Could Trip Advisor work for Welsh construction?

How do we call out bad practice? How do we learn from the mistakes and poor decision making in procurement, design, build and management of our facilities, infrastructure and buildings? Do we set up a construction version of Trip Advisor to anonymously rate what’s going on?

Would a construction version of TripAdvisor help the industry regain the trust of its customers and its end users? In the UK Construction Week marketing event recently, the main question was this: has the construction industry lost the trust and confidence of the public in the wake of incidents such as Grenfell and the reports of the inquiry so far? Does the industry need some form of barometer or trust? A feedback mechanism where we can honestly and openly share experiences about procurement, delivery, health and safety and wellbeing?

Before Christmas, in the CEWales newsletter, we ran an article that reflected on a piece by Lem Bingley, editor of Construction News. He asked the question: "Should you work with a bad client to change their outlook, or keep your slate clean?" Since Grenfell and Carillion, construction has been forced to face up to how it behaves, so we should also be asking questions about the methods, values and ethics of everyone we work with throughout the supply chain.

Rightly, our industry is judged not just on what it delivers, but the way that it is done. In short, as the Fun Boy Three sang, it is not what you do that counts, it is the way that you do it. Lem Bingley's editorial opinion in Construction News (18th October) put this into sharp focus. In a well written piece, he asks a very pertinent question: "Should you work with a bad client to change their outlook, or keep your slate clean?" It's complicated: but at the risk of sounding pious at CEWales we advocate sticking to the principles of Rethinking Construction. In practice this means calling out bad behaviours: anything from risky health and safety procedures to moral and ethical choices.

But, none of you like naming names. So how are we to learn from bad practice if it is not discussed or called out. Yes, we can celebrate best practice – but should we not be learning from mistakes too? Otherwise we are indulging in reinventing the truth – cognitive dissonance – and not investing in Black Box thinking.

Perhaps the only way to learn is to share feedback anonymously via a Trip Advisor style rating system. It would also give the chance to point out great projects too – five stars for a CEW Award winner perhaps? One star, or even no stars for projects deemed to be dangerous or morally corrupt or just plain badly procured? We keep hearing news of projects where clients and their supply teams are just delivering the same old-style buildings and facilities – in short, we are not learning, and we are not adhering to the right values or principles. So, it needs calling out. Will you back a CEWales Project Advisor feedback system? Let us know – because we might just set one up and trial it.