FROM THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT
Firstly, may I take this opportunity to wish all our members a happy New Year, and I hope your year continues to be successful, healthy and prosperous.
Time is flying by so quickly, it only seems like yesterday since I wrote my last president’s page, but my journeys over the past weeks have continued where collaborating and engaging with industry professionals has remained high on my agenda.
QUALITY – QUALITY – QUALITY
Better quality is the key ‘Buzz’ word and shout for 2018 which, as our members know, was one of my main objectives when taking up the Presidency in May. The notion of quality can sometimes mean different things to different people but, in essence, Performance, Skills, Productivity, durability, fitness for purpose etc are the main terms we associate with quality, so it’s good news to see a number of initiatives now being actioned to tackle this issue.
A new code to protect buyers of new build homes against poor quality work was launched in early December. The new Consumer Code for New Homes has been formally launched following approval by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI). The Consumer Code for New Homes (CCNH) has been established to ensure best practice in the marketing, selling and purchasing of new homes. It aims to provide a genuine commitment to improving standards of construction and raising customer service standards in the new build homes market, and this code in the new build sector is the only approved code which is backed by an industry collective of warranty bodies.
In late November the All Party Parliamentary Group for Excellence in the Built Environment (APPGEBE) announced that it is looking into the potential and detail for a New Homes Ombudsman, which is excellent news, and the CIOB’s Construction Quality Commission continues its drive and focus to establish and promote a culture of quality within the Construction sector.
Although this is good news, we still need to address the quality and standards of competent builders, and a way forward in addressing this is a UK Construction Industry Register similar to that which is operated successfully in Europe and in Ireland; and the CIRI (Construction Industry Register Ireland) is an official register supported by government, in which any construction company operating in Ireland will need to meet exacting standards in terms of quality, competence and financial capability.
Builders and contractors under the current CIRI registration process must demonstrate tax clearance and confirmation that appropriate insurances are in place. Applicants are required to demonstrate practical hands-on experience of working in construction, generally for a period of no less than three years and demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of the legislative and regulatory context in which construction is practised, and must outline details of a minimum of three projects demonstrating their construction experience and matching the competencies claimed as part of the application process for registration.
In May the Ireland Construction Industry Federation submitted the CIR 2017 Bill to become a legal register, and although the process is still ongoing it certainly offers a far better system of quality control than anything we currently have in place. In Europe, if you’re not on the register you don’t get insurance, and to be on the register you must possess good health and safety awareness and a thorough understanding of legislative requirements and responsibilities.
Maybe it’s time this system was considered for the whole of the UK!
Collaboration and promoting CABE
Following the successful CABE conference in Warwickshire John Hooper and I headed off to San Francisco to attend their first USA conference and on our return it was back to a hectic workload in the office, before then off to engage at some industry events.
My first stop was to attend the Alumni based Networking event at the RICS offices in London with Tony Ginda and Michael Wadood. Ironically, and unplanned, we all turned up with blue shirts and red ties which certainly made us stand out, and Michael and I gave a joint presentation on Industry Quality.
This event was well received with over 100 attendees, and it was good for CABE to be such a prominent face in the RICS offices, and Tony certainly had many membership enquiries to follow up on.
My next stop was the CIAT event in Newcastle where I was able to join up with many old colleagues. Always a highlight event of the year, but this event was particularly special as it was the handover event of Gary Mees to new president Alex Narain. I’m sure Gary will now enjoy a much deserved rest following his hard work over the past two years and I wish him well, has I do Alex in his new role. His passion for Architectural Technology and the role of CIAT members is to be commended and no doubt we will hear his message loud and clear over the next two years.
It was also good to join up with Ron Philpot, President of the Institute of Clerks of Works (ICWCI), and Bobby Chakravarthy, President of the Association of Project Safety (APS), and although the table humour and conversation was refreshing it was also pleasing to discuss our presidential objectives, and I look forward to meeting with both again very shortly in our journey to promote better collaborative opportunities between our professional bodies.
The NHBC Luncheon event at the Church House Conference Centre, Westminster, was my next stop along with John Hooper, Gavin Dunn and Ant Burd. It was good to have such CABE representation, and again it was good to catch up with many industry colleagues. Sajid Javid MP gave an interesting talk on industry values, quality and the need for better standards, and he was followed by Andrew Neil, who presents the Sunday politics show. His talk was very lively and I’m sure Andrew would have raised many questions from the attendees, if he had not been stopped by the sounding of the fire alarm and the sounding call to vacate the building. An interesting event bought to a swift conclusion, but I’m sure this will be remedied at next year’s event.
On that note it’s time for me to close and I look forward to seeing many of you throughout the year.
BA(Hons) C.Build E PCABE FCABE MCIAT PEng MSPE