Construction industry under the spotlight
I can’t believe it is six months since we were all trapped in the middle of the Beast from the East in Newcastle. Despite the weather, BIM Show Live 2018 was another success and only a very few delegates were unable to make it. A few of our Scottish colleagues even stayed for an extra couple of days (not necessarily through choice!).
We have started the planning for BIM Show Live 2019 and will once again return to the Boiler Shop, Newcastle on the Wednesday 27th and Thursday 28th of February.
This year, during my state of the nation presentation I talked about the previous 12 months and how it had been one of the most challenging periods which the construction sector had ever faced.
We had suffered the Grenfell tragedy and saw the demise of Carillion. The eyes of the country were all on construction with many questions such as ‘why’ and ‘how’ being asked?
We were all just coming to terms with what had happened during this year’s show, but today we are thankfully getting our heads around such things and a lot has happened (or is happening since) – all of which will shape our future.
The Grenfell enquiry is ongoing and is unlikely to issue its recommendations until 2020. However, Carillion had their own enquiry which completed in May 2018 and was particularly critical of the board of directors and their commitment to financial compliance.
Following Dame Judith Hackett’s independent report on fire safety in the construction sector, the government have started a consultation process on Approved Document B. The consultation ends in October with outline recommendations due late autumn and a clarified Approved Document issued in 2019.
Since BIM Show Live 2018, the government has confirmed the Construction Sector Deal which focuses on improving productivity in the construction industry. The £420 million public private sector partnership will fund research, development and innovation to improve efficiency and productivity.
However, just this month we were reminded of the challenge we face when Dame Hackett addressed the IOSH conference and was very critical of construction. She was even quoted in saying that standards in the built environment were ‘truly shocking’.
These are unprecedented times in construction. We can view this as an opportunity to reflect and set a new direction whilst changing the perceptions of the built environment. We are setting the pace globally in relation to digital construction, and there is no reason why we can’t become a sector to be proud of if we maintain the energy and collaboration we have seen over the last 10 years.
Others are clearly also seeing this potential, as evidenced by the fact that construction technology received $1.05 million of venture capital investment in the first half of 2018 according to a recent JLL report.
BIM Show Live has always given me a useful milestone to reflect upon the progress the built environment has made over the years. Our 2019 show will be our eighth event and, thinking back to 2011, we have travelled a long way.
Construction is now one of the most exciting sectors, with an appetite for new technologies and challenging how things are done. As the enquiries and consultations progress, the past failings of the sector will continue to be laid bare. During this time and beyond we need to continue with our drive for change, so that Grenfell or Carillion never happens again.
We recently launched the call for papers for BIM Show Live 2019 and it was encouraging to see the number of new (young) faces at the launch party.
About 10 years ago, a small bunch of people came together who were passionate about improving construction through the use of technology. Today, there is another generation coming through who will help build upon the momentum which was started.
By February next year, we will have feedback from the enquiries and consultations which will set the challenges we need to address during the next 12 months.
I have checked the long-range forecast and you will all be please to know that on the 27th and 28th February 2019 Newcastle is going to be bathed in glorious sunshine with temperatures reaching 34 degrees!
See you in the Toon in February.
CEO, Space Group and co-founder of BIM Show Live