CIC Blog: 2014

| Filed in Blog, Diversity
A review of the CIC2050 Group Construction Industry Survey 2014

Ruth Hynes

CIC 2050 Group Member 

The recent release of the Construction Industry Council (CIC) 2050 Group national survey results and analysis addresses the future of the industry across four key themes: Attitudes to the Industry; Progress on Sustainability; Social Media; Innovation.

With over 700 people responding, it represents a cross-section of the professions, including those in facilities management, academia and sales and marketing; and experience levels from recent graduates to those with over 20 years industry experience. 


What inspires you to work in the construction industry? What does the future of construction look like to you? What are the challenges and opportunities facing the future of our industry? 


The survey and results provide a valuable data source for the future development of the industry, highlighting areas that continue to challenge our industry. The survey illustrates there is an overall positive attitude to the industry,  with 83% saying they are proud to work in the industry and 55% believe theirs is an inspiring job.

Many of those who responded listed the collaborative nature of the industry, opportunities for working with a wide range of people and across a variety of projects, shaping a more sustainable built environment and being able to see designs built and realised as reasons for working in the sector.

However, despite the general positive outlook of the industry diversity remains a major issue, with only 33% of respondents inspired by the achievements of their organisation on diversity. The survey analysis shows that women are much more likely than men to leave within 10 years, implying ongoing issues in ensuring gender diversity and challenges in retaining women in construction professions.

Over half of the respondents indicated that social media is underutilised and could help to tackle some of the image challenges facing construction, including: communicate ‘making the difference’ to the world; showcase an industry with a wide range of entry points and roles; create a more ‘human face’ of construction; and demonstrate the impact you can have with the sector. 

Progress in sustainability and innovation were raised as ongoing issues which will continue to affect the construction industry and its impact on society, in particular developments and innovation in materials, ICT and prefabrication. BIM is seen as an important tool for further innovation in many areas.

There is also concern that there is insufficient effort across the industry on sustainability, in particular in water and biodiversity, as 72% feel that not enough is being done. Reuse and refit of existing buildings will continue to be of growing importance to tackle the demands on current housing and buildings stock.

On publication Louise Clarke, Chair of the CIC2050 Group, had this to say: “"The CIC 2050 Group survey sought to understand what inspires people currently working in the Industry, to help encourage future recruits into the industry. We were overwhelmed by the response we received and pleased that there was such a positive reaction from people about being proud to work in the industry.  The results have provided us with a detailed data source in which some key themes have emerged. The CIC 2050 Group intend to shape its future work around these responses in order to continue to be a voice for people at the early stages of their career." 

The survey highlights both the inspirational and challenging aspects of a complex and varied industry, and offers insight into opinions across the industry. 

Contributor: Ruth sits on the CIC 2050 group and has a degree in Architecture from Dublin Institute of Technology. Ruth is  the Network Manager at CIRIA  and oversees CIRIA’s knowledge transfer network. You can find Ruth on LinkedIn or at

To read the full findings, the CIC2050 Group Construction Industry Survey 2014 report is available here.

Tags: Sustainability, Social Media, Innovation, diversity
| Filed in Blog
Why we should embrace Speed Mentoring

Andrew Link 

Chief Operating Officer

Construction Industry Council

In the past three months CIC has hosted two speed-mentoring events and has two more planned, I’m going to share with you what I learnt, as a mentor, and why we should all embrace speed mentoring.


1. It’s basic and proven

Knowledge management in every business is a priority, small business want to gather more and use it wisely, big business want to harness their knowledge and not waste it.

Mentoring is knowledge sharing in its simplest form.  Two people face-to-face sharing and learning in a personal way.   It’s a proven way to pass on knowledge from one generation to the next. The construction sector’s master and apprentice mentoring relationship has been effective for hundreds of years and has lead to great creations around the world. It’s important that face-to-face mentoring be a part of every business’s knowledge sharing plan supported by other tools rather than replaced.

2. It’s good fun

Speed mentoring follows a similar format to speed dating in that you get to move around the room meeting new people for a fixed period of time, when the time is up a gong rings and you move to the next person.

