I have been involved with the UK’s Constructing Excellence movement for well over a decade (before Constructing Excellence was formed in 2003, I was involved in the work of several of its forerunners including the Construction Best Practice Programme, the IT Construction Best Practice Progamme, the Design Build Foundation, the Reading Construction Forum and Movement for Innovation, among others).*
The organisation is unique in the UK construction industry insofar as it draws its member organisations from right across the supply chain. Around a third of its members are industry clients; it also includes designers and other consultants, contractors, manufacturers and materials suppliers, and even some IT vendors and other specialists among its members.
It also represents the more progressive elements of the industry, being committed to promoting more integrated, collaborative forms of working – approaches that are based on trust and improve efficiency by taking adversarial attitudes and behaviours out of project team relationships. While in the vanguard of industry change initiatives, the organisation has long recognised that it needs to build partnerships with other bodies if it is to bring about its desired changes, and these bodies include academic institutions. Our colleges and universities play a critical role in teaching future professionals about industry working, and so Constructing Excellence is holding an event – “Academia and industry working together for a collaborative future” – next week, Thursday 20 June, at BRE in Watford to discuss how the higher education sector can help promote more collaborative approaches, capitalising upon issues such as climate change and BIM, and help foster better long-term relationships between industry and academia.
The event is not just focused on the curriculum or teaching role of universities; it will also explore research and employment agendas, and look at how construction businesses might also foster better commercial links with universities. One of my clients is the Association of Engineering Doctorates (the AEngD), so I will be taking a particular interest in the research-related outcomes of the event – and some of my AEngD colleagues will also be attending the event.
[Disclosure: I am an active member of the steering group of Constructing Excellence, a CE Collaborative Working Champion, a speaker at various CE local club events, and a tweeter from London Constructing Excellence Club events.]