems.

But how do we go about manging innovation? That will be the focus of my next Thought for the Month.

Article by Martyn Jones

Construction Leadership Council announces competition for young industry professionals as it accelerates the sector’s drive to Net Zero The Construction Leadership Council (CLC) is today announcing a new Dragon’s Den competition targeted at young industry professionals, accelerating the drive to net zero.

The competition aims to:

• bring forward practical ideas which are almost ready for implementation on sites/in factories, and suitable for wider industry adoption;

• capitalise on the collective political, industry and societal demand to reduce our emissions levels; and to,

• harness the power and voice of young professionals already working in the sector, providing support to accelerate their practical ideas to implementation.

Short-listed applicants will present their ideas to the Construct Zero Dragon’s Den for debate and discussion, with the winner receiving a range of prizes including a £1,000 cash award (donated by the Builders Merchants Federation). This is an exciting opportunity for young industry professionals to pitch existing ideas to the heart of Government. Further details including how to apply can be found here.

The CLC’s sector leadership role and its Construct Zero programme is today recognised by the United Nations Climate Champions Team’s announcement of the CLC becoming a Race to Zero Accelerator. This marks a key step in our journey, providing a platform to build on existing UK and global engagement across Government and with industry partners.

Through the Construct Zero industry-change programme, the Construction Leadership Council has accepted the challenge of decarbonising the industry, bringing the sector together to deliver tangible actions and sustainable change across the construction supply chain. It’s change programme will: i) measure the sector’s performance; ii) share knowledge and best practice between businesses and; iii) engage firms and communicate the sector’s role in reducing carbon emissions.

Sector’s Performance

CLC has committed to holding the sector to account on progress through quarterly updates on its Performance Framework, with the first update due for publication in late October, prior to COP.

Knowledge and Best Practice

Construct Zero has led in bringing together businesses across the whole construction supply chain, through its Business Champion programme, ranging from SMEs e.g. Adair and Peak Construction, operating locally, to large scale companies, delivering major international infrastructure projects, e.g. Saint-Gobain, Costain and Multiplex.

We are also seeking to share knowledge globally- our joint event with Mace at New York Climate Week, will bring together major clients, contractors and consultants from across the US and UK to showcase the best of Anglo-American collaboration; exploring success stories where joint UK/US expertise is helping to address the huge climate impacts of the built environment across the globe; and form the first step on the road towards better trade links and net zero knowledge sharing to reach a brighter future.

Communications and wider engagement

Construction is one key element of a wider, complex business eco-system. That’s why we are working with key partners, including EDF Energy and CBI, to reach beyond our sector, ensuring our aims, message and approach reach a much wider audience. Construct Zero is committed to this challenge, and will be presenting at key events in the run-up to COP, as well as providing specific practical advice for construction SMEs on reducing emissions, which will be published shortly on the Business Climate Hub.

The call to do more and take steps to reduce our emissions is an immediate one, to ensure we leave a sustainable impact that will live long beyond our immediate future generations. Construct Zero is engaging directly with young industry professionals, drawn from our Business Champion programme, who are already playing a key role in meeting this challenge this head-on. We are delighted they are hosting an event on 23 September to discuss and debate the key issues as part of the Italian Government’s series of virtual summits in the run-up to the Youth COP Summit in Milan.

Finally, and most crucially we are working closely with the COP Unit to finalise our presence at the COP Green Zone.

For COP to truly leave its legacy, it’s imperative we continue to drive forward both the high-level actions and commitments that emerge from COP, together with the enthusiasm and drive companies have and are continuing to generate.

Only by working together in step and at pace, will we truly be able to rise to the challenge and build back better, faster and greener.

Construction Minister Anne Marie Trevelyan said:

“Engaging talented young professionals in the construction industry is key to the future of the sector by developing the highly skilled workforce that will accelerate its drive to net zero.

“This competition, and recognition from the UN as a Race to Zero Accelerator, shows the Construction Leadership Council is continuing to take its role seriously in offering the sector the direction and leadership it needs to build back better and greener.”