My first thought of each meeting, which can be around 15-20 minutes long, was that this could not be enough time to have a meaningful conversation but I’ve been proven wrong.  It’s just the right length to keep the energy in the room high, the conversations focused and the evening moving along. The short duration of the event also mean it is not onerous on those attending to dedicate huge amounts of their time, this opens up attendance to those individuals from the business who may not normally attend but many have a lot to offer.

3. Everyone is there for the right reasons

Everyone who attends speed mentoring has honorable intentions. They are there to learn first and teach second. As a mentor I got to learn about the experiences and challenges faced by three professionals who have recently entered the sector, it is great to take this perspective away with me to look at in our own organisation as well as providing my initial thoughts and experiences to the mentee there and then.

4. It’s finds and builds mutual relationships quickly

There has to be a mutual desire of both parties to be involved in mentoring for it to be effective or get going at all. The advantage of meeting many mentors in quick succession is that discovering these mutual relationships is so much easier and faster that it would be using a traditional approach meaning there much less time wasted.

5. Wildcards are not so wild

We gave our mentees an element of choice in two out of the three mentors they met.  The third mentor however was our ‘wildcard’ and was allocated at random after removing roles or business similar to the mentees own from the available pot. What we discovered from mentees feedback was that the wildcard mentors were great as they provided a completely fresh perspective on problems the mentors raised and helped them understand the different disciplines involved in the sector better.

6. Both mentor and mentee benefit

When the structured part of the speed-mentoring event comes to an end there is an open networking session, where mentees and mentors can mix freely over a few drinks and share experiences or pick up on earlier conversations.  

It’s at this stage where you realise just how much mentors as well as mentees take away positives from the experience.  There wasn’t a single mentor who didn’t express their delight in the event and some felt they got more out of it that mentees. I guess that shows us that when it comes to mentoring we are never to old to learn.

If you’d like to give speed mentoring a try we have two events planned on November 6th 2014 in London and Leeds and have spaces for both mentors and mentees. 

What's your view on the importance of mentoring, can we do more? Please share your thoughts.


ContributorAndrew Link is Chief Operating Officer of the Construction Industry Council and oversees the Design Quality Indicator,,

Tags: speed mentoring, mentor, mentee, mutual relationships
| Filed in Blog, Construction
Construction and the constitution?

Ciaran Molloy

CIC Policy and Public Affairs Executive

Up to now, most people would have gone along with the Bill Clinton maxim “It’s the economy, stupid”. So why were constitutional issues discussed so widely at the recent party conferences? Why too, would the “West Lothian question” (i.e the right of Scottish MPs to vote on purely English matters) have any relevance for construction? 

If you couch the issue, purely in terms of “English votes for English laws”, then there may be no great impact on construction. However, seen in terms of a wider devolution debate, there are very significant ramifications. The day after the Scottish referendum vote, David Cameron not only said that the constitutional status of England must be resolved but he also talked of the need to “empower our great cities”. In the context of an industry which relies on high levels of public spending, which acts as a significant tool in any regeneration initiative and which requires a steady flow of work to run efficiently, any devolution of power “downwards” could have very significant benefits. 

As presently governed, there is a high degree of central control in the UK. The creation of a Scottish Parliament and assemblies in Wales and Northern Ireland, which control matters such as transport, point to intriguing possibilities. Add to that the promises made in the run up to the Scottish vote for the devolution of tax-raising powers and it can be seen that change is inevitable if the semblance of equality within the UK is to be maintained.    

Many think that the creation of any sort of a federal system for the UK is doomed to fail due to the fact that England has 85% of the population of the country, a problem that does not exist in countries such as the USA, Canada or Australia which all have more evenly balanced populations. The establishment either of an English Parliament or even identifying legislation which only affects England and allowing only English votes on this, creates difficulty in that there will be  indirect effects on the other nations in the union. One also has to note that the other obvious solution - devolving power on a regional basis within England - was rejected by the voters in 2004, when 78% of voters in the North East vetoed the idea of a regional assembly. 

