Winston Churchill once said that 'we shape our buildings, thereafter they shape us'. This is, in essence, the theme of this issue.
Churchill was of course speaking in 1943 and referring to plans to rebuild the Houses of Parliament following the Blitz, but his words are as true now as they were then. He was talking about the bigger picture; that is, what we put into buildings and, ultimately, what we get out of them.
These days the construction industry regularly uses different words for the same concept: sustainability, social value, collaborative working. All of these epitomise the idea of thinking beyond the bricks and mortar to the end product and its effects. Those effects take a number of forms – economic, environmental, and social – as the RICS competency of Sustainability, mandatory on all pathways, details.
So Julie Hirigoyen, chief executive of the UK Green Building Council, opens this issue with an exploration of the term sustainability and its three pillars, before Ann Bentley and Dr Shamir Ghumra debate the true role that it plays in our industry. This debate format is something we'd like to feature more in the journal, and I welcome your thoughts on topics you'd like to see covered this way.
Meanwhile Rob Wolfe, who chairs the social value subgroup at Constructing Excellence, talks us through why we should be considering social value as part of a physical asset's total value, and the benefits of doing so. One particular project that placed sustainability and social value at its core is Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. It has gone from abandoned wasteland to world-renowned sports venue and then a long-lasting community, and Rosanna Lawes describes its journey, touching on the new RICS competency of Inclusive environments along the way.
If Churchill's words are true of buildings, they are also true of our industry – the way we shape it shapes us. John Nielsen addresses this as he maintains that more effective means of tendering and procurement will sustain our industry, while Luke Turner outlines the importance of SMEs in construction.
Elsewhere in the issue, Luise Noring looks to Scandinavia for some examples of self-governing and financing arrangements for cities, and Dr Jennifer Schooling discusses the benefits of data curation and management. Dr Schooling will chair the RICS Infrastructure Conference in April this year.
Roland Finch then provides an overview of the latest NBS National Construction Contracts and Law Report, Daniel Hutchings advises what surveyors should do if they suspect a contractor's impending insolvency, and Shy Jackson gives us a rundown of last year's key construction law cases.
I hope you'll enjoy not only the content of these articles but also the fresh look that the new year has brought – please do get in touch to let me know what you think.
Whether it's 1943 or 2019, Churchill's words ring true. The roles of quantity surveyors and project managers are vital to the global community – you shape our buildings, thereafter they shape us.
Steph edits the Construction Journal and conservation-related material for the Built Environment Journal. What she enjoys most is the skills exchange involved in editing the journals – combining the technical knowledge of the authors with her understanding of writing, language and the publishing process. Her previous experience includes work on newspapers, magazines and medical journals.