NBS report: Confidence in BIM but no Confidence in its Enforcement


By Richard Waterhouse, CEO of NBS

Confidence in Building Information Modelling (BIM) but no confidence in its enforcement was one of the sentiments to come out of the eighth National BIM Report released by NBS earlier this month.

For the first time, less than a majority (47%) felt that the government is ‘on the right track’ when it comes to BIM. There’s no suggestion that the mandate was a mistake, or that the industry doesn’t agree with the ambitions to further embed BIM as ‘business as usual’, but it is the speed of this direction of travel that is increasingly the frustration.

BIM Level 2 is the foundation of digital transformation, providing data structures, responsibilities and process and whilst this report looks at the industry’s current attitude to BIM, the industry will not stand still. Digital transformation will continue.

Positives from the report show the biggest year-on-year growth on BIM usage and awareness since 2014, with a 12% increase on last year’s results, helping other stakeholders to trust the BIM process. There are signs that those with the influence to help drive this activity are listening, as the industry has seen the revision of the Construction Industry Council BIM Protocol based on industry feedback, the BIM Level 2 suite of standards and tools is being revised and the Centre for Digital Built Britain has now been created.

Although 70% of respondents call for more standardisation of BIM the report does indicate that an increasing number of respondents are using PAS 1192-2:2013 (44%) and Uniclass is gaining strong traction with just over a third now using the classification system. Adhering to standards is certainly one way to demonstrate good BIM practice.

BIM is more than the production of 3D models and collaboration is more than reducing coordination problems on-site through clash detection at design time. The next stage of the BIM journey must focus on both the information generated from the models and the information linked to the models. For this standardised information, structures must be followed in terms of the objects in the model and linked data sources such as project specifications.

Emerging technologies are continuing to provide new opportunities. The move from desktop to cloud computing will be a game changer in terms of collaboration, performance and transparency of decision making. Future transformative technology will build upon this foundation, helping the industry to create a step-change in productivity and quality within the industry, and NBS can and will play a part in this journey.

The 2018 report had 808 responses from a range of large to small practices and organisations carrying out a range of project types. The largest group to respond were architects (33%) with architectural technologists, BIM managers and technicians, clients, contractors, civil, structural and service engineers, surveyors and landscape architects all represented.

To read the full report visit www.theNBS.com/bim-report-2018

For more information on Constructing Excellence in the North East, please contact chief executive, Catriona Lingwood, on 0191 500 7880 or email catriona@cene.org.uk.

Brand Identity in Construction

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

Despite being an industry worth more than £120bn annually, construction companies just aren’t household names. We really struggle with brand identity, which may be part of the problem with industry perception. If nobody knows who you are or what you do, how are they meant to hear what you have to offer.

Construction is one of the biggest industries in the world, and because of what we do, we have a real potential to make a difference. More than any other industry, our decisions, innovation, ideas and products have a direct impact on the environment, the local community and area.

A great way to create a positive brand image is to simply show that you care. People are becoming more aware of the effect we are having on our environment and the industry plays a big part in that. Construction companies need to show that they are taking the environment into consideration when planning and carrying out their latest projects. It also pays to get involved in community projects and show your dedication to corporate social responsibility.

Ever since the introduction of the Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012, the procurement landscape has been changing with public sector bodies now requiring contractors to deliver ‘added value’ as part of contracts. The industry provides huge social value opportunities for local communities, the local economy and the environment. Opportunities could be anything from; using local suppliers or recycled materials to engaging with local schools or community groups or providing training or work experience opportunities for unemployed people and employing apprentices.

Farrans Construction and Victor Buyck recently worked with Sunderland City Council to identify and tackle societal needs, bringing apprentices to full-time employment and providing a benchmark for community engagement under the council’s future procurement. The Northern Spire Bridge project was ranked as exceptional and scored nine out of ten in each of the five areas; care about appearance, respect the community, protect the environment and secure everyone’s safety. It’s great to see projects so close to home getting the praise and recognition they deserve.