Nonetheless, the centralized nature of current system has been under challenge for some time. While the Regional Development Agencies were abolished by the coalition Government, “localism” has been one of the hottest topics over the last five years. As we are all aware, the flaw in this system is that the duty of Local Authorities to co-operate under the Localism Act does not mean a duty to agree.  The creation of Local Enterprise Partnerships and the five Combined Authorities set up as a consequence of the Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Act 2009 recognise the need for local input and co-operation. Indeed the combined authorities may offer the best building blocks for creating a structure which will “empower our great cities”. 

Recently the RICS as part of their “Property in Politics” initiative conducted a survey which showed that the biggest area of concern among a range of property professionals was the issue of “ larger than local”. This is not surprising. Urban regeneration, major transport development, the need to build new power generating facilities not to mention the acute need for large scale new housing are all examples of construction activities that need to be discussed and agreed at a regional and sub-regional level. Surely the best way to develop new “garden cities” would be on a regional basis? 

Real power has to be backed by stable funding. The pledge to allow fiscal devolution to Scotland gives added impetus to the call for London and the others within the  Core Cities Group (Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield)  to be able to generate stable sources of funding from local property taxes. This would involve not just council tax but also other property taxes such as stamp duty land tax, business rates, and capital gains property development tax. Such a base would allow the development of the long-term projects which can drive the regions forward. 

More than anything else the construction industry strives for long term planning, continuity in funding and co-ordination in developing the communities and the infrastructure we all need. Fundamental reform of our constitution system with power and resources devolved downwards may be way to achieve this.    


Contributor: Ciaran Molloy is the Public Affairs Officer of the Construction Industry Council. With degrees in Law and Town Planning, he looks after the Public Affairs Committee, the Health and Safety committee and the Liability Committee.

For further information about CIC click here


| Filed in Blog
Will End of Help-to-Buy Scheme Destroy the Housing Boom?

Alasdair MacIsaac

Managing Director

Spark Squad

The state of the UK housing market is up for constant debate. And perhaps its little wonder - the country is still bruised and anxious following the housing crisis of 2008-9. Latest projections speculate yet more problems ahead, this time stemming from a small and dwindling supply of new housing. According to the construction industry, it’s an issue that will be exacerbated once the government’s Help to Buy Scheme ends. 

Right now, housing demand outstrips a supply - a fact that is creating a major problem for would-be homeowners and the industry-at-large. Estate agency Savills has warned that the South of England alone will see a shortfall of 160,000 homes by 2018. And - according to the Home Builders Federation - we need to see 320,000 new homes every year or risk house price inflation exceeding 1.1%. 

What impact is predicted for the construction industry?

The construction industry is now warning that the end of the Help to Buy Scheme - due in 2016 - will destroy any boom in new housing. The scheme’s flagship offer is a maximum 20% loan for new build properties, which has helped to bolster the market with a total of 18,000 reservations at the close of 2013. An increased demand for new housing via Help to Buy has driven the supply of homes - a fact that is expected to see 5.2% growth in the construction industry in 2015. A glance at Redrow’s latest figures shows exactly how the scheme has impacted a once struggling sector, although that’s not to say it’s an outright solution.

For construction companies, an end to the current boom of new builds is worrying. The Construction Products Association has expressed nervousness over the future, with predictions of a slowdown in the rate of new builds to 2% in 2016. The industry has called for more clarity from the government to explain how they will address the need for new housing over the coming years, in the wake of the Help to Buy Scheme. 

Accounting for 6% of the entire UK economy, the construction industry is a voice to be listened to. However, worries come from all corners of the housing market - including would-be homeowners who have limited choice when it comes to buying. According to the Office for National Statistics, 240,000 households are created in the UK every year. Yet the Construction Products Association predicts that by 2017, we will see just 153,000 private housing starts and 30,000 public starts. That’s only enough to meet three quarters of demand.

Criticism for Help to Buy

While the construction industry is concerned about the end of Help to Buy, others are less worried. The Scheme has come under widespread criticism, mainly due to the failure to address the root cause of the problem - lack of supply. Help to Buy is designed to invigorate demand from buyers and many would prefer a ‘help to build’ alternative. It’s also been linked to the fear of another ‘boom and bust’. Vince Cable has been amongst the critics, warning “we don’t want a new bubble”. 

