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June Overview – Jonathan Davies

The Queens platinum jubilee illustrated in vivid detail the scope and breadth of change that a single lifetime might experience. The queen herself has said as much, that we should all be prepared for more change more often than we might be comfortable with (I paraphrase).

It certainly feels to me that the pace of transition is quickening as world events distort market forces and compel us to adapt, improvise and overcome. Adaptive thinking from those of us in the construction sector needs to be matched with similarly fast paced changes in legislation, taxation, procurement, and client thinking. Scarcity of materials, cost uncertainty and a diminishing pool of skills and labour make responding to tenders an esoteric art form rather than an exercise in actual costs. This cannot end well.

However, this is not the first time and calls for a transformation in construction have been made before. As Churchill said, “the further backwards you look, the further forwards you can see”. In 1998 Sir Anthony Egan published a report entitled “Rethinking Construction” designed to make a construction sector fit for the new millennium. As we move further into that millennium with all its turmoil and change, the findings of that report seem even more relevant and imperative today.

One of the key themes of Egan is that of partnering. Working together to agree problem solving behaviours and find new ways of collaborating and supporting each-other rather than isolating and blaming. Of all our Queens strengths, her steady confidence in the positivity of the human spirit is something we would all do well to adopt. Perhaps then we might similarly shape our own legacies and be as well regarded as she is.

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