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Emma Osmundsen January 2021 Introduction

As we face a New Year ahead of us, I am encouraging myself to feel optimistic, thinking it
cannot possibly be as bad as 2020?!

But as much as 2020 being a year defined by the Coronavirus pandemic, it did reveal some
silver linings amid the grimness. As a nation we ‘rediscovered a spirit of togetherness’ with
communities helping one another during what has been and will continue to be a difficult
time. We have come to recognise the high value of our essential workers and the
exceptional work of the scientists who have brought light at the end of the tunnel with
coronavirus vaccines. We have experienced nature ‘rewilding’ our built environment,
cleaner air and much more walking and cycling!

We have seen how resilient our construction industry has been in continuing to work and
deliver live projects and to keep the pipeline of projects going when so many industries and
parts of our economy have been on their knees. Likewise CESW has been resilient and
adaptive enough to maintain its presence, relevance and financial sustainability when faced
with much uncertainty.

For CESW, 2020 ended up being a digital relaunch of what we are all about – working
collaboratively and promoting industry performance in order to produce a better built
environment. We have done this by moving all of our knowledge and best practice events
on to various digital platforms, providing more opportunities than ever before to champion
thought leadership through our many Theme Groups.

So what does 2021 hold for CESW and our industry? Well I think it is safe to say it will
continue to provide much uncertainty. However, what 2020 has shown us more than
anything else is what we value most – ours and our loved one’s health and wellbeing! I think
2020 was the catalyst we needed to see a paradigm shift in what we build, how we build
and where we build. Putting people at the heart of our building design and place making,
putting the planet at the heart of where and how we build and constructing in a way that is
enhancing to our own as well as the planet’s health and wellbeing.

We need to put excellence back into what we build, Grenfell Tower should not define our
industry, and we can do so much better. Construction can lead the post-covid, post-brexit
recovering that this country needs. Putting GREEN first so everything we build enhances
people, planet and place making. Redefining the construction industry as a career of choice
for younger generations who are eager to make a difference and save the planet in the
process.

For a sustainable future, we need to take care of the built environment we have inherited,
to make provision for retrofitting. We need to put an end to disposable construction, 50
years is not a durable lifespan, and we cannot afford that, not least because of nature. Now
is the time to build quality, to build for pro-life and to build for the investment that our
children and grandchildren will thank us for.
May your 2021 but life-affirming, health giving and one step closer to achieving perfection –
for the planet’s sake.

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