Whatever happens come the end of the Help to Buy scheme, it is clear that the shortfall of new housing - equivalent to a ‘lost decade’ of building - needs to be addressed with some urgency. It’s a concern for the construction industry. It’s a concern for the economy. And it’s a concern for the would-be homebuyer - those families who want to buy but cannot, due to a lack of supply. 

So what will happen? Only time will tell. 



Contributor: Managing Director at Spark Squad – professional electricians in Exeter, offering both domestic and professional commercial electrical services. Alasdair has vast knowledge and expertise in state of the art electrical systems. With a degree in Electronic & Electrical Engineering from the Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen, Sidmouth-based Alasdair has worked as an Electrical & Electronic Engineer in the Offshore Oil & Gas Industry for the past ten years. 


For more information about Spark Squad visit

| Filed in Blog
Trees in Hard Landscapes: A Guide for Delivery

Sue James

Trees and design Action Group

The Trees and Design Action Group’s latest publication Trees in Hard Landscapes: A Guide for Delivery which will be freely available on the TDAG website from 14th September 2014 is a companion document to the earlier Trees in the Townscape: A Guide for Decision Makers.

“Most of us tend to take trees for granted. We start to feel strongly about them only when they are felled or mutilated.

But many of the trees and avenues which in summer and winter are a part of the present scene would not be there at all but for people in days long gone by who planted them because they had a thought for the future…

Hardly a street could not be improved, if someone would give thought to planting the right trees in the right places… (in) new development there will be a chance for growing trees in areas almost treeless until now.

This book describes various ways whereby trees can be used, at relatively little cost, to make towns beautiful.”

The above is not a quote from the Trees and Design Action Group (TDAG) documents, although it could be, but from a Ministry of Housing & Local Government book, Trees in Town & City, published in 1958.  Much of what we are talking about today, and one of the reasons that TDAG was formed, were explained in 1958 but there is a difference. In 1958 the discussion was about the contribution that trees could make to beautify the urban area and to make pleasanter places for people. This remains an essential role of urban trees today but we now have additional challenges especially those presented by climate change and the need to make our towns and cities more resilient. In a CIBSE Presidential Blog George Adams described the need for both mitigating climate change by reducing CO2 emissions and adapting to climate change to respond to consequences such as flooding and over-heating of the urban environment. In this context the strategic planting of trees (as well as other elements of green infrastructure) can provide many benefits – conserving and reducing energy, cooling the external environment; reducing cold winter winds, improving air quality, reducing the rate of surface water runoff and so on. 

Research at the University of Manchester showed that a 10% increase in canopy cover could help Manchester to ‘climate-proof’ the city to 2050. In London the canopy cover has been estimated at about 20% and the Mayor is committed to increasing it by 5% by 2025 and a further 5% by 2050. The important point to recognise and act on is that canopy cover needs to be distributed more evenly across our urban areas – hence the encouragement in 1958 to take the ‘chance for growing trees in areas almost treeless up until now’.

There is also significant research and valuations undertaken in some American cities that demonstrates the potential benefit of strategic urban tree planting and that it is holistic cost effectiveness. These assessments have been carried out in some UK towns and cities and there is a London wide evaluation underway currently. 

However the places that most need and would most benefit from trees are those areas of hard landscape which are also the areas that present the greatest challenges because, as we try to plant more trees for all the reasons given, we are doing so with a much more complex situation below ground. Utilities – water, gas, sewerage, electricity and communications lie under the streets of our cities often without coordination for either mapping or access. TDAG is calling for a more sustainable integrated infrastructure where ‘grey’ and ‘green’ infrastructure can work better together. This will involve not only mapping the ‘underworld’ but positively ‘designing’ it.  

The key to doing this and therefore to better protecting existing trees and also planting more trees will be through collaborative working. Just as buildings require cross-disciplinary inputs so does the public realm and the planting and protection of trees. 

The built environment and the landscape professions have a unique opportunity to work together for a sustainable future for our urban centres. With carbon still on the up, energy use and population continuing to grow we must take real and strategic action to counter the growing imbalance between consumption (what we want) and reduction (what we need). Trees are amazing and have a very important role to play in our attempts to stabilize the environment. 

