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Connecting my toaster to the internet?

Posted: 31st March 2014

Andrew Link

Chief Operating Officer

Construction Industry Council

If the Farrell Review, which is to be published later today, does nothing more than get the words ‘quality’ and ‘value’ into the mindset of those working in the built environment, it will have been a success. If it manages to capture the attention of the general public and government ministers, then it will have triumphed.

Understandably, over the past few years, the sector has focused strongly on technology. We are living in a fascinating digital age, where I can connect my toothbrush to the internet, the internet to my toaster and my toaster to the bath … or something similar. However, the question that needs to be asked about these technological advancements is: Why and how is this important?

With Alain de Botton on the panel of the Farrell Review, I imagine that this type of question has been asked a great many times and there are two major ones that need answers: Why is the built environment important to our lives? And, why is this important to the UK and to society as a whole? I understand that the answers will come in a 200 page report and on a website.

There will be few surprises for those of us who ask these questions on a regular basis, but we in the industry are not the audience for this report. The Farrell Review needs to be aimed at the general public, at government ministers and at UK plc so that they may read and understand the value of what the industry does and what it contributes to society on a daily basis.

If the Farrell Review does not make the case, I will have to go back and look at that toaster all over again.

Contributor: Andrew Link oversees the Design Quality Indicator,, for the CIC. The Design Quality Indicator helps stakeholders manage design quality in both new build and refurbishment projects. It has been used on over 1,400 projects in 11 years.