Net Zero Business Champion Andrew Griffith MP said:

“This competition is a fantastic opportunity for young professionals to make a mark on the construction industry by offering them the chance to have their innovative ideas to make the sector more sustainable

“Today’s competition launch shows the Construction Leadership Council is continuing to champion a cleaner, more sustainable sector – so it is right that they have been recognised by the UN as a Race to Zero Accelerator.”

About the Construction Leadership Council (CLC)

The CLC’s mission is to provide sector leadership to the construction industry. The expanded CLC has twelve workstreams that operate collaboratively to address the biggest issues facing the sector, focused on the Industry Recovery Plan. Workstreams include skills and inclusion, building safety and business models. The CLC is co-chaired by Ann-Marie Trevelyan MP, Minister for Business and Industry, and Andy Mitchell CBE, CEO of Thames Tideway.

 

 

Judging the many excellent submissions to the CESW Awards 2021 presented Martyn Jones with his thought for the month: How we can we accelerate the pace of change and improve the spread and adoption of the best practice as demonstrated in our award-winning submissions?

The CESW Awards are recognised across the South West built environment as the biggest and brightest celebration of best practice.

They are the HEINEKEN of awards (other lagers are available), in that they reach all parts of our operating system from developers and clients through to consultants of all disciplines, main and specialist contractors and suppliers of materials and components.

They also celebrate leading practice in dealing with current issues such as pivoting from price to value, sustainability, quality and compliance, digitisation, integration and collaboration, and conservation and regeneration.

Every year our Awards capture exemplars of excellent practice and some of this year’s entries yet again provide some cracking demonstrations of our industry at its best.  On this occasion, not only demonstrating best practice along Constructing Excellence lines but doing so whilst meeting the immense challenges presented by the pandemic.

But, why are aren’t these principles of best practice not being embraced more widely in the industry? And how do we accelerate the rate of change and the spread and adoption of this best practice to meet the challenges we face?

Here are some suggested guiding principles, all of which have long featured in the work of CESW, but which now need to be pursued with a much greater sense of urgency and resolve:

Are you keen to play a leading role in grasping this once-in-a-generation opportunity to really transform construction? Then why not join one or more of our Thought Leadership Theme Groups?

And if you are a young professional, or in the early stages of developing your career in the built environment, then why not join G4C in the SW? This offers the opportunity for you, as a young professional, to express your ideas as to how we should be reshaping the built environment.  After all the future belongs to you.

As we end the summer and holidays are behind us, it’s time to reflect on a turbulent season. Wildfires in Greece / California and floods in Germany / New York have shown us the swift and furious impact Climate Change is having on our lives.

 

On the 8th August the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its Sixth Assessment Report. UN Secretary General António Guterres described the report as “a code red for humanity”. The report explains that recent changes in the climate are widespread, rapid and intensifying. It’s caused by humans and is unprecedented in thousands of years. Every region is affected. Some changes are already irreversible. Sobering words after the summer reset.

 

The UN chief does offer a reprisal, “If we combine forces now, we can avert climate catastrophe. But, as today’s report makes clear, there is no time for delay and no room for excuses. I count on government leaders and all stakeholders to ensure COP26 is a success.”

 

The construction industry represents 39% of global carbon emissions (28% from operational and 11% from embodied). Reading the report, we must all make time to act – now. We have two lines of responsibility; to achieve Carbon Neutrality in our own business operations, and; to brief, design, construct and operate zero carbon projects.

 

Certainly from my own experience here at Stride Treglown we have gone to great lengths to monitor and reduce our own carbon footprint, to the point where we are now carbon neutral. The hardest part to reduce is industry-related travel. Post pandemic we do have to find a balance of virtual meetings and face-to-face interactions. Until travel infrastructure is fully decarbonised through electrification, our only solution is to carbon offset. This is the easy part.

 

The second part of the decarbonisation journey is delivering zero carbon projects for clients. This takes collaboration, cross business learning, upskilling, and material/process innovation. None of us can do this alone. We need a joint industry effort. This is where Constructing Excellence can play a key role. I urge you to join our Innovation and Sustainability Group, so that we can address our climate emergency in a coordinated way.