Putting people at the heart of projects is happening all across the industry, it’s just not shouted about enough. The industry is fairly private and relatively media shy, which doesn’t help the misconception. If the public knew half of what I do about how important society and the environment is to these projects, I’m sure the perception would soon change.

It’s rare to hear praise from the public about the way construction firms go about their business but that needs to change. It goes both ways; companies should be shouting about the positive work they’re doing, and they should be receiving praise for it, after all the praise would be very well deserved.

For more information on Constructing Excellence in the North East, please contact chief executive, Catriona Lingwood, on 0191 500 7880 or email catriona@cene.org.uk

11/05/2018 – Working Towards Changing the Public Perception of the Industry

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

For years we’ve struggled to change the public perception of the industry. We’ve come a long way in terms of technology and skills, and people just aren’t aware of the reality of the construction industry today.

We still have an image problem in that, particularly young people, think that construction is just a manual labour role involving bricklaying, woodworking and plastering. I’ve said it time and time again, but we’re more than just hard hats and muddy boots. The industry is one of the most innovative industries employing some of the smartest people I know. Construction is about changing and shaping the world around you for the better – what’s more creative and powerful than that?

The problem we have is that young people see other industries as more fun and innovative and that’s probably down to social media showing insight into offices and articles you often see online for the ‘world’s coolest office’. But what they usually forget is that it was the creative minds of our industry who designed and built them in the first place. The cool and usual designs, whether that’s the Google offices with slides and their funky relaxed working environments or the Money.co.uk office with meeting rooms modelled on ice caves, ski lodges and libraries, wouldn’t have been possible without our industry.

It is crucial for us to also change the stereotype that construction is a career choice for only white men. We are building communities for everyone to live in, therefore we need people from all walks of life to be involved with the planning, design and building to ensure they meet everyone’s needs. We’ve come on leaps and bounds with understanding the positive benefits of a diverse workforce and there are multiple initiatives and schemes to support further improvement.

We are continually working hard to change perceptions and present an accurate reflection of the construction industry. To do this, we must work with the public to make construction accessible, helping people to see what the industry is all about. Educating the people who influence young people’s career decisions is essential; the parents, teachers and careers advisers need to better understand what the industry can offer in terms of job roles and careers for the future. This means spending time with schools to show the opportunities available and get them as excited about technology and design as we are.

Our Generation4Change (G4C) group is made up of young people, up to the age of 35, employed in the industry who actively work in schools, with teachers and careers professionals to help promote careers in construction. The commitment and passion for construction demonstrated by these individuals is incredible and I can assure you, if anyone can change the public perception of the industry, it’s them.

For more information on Constructing Excellence in the North East, please contact chief executive, Catriona Lingwood, on 0191 500 7880 or email catriona@cene.org.uk.

NCBF Proud to sponsor recent G4C 2018 Awards

The third year of the G4C awards took place on Friday 27 April and Northern Counties Builders Federation was the headline sponsor for the event which had over 210 attendees celebrating the future leaders of the construction industry.

The G4C North East Awards is a celebration of the region’s emerging talent and the organisations who support and train them. The headline sponsorship from NCBF meant that the event was bigger and better than ever.

G4C, part of the Constructing Excellence Group and comprising young professionals who are passionate about making a difference in the sector, is a movement for change in construction.

Jeff Alexander, chair of NCBF, said: ‘NCBF and G4C share many aims. At a time when one of the main concerns of the sector relates to skills shortages, we are delighted to be the main sponsor for the G4C awards evening as part of our ongoing commitment to training and skills development.

‘Together with our members, we are passionate about ensuring the future success of the construction industry. We are supporting these awards because we wish to acknowledge those who are positive role models for all young people thinking of embarking on a career in construction.

‘All nominees are to be congratulated, but the true stars, tonight’s award winners, have been singled out for their unique contributions as ambassadors for the industry. They have already demonstrated real talent—which means that the future sustainability of the North East construction industry moves a few steps closer.’

