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News & opinion

16 AUG 2019

Way to go: Emma Stapleton FRICS

Oliver Parsons, Modus Editor, RICS

Oliver Parsons

Editor of Modus

RICS

The COO and co-founder of Copronet talks about her mission to make surveyors better connected.

After being frustrated about the limited pool of professionals and contractors that her firm would always end up using, Emma Stapleton FRICS co-founded TenderSpace in 2017. The LinkedIn-style networking platform showcases the skills and experience of construction professionals together in one place. It was relaunched earlier this year as Copronet.

Don’t people already have enough social media platforms?  

The problem is they’re not specific enough. At an RICS conference last year, we asked how many people use some form of collaborative tool on a regular basis and about a quarter of the audience put their hand up. We then asked how many had a LinkedIn account, and everyone put their hand up. While that’s fine, surely our industry professionals shouldn’t just be using a very generalised social network to communicate, collaborate and find talent?

What do the main social media platforms we use get wrong?

They are too social, which increasingly means far too much noise. Who really needs endless photos of cats, trite motivational quotes or bland self-promotional posts? I've always felt we needed a way for people and businesses to clearly showcase their best projects, skills and talent, without anything irrelevant clogging up the space.

You recently renamed the collaboration platform you co-founded from TenderSpace to Copronet – why was that?

We felt we had lost sight of our vision of helping to connect people across the building industry. Hopefully our new name Copronet – the construction professional's network – gets this across a bit better. The platform looks and feels similar to more established social media networks such as LinkedIn or Facebook, which is deliberate, because people are already familiar with them. Whether you are a contractor or a client, with our network you can discreetly find people who would be ideal for your project. We also provide our members with productivity tools such as construction project management software, a free-to-access database of UK planning leads public sector projects and a business credit check tool.

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The industry has finally woken up to the fact that if we all work together, rather than in silos, then everyone benefits.

Emma Stapleton

Who is using the platform?

We've now got nearly half a million projects and leads on the network, including one of the UK's largest developers, which is using the platform to communicate better with its existing supply chain. At my previous firm, I was always concerned that, probably for the sake of convenience, we kept using the same people for our projects, rather than seeking out new talent perhaps more suited to the task. Among other things, our users are using the platform to find new talent in their supply chains by "fishing" for people with the exact skills they need in a much wider pool.

How do you see online networks evolving?

Our profession still needs to do more to innovate and adapt to new online technologies. Even though one in 10 jobs are in construction, it is still the second least digitised industry in the world. The best way to improve this is to increase collaboration – the industry has finally woken up to the fact that if we all work together, rather than in silos, everyone can benefit. Networking technology can help us do so much more – if it's user friendly, embracing it can only lead to more productivity and increased transparency.

Copronet is part of the RICS Data and Tech Community

This article originally appeared in the Precision issue of Modus (Jul-Aug 2019). The opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of RICS.
Oliver Parsons, Modus Editor, RICS

Oliver Parsons

Editor of Modus

RICS

An experienced and award-winning magazine editor, Oliver has worked in the sectors of property, insurance, automotive and technology. At Sunday Publishing, he has edited titles for a variety of high-profile clients, including Miller Homes, British Gas, Allianz and Toyota, as well as RICS.

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