Tag Archives: collaborative working champion

Now is the future of construction

All too often I hear construction talk of how things will be better and back to normal when we emerge from the current tough environment, with a strategy of retrenching, waiting and picking up again in good times just around the corner.

Wrong – this is the future, right now, and only those who adapt and embrace change will find a better working environment, and turn the corner to find those good times. As Einstein said, doing the same thing over and over again hoping for better results is just plain insanity.

I was reminded at yesterdays Constructing Excellence Collaborative Working Champions meeting that the Never Waste a Good Crisis  – Challenge to the UK Construction Industry is now three years old – and the message is still as viable and important as ever.

Embracing change across so many facets of business today is vital for future success, but particularly in the sustainability and responsibility arena. As Michael Townsend wrote only yesterday on the Guardian Sustainable Business blog, companies that prosper in future will be the ones that take action on sustainability now, and asks the question:

Should construction companies remain engaged in the net depletion of resources, or move towards becoming a zero-adverse impact facilities business within the circular economy?

Understanding change and adapting for the future is a big ask for many organisations within the built environment, and we have yet to see breakthrough case studies. However, many are now embarking on the first step of increasing awareness of change, and through the Fairsnape Route to Zero approach starting to map out a strategy.

on web awareness

Paul at ExtranetEvolution AEC conferences, content and ‘unconferences’and Jodie at I have no opinion world architecture festival have commented recently on the low awareness and application of web technologies in the AEC and conference world.  As one would expect following previous posts here, and as a founder to be2camp, I would share the same views, reinforced with recent observations.

I was amazed at the low awareness of web applications recently as I presented a session entitled from Facebook to BIMStorms. I knew I wasn’t going to complete the journey planned through the presentation when only 20% of the 70 people there used Facebook, and when asked if they used Facebook for anything other than social the response was nil, a couple on CAD, but then blanks on twitter, linkedin, BIM, etc. I couldn’t mention Second Life …  And these were 70 of our next generation managers – being engaged in HNC or HND courses at the moment.

Hopefully it has led to working with colleges on raising awareness.

Another day, another course, a different set of organisations – 6 small contractors, discussion on use of IT on sites to enable access to knowledge, communication etc.  Not one would allow laptops or computers on site, quoting a lack of trust of their staff to use responsibly and a security / theft issue.

A reminder that its 80% people management and 20% ICT ???  But maybe the 20% is taking the blindfold off?

Oh and has anyone tried to book a venue for an unconference with open wifi or good connectivity and  power for people to use laptops?  I find this frustratingly difficult as I seek a venue for a half day event next month. Conference organisers are way behind this need. And who feels awkward in using a laptop to make notes or blog, or to use the phone to tweet at a conventional conference?

For many conventional conference attendees, the idea of streaming presentations online will be a novel concept; laptops and mobile phones should remain switched off during sessions; and ‘social networking’ means wine and canapes – not blogs and tweets

And as I write this I see twitter messages from Mel and Paul on identifying who within the built environment sector are really embracing web2.0 technologies, as Mel says who is walking their talk? My reposnse would be:those who engaging with initaiatives such as be2camp, like the Constructing Excellence Collaborative Working Champions who are stepping forward to explore web2.0 in a days workshop in January led by Paul and myself. like the use of Twiiter by Constructing Excellence.  Yes early days but ….

constructing excellence to restructure?

Paul at ExtranetEvolution carries the news that Constructing Excellence is to restructure, maybe even downsize to focus on delivering value to membership.

Constructing Excellence has announced an organisational restructure to enable a sharper focus on its core business of delivering value to its membership.

Over the last two years, Constructing Excellence has moved from its original Government grant funding to the leading industry membership body devoted to industry improvement. Throughout this transition period it has also won commercially-funded work and other government commissions. Following a review of the mission and objectives of the organisation, the Board of Constructing Excellence agreed that a clearer focus on membership was needed and that the emphasis of future work must be on our core business of performance measurement and knowledge sharing.

Chairman Bob White said: “At CE, we are committed to improving industry performance through working with our members who come from the entire built environment supply chain including clients. We have become increasingly aware during our transition period that performance measurement and demonstration is the vital ingredient to further industry improvement. However, it would be fair to say that, in our transition from government grant funding, some of the diversification into commercial areas such as ad hoc commissions or consultancy has proved an obstacle to focusing on our core mission.”

Don Ward, Chief Executive of Constructing Excellence, added: “The starting point for our members is a conviction that integration and collaborative working is the foundation for industry change. Measurement and demonstration are how we best add value in this regard, and the restructure will enable us to deliver these better.”

Like Paul I have been involved with Constructing Excellence from Design Build Foundation, Movement for Innovation and BE. Circumstances (not having an employer anymore to pay my time for involvement) mean my involvement is limited to the Collaborative Working Champions group and the local Lancashire Best Practice Club.  I do sense though that the initial aims – based soundly on the Egan report, may have run their day and been lost in a now wider scope of CE, and as Don says – time to refocus on the key themes of collaboration and integration, themes that are essential to the success of all industry initiatives – including sustainability.

We will have to await what the changes will bring – but hope for a stronger CE, a CE to support the grass roots of the industry, to move forward to address the challenges of the the next ten years.

Which ties in nicely with the survey for your views on the next ten years – rethinking constructing ten years after