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Not only do Grenfell and the demise of Carillion bring the UK recurring challenges to the sector, but globalisation and technological change threaten seismic changes.
The industry inherently knows this but harmonising fragmented and widely different perspectives from key stakeholders seems as far away as ever.
At the same time, some of the technological developments and opportunities to learn from other industries (like digitisation and modern methods of construction) and some of the changes proposed in the Construction Sector Deal offer huge potential for addressing these problems – but will they be enough?
RICS wants to facilitate truly wide and insightful debate in this area. We therefore organised a Built Environment Leaders Forum in Parliament Square on Friday 20 July to discuss these matters. The objective was to gain and share insight that will provide thought leadership in the sector and guide the development of standards.
In support of the proposition, the following key points were made:
Opposing the proposition, it was initially argued:
In summary, there was broad consensus that there is a need for change. In some ways the debate centred around whether structure should follow industrial strategy in the sector, or vice versa. Who should lead the change? Does the market need ‘nudging’ and how would this be done? Is the industry capable of structural transformation? How will micro and SME businesses engage with this change? What new business models need to emerge to change behaviours?
In terms of professional development, there was no doubt that we need new minds with new thinking. As well as better developed soft skills to enable better management and integration, there was a need for recognition of a longer tail of specialisms to cover the challenges of new technology and industrialisation.
RICS intend to facilitate further debate on these key themes and develop collaborative standards where required. Meanwhile, we would like to know your reaction to this debate. Please email us your comments.
Alan Muse FRICS
Director of Built Environment Professional Groups
Alan has more than 30 years experience in construction (with 15 years as a director), specialising in the project and cost management of schemes up to £4 billion. Projects have been across all sectors, but particularly offices, industrial, mixed-use, urban regeneration, data centres and public sector schemes such as schools and rail and road infrastructure. Overseas experience includes spells in both the Middle East and Indonesia.