We have been partnering clients in the Built Environment for over 7 years through our team of industry experts but, as Managing Director, this was my first visit to UK Construction Week. Having recently visited Explore Offsite Expo at the Ricoh Arena, I was expecting the same level of innovative thinking, future strategies to tackle the housing crisis, the industries skills shortage and the bleak outlook if, as a global society, we don't tackle climate change by building energy efficient and sustainable homes.
I wasn't disappointed and no matter which stage I visited, the speakers were all full of energy, passion and clearly had a strong purpose to change the industry's approach to construction, house building and the skills and sustainability issues that are a recurring theme for the sector. However, no matter how excited I and the audience got about the innovative solutions being presented, each talk seemed to strike a hard barrier half way through which were caused by the industry's deeply embedded culture that was averse to change and the UK government's lack of proactive and positive legislation that would really led the way. Speaker after speaker commented about other countries embracing the need for change but the UK lagged behind. Pretty depressing really and, I must admit, that on our expert topic of helping our clients to attract high calibre talent, they keep resorting to what they have always done. Not many are being brave and seeking new solutions. Instead they are happy to recycle talent that is already in their industry.
In both cases, surely the built environment industry, as well as our government, has to start taking risks and bringing new "things" including talent, from other sectors whose ideas could help us to break the mould, challenge the very historical norms and get the industry moving to achieve the vision that we all seem to have for it.
I really enjoyed the visit but boy did I come home frustrated!!
As any busy engineering or consultancy professional will admit, it can be difficult to justify time away from the job. But learning, networking and discovering are all essential to help keep on top of the latest industry insights, research, services and products. At UK Construction Week (UKCW), engineering professionals get the best of all worlds, with bespoke content on a selection of topical issues in civils and infrastructure, but also exposure to a wider range of construction, regeneration and specialist technical learning.