8th September Journal Column

 

By John Nielsen Director of CK21 and CIC/APS/CENE board member

The Construction Industry Council, North East are holding a North East Construction Summit on Wednesday 20 September at Newcastle Marriott Gosforth Park Hotel. The aim of the Summit is to work with the construction industry leaders from the region and national experts to develop a North East Construction Strategy focussed specifically on the issues, strengths and potential of our region whilst also taking into consideration the national factors affecting the North East – finally an initiative focussed solely on helping the North East.

In 2015 the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) commissioned Mark Farmer to review the labour model in the industry and look at the constraints that limit housebuilding and infrastructure development in the UK. The report, subtitled ‘Modernise or Die’, was a hard-read, identifying factors that have contributed to the downfall of the industry over the years, including low productivity, a dysfunctional training, funding and delivery model and a lack of collaboration. The report gave us a realistic view of where the industry was at and suggested what was needed to help the industry progress. Mark Farmer will start the Summit by discussing his report in more detail to help us assess the issues, strengths and potential in the North East.

Other topics that will be covered include: Innovation, People and Skills, Productivity, Procurement and Digital Solutions. Digital is the key enabler to allow us to build a more sustainable built environment, and we’ve certainly upped our game in terms of digital solutions over the years. The Building Information Modelling (BIM) level 2 mandate is now well underway, we’ve got apps for managing health and safety, augmented and virtual reality, even robot builders. The NBS also launched their Online Viewer, a quick and easy way for everyone working on a project to view a 3D model and associated specification without the need for additional software or a licence. With just a web browser and a free NBS ID, projects can be brought to life with linked manufacturer and specification data.

We might be making progress in the digital world but in terms of house building, we still have a long way to go. In the North East last year, an estimated 6,440 homes were built vs an annual target of 9,000 and only 1,420 of the 3,800 target for affordable homes were built. We need to take a step back and look at the region as whole, to think of ways that everyone can benefit – and that’s exactly what the North East Construction Strategy plans to do.

Speakers on the day include; Don Ward, CEO, Construction Excellence; Steve Crake, Head of Procurement and Supply Chain, Northumbrian Water; Dale Sinclair, RIBA Ambassador for Collaboration and Technical and many more.

To book your place at the North East Construction Summit or book exhibition space please contact CENE on 0191 5007880, catriona@cene.org.uk or amy@cene.org.uk