Constructing Excellence: what’s going on?

In what we hope will be a regular feature, Alison Nicholl, Associate Director of Constructing Excellence gives a few pointers to what CE has been doing and hopes to achieve in 2019

As we enter 2019 our industry is facing considerable challenges combined with significant opportunities for change.  National media has shone a spotlight on the issues of poor quality and fragile business models that we have been aware of for some time.  Through the Construction Sector Deal the government is making unprecedented investments in R&D and using its own procurement mechanisms to drive performance.  The Constructing Excellence Vision is as relevant as ever.

At our 2018 Annual Conference in December we took an in-depth look at how our core values of clients procuring for value, standardisation and pre-manufactured value and digitally-enabled collaboration can be applied at a broader level across the industry. We polled participants from across the Constructing Excellence movement on what changes they had experienced in 2018 and where they saw opportunity. Some of the key findings include:

  • Participants reported very little change on client’s procuring for value, but some limited progress in digitally-enabled collaboration and standardisation and pre-manufactured value
  • Procurement and contracting models, client capability & appetite to change and agreement on new standards & regulations were viewed as the top barriers to embedding manufacturing technology in the built environment
  • Almost 90% of participants were supportive of a platform approach to building, but over one third were unsure whether the market will accept a platform approach

Uncertainties due to BREXIT, recruitment, continued lowest price tendering, industry culture and skills challenges were seen as core issues that may hold back progress in 2019.  However, on the positive side there are many opportunities for change.  The imminent launch of the Construction Innovation Hub, the current call for academic research under Transforming Construction Network Plus and forthcoming Collaborative R&D calls from Innovate UK provide the building blocks for innovation in our sector.  The alignment of government procurement towards a platform approach has significant opportunities to drive much needed change in the sector.

The Constructing Excellence movement has excellent opportunities to build on these foundations to increase alignment across the movement and provide greater influence and engagement with the wider movement.