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Opportunity to learn and drive change behind Constructing Excellence membership for MD

With COP26 putting sustainability under the spotlight, MMC coming to the fore, and a very real skills shortage, there has arguably never been a more vital time for the construction sector.

Constructing Excellence South West (CESW), the cross-sector, cross-supply chain, member led organisation charged with driving the change agenda in construction within the South West as part of the Constructing Excellence Regional Partnership (CERP), exists to improve industry performance to produce a better built environment.

But why should you become a member of the organisation, and what’s in it for you and your business if you do?

Paul Richards, Managing Director of Aquarian Cladding Systems, a leading specialist supplier of external brick and terracotta cladding systems, has been a member of CESW for over seven years and is currently on the board. Here, he explains why he and his business have benefitted from playing a full role.

Why did you join CESW?

The main driver for Aquarian becoming involved with Constructing Excellence was a desire to be informed of what was happening to improve the construction process, and the changes occurring in the broader built environment sector.

As Managing Director, I wanted to keep abreast of best practice and to find a way to apply it to the business. Up until joining CESW I had always been a supporter of the industry’s change agenda but had become frustrated at the amount of talking shops that never seemed to deliver solid action.

Having attended a few events, and speaking to other members, it was quickly apparent that CESW is focussed on delivering tangible results. To be able to play a part in the change agenda and join with other members to use our influence to find solutions that take the whole sector forward is important.

What do you gain as a member of CESW?

After becoming involved with CESW, I gained a much broader perspective of the whole sector. As a member you are exposed to many different opinions, facts, experience and feedback on all that’s happening in the built environment, both nationally and within the South West region.

The opportunity to learn and see what the agenda is, and get information about trends, means I can see how we fit into the bigger picture and ensure the business is positioned in the right place to take advantage and respond accordingly. CESW helps me make informed decisions, broadens my knowledge, and enables me to direct the business.

It has also allowed me to not only learn from some huge companies but try and educate them in terms of what it’s like to be an SME in the industry amongst giants, as they sometimes don’t understand the challenges we face, so one of the great things about CESW is that it is a two-way education process, which is important.

What specific benefits have you seen as a member of CESW?

The biggest benefit has to be playing a role in the wider Constructing Excellence network. As a member I am exposed to likeminded people at every event I attend and via the various workshops and forums open to me.

That has allowed me to meet and develop relationships with individuals and organisations that prior to joining CESW I might never have come into contact. These people tick our boxes as a business; we care about best practice for all and collaborating with our whole supply chain, we have an offsite manufactured solution which these people are looking for, so for me it is the place we want to be.

It’s why for many years we have supported the agenda and events, and sponsored awards as these are all things we want our brand to be associated with.

I am confident that a number of projects that have used our brick cladding systems here in the South West would not have involved Aquarian without the introduction gained via CESW.

What would you say to a prospective member of CESW to help them decide on joining?

To have a successful relationship with CESW there is no point in joining and expecting something in return, you have got to play an active role and be prepared to commit and be sure you can give as much as you take.

By playing a positive part in improving construction processes, you and your business will profit as a member of CESW. We have consistently seen the benefits of membership over the past seven years.

There are so many opportunities and areas that need addressing in the construction industry, why wouldn’t you want to learn, contribute to the change agenda, and make your business and the industry better – to safeguard the future of both?

For more information on CESW visit For more information on Aquarian Cladding, visit

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