 

At Stride Treglown we have just launched our Climate Action Relay. Please do join in the conversation and get inspired to do your bit for Planet Earth. https://www.climateactionrelay.com #ClimateActionRelay

Robert Sargent, Director, Stride Treglown, B Corp certified Architecture Practice

I sit writing this newsletter from the delightful surroundings of the Lake District emphasising just how different our working lives have become bringing greater productivity and how we have radically adapted positively to the circumstances that have been brought upon us unexpectedly. Whilst news, in general, focuses on the negative elements ongoing or foreseen, CESW is gearing up for an enormously encouraging and exciting future with progressive movements taking place.

 

As the incoming Chair, I am enthusiastic to continue the effective direction that my predecessors have driven CESW in past years with Emma Osmundsen’s strong focus on Leadership and Andrew Goodenough’s challenging term through COVID with his industry sector significantly impacted yet still dedicated to the challenge of driving the desirability of entering into our sector to the younger generation with the support of our G4C Theme Group.

 

Recent CESW events such as the Leadership Dinners have seen a wealth of our construction experts collaborating with meaningful discussions and debates on how best to embrace the challenges we face and how we can positively tackle these cohesively with the end goal being mutual.

 

We struggle to contain the excitement that our 2021 Awards will continue on Friday 17th September at The Marriot Hotel in Bristol delivering our first major physical event in circa 2 years. We very much look forward to welcoming our members and guests for this great evening of construction recognition. The uptake of ticket sales emphasises the yearning for attendance to rekindle the physical and personal approach to a Hybrid working ethos. Early purchase of this event is highly recommended.

 

New challenges bring new ideas, One which our current chair recognises by bringing the Board of CESW together to review, discuss and determine our future strategy with many new opportunities and challenges ahead.

 

I would like to thank all current members, new and loyal serving. As a Not-For-Profit organisation funded on membership fee’s and the generosity of sponsorship, this allows the exceptional best practice work to take place within and be shared widely within our industry.

 

I am thrilled to be invited into the role and eager to continue the passionate approach already demonstrated by others.

 

Stay safe and enjoy the holiday season.

Anna Thompson of LABC shared this story with us this month

“A fellow campervan owning friend has been involved in this amazing project!”

In her words…

A year ago my friend and I came up with a plan. We wanted to create literacy boxes containing books we had written, matching paper crafts, scenery, characters, notebooks and stationery to be gifted to children in hard hit communities.

We secured a bit of funding and sponsorship to help develop the project. Today, on the hottest day of the year, we hit the road in my 47 year old T2 (Buttercup) obviously with no air conditioning wearing skirts and petticoats.

We delivered 175 boxes to various community centres across Liverpool. Was it unbelievably sticky? Yes. Did we fear we would melt? Yes. Did Buttercup get a bit grumpy in the heat? Only a little bit.

Was it worth it? Absolutely. Tonight children will be reading out books (one of them features Buttercup), making crafts and using their imagination. And now for gin!”

CLICK HERE TO READ FULL ARTICLE

 

Commissioned by CEI-Bois, architects dRMM have designed a reusable timber pavilion for COP26 for the UN climate change talks to be held in Glasgow, Scotland, UK in November 2021.

 

Timber Beacon’ is dRMM’s response to the collective brief of a unique global timber industry collaboration. The 25+ strong alliance of innovators in engineered mass timber and wood-based products, global forest growth and development, are led CEI-Bois, the European Confederation of Woodworking Industries and the UK Timber Trade Federation.

 

As world leaders discuss our global responsibilities and collective response to climate change during COP26, our message for the future will be powerfully three dimensional: in wood there is hope,” said dRMM founding director, Prof Alex de Rijke.

 

Sponsorship is being sought to realise the full potential of this project. To find out more, contact paul.brannen@cei-bois.org. This initiative is supported by UK Aid, under the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office’s FGMC programme (Forest Governance, Markets and Climate) and CESW.

 

The ‘Timber Beacon’ has been shortlisted by the British Government to be located at the COP26 Glasgow site for the duration of the talks.