Trees in Hard Landscapes: A Guide for Delivery was produced by TDAG in partnership with the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), the Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation (CIHT), the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) and the Institute of Chartered Foresters (ICF) in recognition of the need for cross-disciplinary working. Indeed this guide is for all who work in the built environment – engineers, architects, landscape architects, urban designers, quantity surveyors and tree specialists - and it focuses on four areas for delivery: collaborative working, above-ground design issues, technical solutions particularly integrating trees below ground and how to approach selecting the right tree species for the right place. It offers 32 case studies and highlights the advantages of innovation. It demonstrates innovative funding methods and emphasises the importance of enhancing returns on investment by achieving multiple benefits. For example, in the case of new trees, these can be planted in a rooting environment that also helps to manage surface water runoff; combines with the installation of a cycle route which will benefit from the shade the trees will provide over time. The opportunities are there if everyone involved has the mind-set to take them. 

The central challenge for us all is to achieve a sustainable future and this means that we need all our practical and available methods to minimise and adapt to the significant impacts of climate change.

Contributor: Sue James trained at the Architectural Association and worked in private practice in West Wales focusing on sustainable buildings in context. In parallel she has been a consultant for the landscape practice Lovejoy (now Capita Lovejoy) where she and Martin Kelly formed the Trees and Design Action Group in 2007.  She has also advised Ecobuild on the conference and seminar programme for many years. The focus of her present work is on the collation and dissemination of research and information. She is a member of The Edge.

For further information visit: 


| Filed in Blog, Events
Chicks with Bricks: a celebration of women in the built environment

Alice Moxley

Chicks with Bricks

On the 6th October, Chicks with Bricks will bring a collection of women together from the construction industry to network, debate and celebrate at the ICA Gallery.

Tickets are priced at £32.50 (+VAT) and include the following:

• chicks with bricks membership

• an exclusive networking opportunity bringing together 120 young women and senior female leaders: the brightest and best of the construction industry. 

• entry into the exclusive Nash rooms at the ICA. 

• canapés and drinks. 

• guest speakers. 

So what is the event about?

The event is aimed at women of all ages and professions within the construction industry. There are a number of bodies representing women in construction; our aim is to bring them and their members together. It is because of our aim to create a more inclusive and cohesive network that we have support from National Association of Women in Construction, RIBA, RICS, the Construction Industry Council, and Women in Architecture to just name a few. Representatives from all of these bodies will be present at the event. 

With only 120 places, there will be plenty of opportunity for you to meet like-minded individuals. The intimate setting will allow you to network easily and comfortably. 

Furthermore, only 11% of the industry is made up of women, so this event aims to raise awareness of the few women who are in construction. Join us in our shared belief that there should be greater equality in this sector.

Attendees and Guest Speakers

Since 2005, Chicks has held numerous events bringing members together to network and communicate - architects, developers, lawyers, tradeswomen, engineers, academics, policymakers, designers, manufacturers, contractors, surveyors, project managers and media. Twice-yearly events bring 200 to 400 women together for drinks and debate led by well-known industry figures at exclusive venues. 

This year we are pleased to welcome Annie Hampson (Chief Planning Officer for The City of London), Claire Bennie (Development Director at Peabody), Lucy Heller (CEO of Ark) and a Young Ambassador from The Prince’s Trust.  In previous years, guest speakers have included Rt. Hon Patricia Hewitt MP, Zoe Blackler (Building Design Magazine), Sara Fox (Swiss RE and the client for the Gherkin), and Sarah Ebanja (lead of the £700 million Arsenal Development). 

Attendees will have the opportunity to discuss prominent issues and ask questions to other professionals. Speakers will be invited to open up the floor for a question and answer session after their talk. 

Supporting the future generation

Thanks to our sponsors, Carillion, we have been able to reduce ticket prices and offer some free tickets to young professionals and students aged between18-25 to encourage even greater inclusion. Furthermore, our event will fundraise for The Prince’s Trust, to help young disadvantaged women to get into the sector through The Trust’s ‘Get into Construction’ Programme.

We operate as a non-profit network with an aim to cover the basic costs of catering and venue through ticket sales. 


