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News & opinion

5 APR 2018

Client view: the future of construction

Beth West, head of development for Landsec, gives a client perspective on current developments in the construction industry. The company manages a £14.5bn portfolio of office, retail, leisure estate in London and across the UK.

Procurement

We’ve used the traditional design and build models in the past but now we are looking at how we can procure in a way to take advantage of technology and innovation. We have a sustainability charter which all our suppliers must adhere to, and are also open to modern methods of construction to help address the needs of some projects.

It would be good if procurement wasn’t always handled in such a transactional way. We need to look at different procurement models so that it’s not just a case of responding to ITTs without any sort of collaboration on the delivery. The construction industry doesn’t use modern supply chain relationships in order to get the best out of its suppliers. It just tends to put out a client design for response by the contractors, irrespective of whether or not it’s the best way to deliver the project.

The role of BIM

It’s a must have. If you don’t have it, we’re not going to want to use you. It’s as simple as that.

London is an incredibly resilient city, even if there’s a short-term impact caused by the uncertainties surrounding Brexit, London will bounce back.

Lessons from Carillion’s collapse

Certainly, transparency is key. But we need to carefully reflect on what the risks are, and I think we could do more in terms of how we can better collaborate so that we are not just palming off all the risk to the contractor.

Diversity

I feel poor mental health and the struggle to retain woman in the industry are both symptomatic with the issue of corporate culture. There’s still a very ‘macho’ culture in the construction industry. We need to address the cause by creating a tolerant corporate environment within which all people want to work. It’s something other industries have focussed on in order to attract the very best millennial talent.

My advice to woman entering the industry right now would be to pick your employer carefully and to never let people tell you can’t do something. If they say you can’t, then you probably shouldn’t be there.

The London markets

I think London is an incredibly resilient city, even if there’s a short-term impact caused by the uncertainties surrounding Brexit, people will continue to invest and London will bounce back.