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How can we get the best out of the industry?

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Chris Kane Chris Kane | 14:01 UK time, Friday, 30 April 2010

During recent months I have made a number of remarks, (for example, see Building Magazine, 12 March), about the difficulty of getting the best out of the construction and property industry. I was heartened to see that other people agree with me and that there are some who take issue - so let the debate commence!

As a starter for ten let me refer to a January 2010 article in CoreNet Global's The Leader. In a compelling commentary, Rex Miller recounts an exercise undertaken in the USA designed to get participants in our market to challenge current thinking.

For me the following quotations resonate:

"....if everybody working on buildings has essentially the same commitment to excellence why does this process so often go horribly wrong?"

"Creating great spaces is rarely easy - it's characteristically painful." - There's got to be a better way (Dick Haworth).

"The industry is broken and needs transformation."

If this type of debate is underway on the other side of the pond shouldn't we in the UK be joining in?


  • Comment number 1.

    I think you're right that we keep having this debate and we should always be looking to improve. But...

    Isn't the BBC rightly proud though of what it delivered in at PQ in Glasgow and that Peel delivered the MediaCityUK buildings early? Just how broken is it if such results are possible?

    The UK started having this debate in 1994 with Latham and in 1998 with Egan (http://www.architecture.com/Files/RIBAHoldings/PolicyAndInternationalRelations/Policy/PublicAffairs/RethinkingConstruction.pdf%29. I know we can do more but maybe, for once, we're ahead of our friends across the Atlantic.

  • Comment number 2.

    I agree with Lookingnorths view that the BBC has a lot to be proud of -we're not perfect and have made mistakes in the past but in the round we have a good story to tell.
    We need however to take a big picture perspective - construction is just one part of the spectrum we also need to consider its two siblings. The world of property and facility management are all part of the same supply chain as far as I'm concerned. Yet we continue to operate as three separate silos!
    From a consumer approach this makes it difficult to extract the best from British construction because of the influences say of the property investment community whilst the views of those charged with operating the finished product are rarely taken into account during the design development process.

    I believe that the industry is missing out on a lot of opportunities thereby leaving a much better and more sustainable legacy for the generations that follow us. After all, for those of us who are practictioners in this field we're merely stewards of the built environment


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