The ICA Gallery, home to London Fashion week, is the ideal location for Chicks. Situated on The Mall, minutes away from Charing Cross tube station, it is easily accessible and centrally located. The Nash and Brandon rooms are a spectacular example of Georgian architecture, designed by John Nash himself with views over St James’s Park towards the Houses of Parliament. 

Contributor: Alice works for Holly Porter (founder of Chicks with Bricks) at Holly’s Architectural Practice in Wapping – Surface to Air Architects. Alice has been working on the organisation of Chicks with Bricks for the past 9 months as well as doing a bit of architecture on the side.

If you have any queries, please contact Alice Moxley on 07752138242 or visit the website 

Twitter handle: @withbricks

Tickets can be purchased via eventbrite


Tags: Chick with bricks, networking, architecure, construction, ICA Gallery
| Filed in Blog, Green Construction
Top 4 Advances in Eco-Electricity for Commercial Building

Alasdair MacIsaac

Managing Director

Spark Squad

Green construction is making waves in the commercial industry as advances in technology become more widely available and cost-effective. Companies are expected to do their bit for the planet and those who build green are rewarded with tax breaks, grants and other incentives. 

Unfortunately, recycling waste paper and turning the lights off at night isn’t enough to earn these rewards, although it is a great start. To really make a difference, companies must consider alternative energy sources and systems. In this article we’ll take a closer look at four of the best advances in eco-electricity for commercial building.

1. Building-Integrated Photovoltaics

It may sound like technology found only in the wildest of Sci-Fi films, but photovoltaic is actually just the scientific name for solar energy. Photovoltaics convert sunshine (solar radiation) into direct current electricity.

Where the majority of buildings use large solar panels mounted on the roof, building-integrated photovoltaics are hidden as part of the construction. Photovoltaic materials replace conventional building materials such as roof tiles, windows and facades.

Many new commercial buildings are constructed with photovoltaic materials, but even much older buildings can be retrofitted with the same technology to improve their green credentials. 

2. Direct Current Power

At present, the majority of us rely on AC (alternating current) power. AC is pumped out by the power plant to the grid and it is the most cost-effective option for energy companies.

However, AC is really inefficient because most electronic equipment in the home and in commercial buildings use DC (direct current) power. A great deal of energy is lost when AC converts to DC and vice-versa.

We’ve been using AC since the 1890s when it just wasn’t possible to transmit DC power across long distances. But DC is making a comeback, thanks to alternative energy sources like solar which generate energy as direct current. As a result, more and more commercial buildings are opting to reduce waste and save energy by using DC rather than AC power. 

3. Electrochromic Glass

This modern material is also known as smart glass or electronically switchable glass. It is used in commercial buildings to create windows, skylights and partitions.

Electrochromic glass can change from translucent to opaque at the touch of the button. Microscopic ceramic plates are sandwiched between panes of glass. The ceramic is coated with a material that changes colour when zapped by an electric current. It uses a very quick, low-voltage burst of electricity to regulate temperature and control lighting.

Smart glass is energy efficient because it reduces the workload of a building’s heating and cooling (HVAC) system. It can also provide flexible lighting in the form of skylights, which is better for the well-being of both staff and the planet. After all, natural sunlight provides a much more pleasant work environment than fluorescent lighting; it’s also a lot cheaper!

4. Energy Management Systems

An energy-management system can help reduce wasted electricity from unnecessary air conditioning, heating, lighting and so on. These systems essentially prevent individuals from switching on lights and forgetting to turn them off, leaving computers on standby and using air-conditioning for longer than necessary. There are two types of systems; automatic energy-management systems and human controlled energy-management systems.

Automatic systems use sensors to monitor and regulate temperature and lighting. For example, on a hot day, the system will automatically turn on ceiling fans or will tilt the blinds to cool the space.

Human controlled systems actually help to minimise human interaction with heating, lighting and cooling equipment. Individuals must use a card reader to enter a room. This allows the building to respond appropriately to their presence, adjusting light, temperature and supplying power to the outlets as needed.