Catriona Lingwood, chief executive of CENE, said: ‘On behalf of G4C North East I would like to say an enormous thank you to NCBF for being the headline sponsor and for the tremendous amount of support NCBF have given over the past few years.

‘I would also like to thank NCBF for sponsoring the recruitment video for G4C to attract new entrants to the industry—this was aired for the first time at the awards event.’

The winner of the future leader award which was sponsored by NCBF— and the main award of the evening— was Irina Korneychuk, nominated and employed by FaulknerBrowns Architects.

Other awards and sponsors of the evening included:

  • Student of the Year–Higher education, sponsored by Bowmer & Kirkland, won by Ruta Bertauskyte (FaulknerBrowns).
  • Student of the Year—Further education, sponsored by Bowmer & Kirkland, won by Rebecca Hodge (Gus Robinson Developments).
  • Apprentice of the Year—Trade, sponsored by NWG, won by Shane Ventress (Engie).
  • Apprentice of the Year—Technical, sponsored by NWG, won by Amy Glister (Elvet Construction Consultants).
  • Trainee of the year, sponsored by Mott Macdonald and Mott Macdonald Bentley, won by Mark Robinson (Esh-MWH).
  • New professional of the year, sponsored by Wates Construction, won by Ashleigh Scott (Mott MacDonald Bentley).
  • Commitment to employee and training development, sponsored by Turner & Townsend, won by Faithful+Gould My Career.
  • Mentor of the year, sponsored by CDM, won by Lee Kirk (Metnor Construction).

04/05/2018 – Managing and Preventing Mental Health in the Workplace


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

Mental Health Awareness Week (14 – 20 May 2018) is the perfect time for everyone to talk about mental health. It’s a great opportunity to address work-related stress and the best ways to prevent and manage it.

Research suggests that those working in our industry could be 10 times more likely to die by suicide than from on-site accidents, which is why weeks like this are so important. This year the theme of the week is stress. Research has shown that two thirds of us experience a mental health problem in our lifetimes, and stress is a key factor in this. Stress can lead to other mental health problems such as anxiety, depression or even suicide. We all know what it’s like to feel stressed – it’s part of everyday life. But when you’re overwhelmed by stress it may lead to mental health problems or make existing problems worse.

Work can be a big cause of stress, particularly when demands are greater than the ability to cope, or relationships with management is poor. We need to ensure employees and employers have the tools and knowledge they need to create a mentally healthy workplace where everyone feels valued and supported.

To ensure we have a mentally safe industry, we need to put measures in place to increase good supportive workplaces and reduce workplace stressors where possible. We are delighted to be working with Be. The Centre for Wellbeing to achieve just that. The event, on May 16, will focus on managing Mental Health in the Workplace. During the presentation, Emily Pearson, Head of Workplace Wellbeing will look at the following:

  • Mental health in construction
  • What are the benefits of a mentally healthy workforce?
  • How can you achieve culture change?
  • A manager’s perspective of managing mental health in the workplace

Be. specialises in Workplace Wellbeing under the Health & Safety agenda. Their Workplace Wellbeing Framework is an opportunity for businesses or organisations to actively improve the health and well-being of its workforce and reap the benefits from this culture change. Over the last three years, they have developed, piloted, evaluated and re-developed a tried and tested Framework that has proved to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health in the workplace. It provides everything from expert consultancy to accredited training courses and wellbeing sessions.

Their commitment to the health and wellbeing of staff has proved to reduce stigma, provide knowledge, skills and support to significantly lower the costs related to sickness absence and presenteeism due to mental health problems in the workplace. We need to be talking about stress and depression, we need to ask for help if we need it, whether that be for ourselves or our employees, it’s much more common than we all think, and there’s absolutely no shame in that.

For more information or to register for this event, please contact Amy Holmes on 0191 500 7880 or amy@cene.org.uk