 

Paul Brannen, director of public affairs at CEI-Bois, said “The global timber and global forest sectors see COP26 as the unmissable opportunity for policy makers to put into action what we already know about nature-based solutions; global forests and wood products are essential to averting catastrophic climate change, and increasing the use of timber products is an easy way to help decarbonise construction, renovation, and the wider built environment. Wood both stores carbon and substitutes for carbon intensive alternatives. We are also focused on globally recognised good governance as the key to growing forests around the world.”

CLICK HERE to view Timber Beacon Digital overview pdf

 

This month, Martyn Jones reflects on what can we carry forward from the way we went about innovating in the 1990s. Back then we were asked to “Rethink Construction” in response to the emerging techno-economic paradigm, with its wider availability of computer hardware and software, digital communications, optical fibres, data banks, information services and “chips” (microelectronics).

And it was not just about the technology but the new paradigm required a response to changes in the way firms should be organised and the adoption of new forms of inter-organisational behaviour, business models, cooperation and competition.

For obvious reasons, including very low margins, particularly at Tier 1, construction organisations aren’t big spenders on formal Research and Development (R&D) in comparison with firms in other industries.

Contrary to popular opinion, however, in construction projects we are constantly needing to innovate. For example, in overcoming the challenges and exploiting the often-unique opportunities presented by individual sites and clients. Also building taller, longer, quicker, better, greener etc.

But from time to time – as in the 1990s and now – we see new and more powerful drivers for change emerging that stimulate more intense periods of more radical innovation.

How did we approach the radical innovations called for in the Latham and Egan reports back in the 1990s? Well, the image used for this Thought for the Month will be familiar to those of us involved in the Bristol Rethinking Construction Club’s Specific Innovation Clusters (SICs), where it became something of a mantra.

The SICs were based on the premise that change requires innovation and innovation demands a synergistic combination of learning and leadership.

At that time the innovations we explored, evaluated and customised for construction included building closer, more collaborative inter-organisational relationships; integrating the processes of design and construction; building greater internal and external focus on the needs of customers; sharing learning; and advancing our transformational, situational and distributed styles of leadership.

The SICs were the forerunners of CESW’s Here to Learn Workshops and Thought Leadership Theme Groups.

At that time, we were greatly influenced in our approach by Rothwell’s work on innovation. [Rothwell a British sociologist widely regarded as one of the pioneers in industrial innovation and his significant contributions to the understanding of innovation management.]

He helped identify the key features of the 5th generation innovation process with its emphasis on the System Integration and Networking (SIN) model. The SIN model extended the parallel development of the 4th generation of innovation with the integration of Information and Communication Technologies (ITC) to form a new innovation process.

At that time, the members of the SICs identified the key determinants of successful innovation in construction within the 5th generation innovation model:

· The identification of a clear need for change

· The provision of external support and encouragement to change

· The adoption of a more strategic approach in the management and leadership of innovation

· A systematic approach to developing, implementing, monitoring and sustaining innovation within and between organisations

· Building the commitment of leaders in organisations and projects to innovation and the acceptance of the risks involved

· Developing the responsiveness and readiness of organisations to internal changes and changes in the construction market and wider environment

· Increasingly making use of ICTs to achieve of good linkages within and between organisations, leading to more open, trusting collaborative and creative relationships

· Seeing innovation as a corporate-wide and project-wide opportunity rather than a threat

· The strategic positioning of key individuals and champions of change within organisations and at pivotal points in the design and construction process

· Having an effective and ongoing learning process for individuals and the sharing of learning

What aspects of this can we carry forward from this to help us respond to the new challenges and opportunities we face? Clearly, much of this approach will still be relevant but we also need to be mindful that we are entering a new Digital paradigm that includes greener technologies, AI, robots and drones, and the need for greater social value. We will need to yet again rethink our responses but without abandoning the progress we have already made. New technologies, organisational structures and forms of collaboration, particularly in our response to the challenges of climate change, are emerging but we mustn’t overlook the progress we made in our response to the previous techno-economic paradigm.

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