18th December Journal Column

By Catriona Lingwood, Chief Executive of Constructing Excellence in the North East

It’s that time of year again when everywhere you look there are reviews of the last 12 months and predictions of what we can expect from the year ahead. If I had to summarise what 2015 was like for our industry, I would say two things- amazing, but bloomin’ hard work!

A new year is a natural point in time where we assess how things have gone over the past 12 months and look at what we can do better in the coming year. We’re all so busy these days (which,  of course, is never a bad thing) that we forget to stop and think about the bigger picture- the saying ‘remember to pause- or nothing worthwhile will catch up to you’ has never been so relevant.

In the past 12 months, there have been more highs than lows I’m pleased to say! The industry has progressed in terms of education, employability, and new technology.

We’ve finally joined the 21st century with awareness of BIM and 3D printing being higher than ever across the industry, and it’s a good job too, with the government announcing the BIM Mandate which states that all firms tendering for Government projects must be using Level 2 BIM technology by 2016 – which somehow is almost upon us!

Throughout the year we’ve seen that BIM is high across building services, and although they are aware of BIM and the looming deadline, most firms still have a long way to go in order to meet it. Hopefully these technologies will just be a normal part of the construction process in the next few months (we don’t have much choice really) – and if a technophobe like me can say that, there’s hope for us all!

Wherever you look, there are campaigns to encourage people to consider a career in construction – a huge success this year in my opinion.

This year we’ve supported The Armed Forces Employability Pathway programme which links Army Reserves, Local Authority, Job Centre Plus and local employers to help people into work.

The Journal also launched their ‘Let’s Work Together Campaign’ and the Construction Industry Training Board have launched their Go Construct campaign, both encouraging companies to address the skills gap in the region and working towards filling the 220,000 jobs that are needed in the next few years.

The government are also encouraging people into the industry by increasing the apprentice wage by 57p – the largest increase in history. It’s good to see everyone is doing all they can to encourage more people to look at our industry as a first career choice- hopefully this will only continue as we go into 2016.

There are so many other things that I could mention, but I don’t want to keep you away from your festivities for too long! So, based on that, there’s just one thing left for me to say, from all of us at Constructing Excellence in the North East, we wish you a very Merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous 2016.