Contributor: Written By Alasdair MacIsaac, Managing Director at Spark Squad - UK-based electrical contractors, offering both domestic and professional commercial electrical services. Alasdair has vast knowledge and expertise in state of the art electrical systems. With a degree in Electronic & Electrical Engineering from the Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen, Sidmouth-based Alasdair has worked as an Electrical & Electronic Engineer in the Offshore Oil & Gas Industry for the past ten years.

Tags: solar energy, green construction, Building-Integrated Photovoltaics, Electrochromic Glass, Eco-Electricity
| Filed in Blog, BIM, Collaboration

Elizabeth Kavanagh is the South West Regional BIM Hub Chair 

Experience in other industries suggests that failure to understand and adapt human behaviour, rather than technology, is the biggest impediment to collaborative working’ - Sir Michael Latham.

It is often quoted that successful BIM is 90% people and 10% process. At present the emphasis when talking about BIM is technology lead. This is natural enough given that digital innovation can be such a powerful enabler. Although Innovation through technology cannot independently deliver the benefits anticipated by fully collaborative BIM. Our prediction is that in the next phase of BIM development as we become familiar with the digital tools and the process elements the focus will shift and towards the human interactions.

The South West Regional BIM hub held a conference in 2012 introducing and exploring BIM concepts. From the discussions we had it was clear that the collective opinion was “it is all about behaviour”. There was also a recognition and a desire in the room to move from a culture characterised by adversarial behaviours towards a collaborative approach.

Some interesting questions came out of this discussion.

  1. How could we change our industry culture?
  2. What does collaboration look like?
  3. To what extent are we collaborating at present?
  4. What are the conditions which enable this change?

We identified that the first step in creating a collaborative culture is to be clear about what we are trying to create, by specifying what good collaboration looks like when it is happening.

To that end we initiated a group research project sponsored by UWE to specify the Behaviours of Collaboration. The aim of this is to enable collaboration to be a key part of the change in culture implied by Level 3 BIM.

So far we have conducted a review based on existing literature into collaboration within BIM and other sectors.

Our literature review quickly identified ten factors key to enabling collaboration:

  1. Trust / Respect
  2. Siloes / T shaped People
  3. Openness / Communications
  4. Common goals / New ways of working
  5. Leadership / Interpersonal skills

We used these factors during a series of workshops to initiate the development of a Profession Map which will specify the Behaviours of Collaboration. A Profession Map is used in other sectors for professional development and specifies not just the knowledge and skills required but also the behaviours. An example to explain the difference is;

Knowledge is information about a subject e.g. I understand how to indicate at a junction when driving a car

Skills are using what I know in a situation e.g. I indicate as a standard part of my driving when I turn into a junction

Behaviours are the way I use my skills-what you see me do e.g. whether I indicate in good time considerately or last minute as I am turning

It is our hope that this tool can be used widely by industry to support the development of these collaborative behaviours at all industry levels.

In order to explore the possibilities in this area further that we have created a group called Behaviours4Collaboration through which we will continue to facilitate a move from an adversarial to collaborative way of working within the construction industry. If you are interested in being part of this group please get in touch via our linkedin group Behaviours4Collaboration (B4C) or get in touch by email.

Contributer: Elizabeth Kavanagh is the South West Regional BIM Hub Champion and Head of Human Resources at Stride Treglown.

| Filed in Blog, BIM
No more BIM

Rob Charlton
CIC North East BIM Hub Member


The term BIM or Building Information Modelling has been in "general circulation" since around 2006/7. The term has done wonders for moving the construction industry towards a digital revolution. We have benefitted from improving hardware and software and emerging generations who don't see technology as an add on but a necessity.

Whilst the term BIM was not first used by Autodesk they invested in the term and promoted it as it very effectively communicated what they were trying to achieve with technology. Clearly with a better understanding of the value of their software and its value sales would increase.

From someone who has spent a career fighting against many of the things considered acceptable in the construction industry BIM and all of the associated software was music to my ears. We bought our first copy of Revit parametric software back in 2000. This was even before Autodesk had bought the company.

The marketing of the term BIM pushed everything up a level with the final vindication being in May 2011 when the then Government Chief Construction Advisor Paul Morrell mandated that a 3D coordination and data or BIM should be included in government projects by 2016.

