Is construction changing?
Does it need to?
I’ve attended two events recently where the emphasis of the discussions moved on from the topic in question to these more debatable questions. I’ll accept that both events were focused more on the future of construction, but what struck me was the growing consensus both of attendees that are adapting and those urging for quicker and faster change.
The first event focused on Big Data and the opportunities for construction. The key conclusion for me was that opportunity does exist, but we need to focus on just getting the basic data right first as well. The most striking presentation was provided by Gideon Farrell who, as a recent graduate with no pre-conceived views, is using technology to advance construction. He is not focused on changing construction per se, but he sees the business opportunity to use technology which will in turn change construction.
The second event was CIRIA’s Future of Construction event. I was struck by the positive overtone from the majority of speakers demonstrating how they are driving change within their own organisations and in turn changing construction. Briefly:
- Alan Clucas explained how Laing O’Rourke have put DfMA at the core of their strategy going forward;
- Graeme Shaw passionately inspired others with his talk about how TfL are embracing lean and process improvement
- The vision for Britain is digital as outlined by the BIM Task Group
- John Boultwood talked procurement and highlighted that The IUK have produced excellent guidance in Project Initiation Routemap
The one salutatory warning was raised by Tim Chapman who eloquently raised concerns about the need to reduce carbon and how little we are actually doing about it; yet the built environment can and does have a significant influence over all aspects of carbon reduction. I’d encourage you to review Highways England Carbon Routemap and the infographic (available at the bottom of the page).
Does construction need to change? As one speaker said, if we don’t someone else will come in and take over.
Is Construction Changing? It’s evident that there is much positive progress being made and I am personally optimistic that we are on the dawn of new era for construction, particularly:
- if we realise the importance of Tim’s message that we must reduce carbon and realise the opportunity for the built environment in influencing this change
- if we can get more Gideons involved; the younger generations need to be engaged in taking the industry forward
- if more clients embrace Graeme’s passion for taking a common sense approach to improvement
- if the supply chain adopt a similar value-added philosophy espoused by Alan based on DfMA and digital engineering
- if we follow the guidance of the IUK routemap
Do you share my optimism? Add your comments below
Click here for click to the Storify of my tweets of CIRIA Future of Construction