Welcome to our March E Bulletin

Wales has won the rugby (again!) but are we winning the fight to improve how we design, construct and manage our built environment?

Milica Kitson, Chief Executive of CEWales says we have already learned how to win – we just need to do some revision.

You do not need me to tell you that these are tough times. Market conditions are not great. The forecast for the industry is flat for 2019 although commentators expect the sector (across the UK) to grow in the next few years. But for anyone working in organisations like Interserve and Dawnus that is not going to solve any immediate issues.

As I write we still do not know the full story behind their respective issues, albeit there are bound to be rumours and conjecture around the impact of senior management decision making, shareholder pressure and core issues like cash flow.
What is important is to learn from what has happened. Now is the time to improve business processes. Now is the time to examine the decision-making processes in your organisations. Now is the time to consider the impact of what you are choosing to do – economically, environmentally and socially.

A key theme that has gained prominence since the demise of Carillion has been the concept of business responsibility. Industry bodies such as RICS have championed this – they have pushed the debate around ethical decision-making. All these ideas are good. However, it is worth pointing out that these concepts are not new. Apart from the fact they are common sense and the moral, right thing to do – they are all bound up in the principles set out in both the Egan and Latham reports. The roots of the entire Constructing Excellence movement.

The fact that organisations fail and that the failures are linked to poor choices makes the arguments about Rethinking Construction even more valid than ever. Hundreds, if not thousands of people in Welsh construction know this. They agree with the vision of Constructing Excellence. However, the desire to work collaboratively, develop integrated teams and design, plan, engineer and build with long term value at the forefront is easily compromised because of short term commercial gain. Sometimes that short term pursuit of costs is driven by economic necessity or pressure from clients. But it doesn't work. It doesn't work for your business, your people or for the Welsh Built Environment. Lessons need to be learned when any organisation fails. But what we really need to do is some revision. Because we have done a lot of the learning already. So, forgive me if you hear some familiar refrains emanating from CEWales in the coming weeks.