Coupled with the mandate the government invested in the BIM Task Group who helped to define the specific requirements and what level 2 actually means.

Within the public sector it is still work in progress however huge strides have been made within early adopter departments such as the Ministry of Justice.

The private sector has identified the value itself and has embraced new technologies and processes largely off the back of the good work carried out by government.

However now the term BIM is far too generic and can cause confusion. It is so commonly used now that it can lose impact. This is similar to the term Partnering which was adopted in the late 90s. Many people used the term but how many people truly understood it and worked in this way.

We have all heard people and organisations say yes we do BIM or can you do BIM. The term is now working against the vision and objective and we must be far more specific and less generic.

What BIM actually was, was the catalyst for change across the construction sector. We are now in the middle of a revolution to Digitise the Construction Industry. We have to be more specific about what we are doing and what we are trying to achieve.

For example we will author models or federate them. We may extract data which can be used in the operation of the building. We may use the federated model to extract quantities or link elements to the programme. All of this could be referred to as "BIM" if we adopt the term how it is currently used. We often end up with lots of debate about what is BIM and what isn't or is this level 2 or level three.

Who cares? This is all theory. We are digitising the Construction industry so we can improve our product, process and perceptions. We must deliver better value to our clients and demonstrate we understand their business and their issues and that we are able to respond intelligently and positively.


Contributor: Rob is a member of the CIC NE BIM Hub. He is also Chief Executive of Space Group which now includes _space architects, BIM technologies, BIMstore, BIMcampus and volula. Rob was also instrumental in establishing BIM Show Live along with 

Under Rob’s leadership Space Group has focussed on improving the construction lifecycle through their BIG BIM framework . He is passionate about improving value and performance of buildings and how technology can be used positively in design construction and operation.

You can find Rob on Twitter Linkedin via email and

Tags: BIM, Building Information Modelling,Partnering
| Filed in Blog, Construction
A considerate industry – so is our job done?

Edward Hardy
Chief Executive
Considerate Constructors scheme


We’ve come a long way from wolf-whistles and cowboy builders.

The reputation of the construction industry has to be one of the most vigorously transformed and today professional practice, ethics and protocol are the cornerstones on which the sector is founded.

The Considerate Constructors Scheme’s aim is to improve the image of the construction industry. We’ve worked tirelessly for the past 17 years to implement our Code of Considerate Practice and target three key areas where the industry needed to improve; in building relationships with local communities and the general public, protecting the environment and valuing our workforce.

For many, the production of the Government’s Construction 2025 manifesto was the cherry on top; a clear signal that UK construction is a priority sector and one in which the Government identifies great economic prosperity. Working with our Scheme Supporters – a group of leading organisations in the field of construction – we are collaboratively aiming to meet the objectives of the Government’s strategy.

But where to from here? With so much positive gain isn’t our job done? Far from it. Not only is there the question of maintaining our high standards, but now our sector is addressing industry-wide issues such as community relations and site appearance, we can begin focusing on the future; namely attracting and motivating the next generation.

The next generation of construction workers, regardless of job title or responsibility, will be the first to enter into a wholly professional and respected industry – 20 years ago there was a perception that construction was for the un-skilled. The career prospects today are great and it’s starting to get noticed. A career in construction resembles making a difference to people’s standards of living, providing opportunity, building on the growth and prosperity of the UK and working with the public. For many it’s a career in which logical thinking and good communications skills are essential alongside robust training and the theory to support it.

We’re actively encouraging building companies to engage with the next generation by building relationships with schools and colleges, taking on apprenticeships and, for us, promoting how credible and rewarding the construction industry is to be part of.

Without the positive reputation we couldn’t whet the appetite of the next generation. As an industry, construction is in its strongest reputational position yet and now we’re here, phase two is to motivate, inspire and attract quality candidates.

This, after all, will enable us to grow professional practice in the minds of those at the start of their career to ensure they take it with them all the way to the top.

Contributor: Edward Hardy is CEO of The Considerate Constructors Scheme; a non-profit-making, independent organisation founded in 1997 by the construction industry to improve its image. For more information visit

Tags: Considerate Constructors scheme, Code of Considerate Practice, Construction 2025 manifesto