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MAY 2017 For members of the CIOB



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Switchboard +44 (0)20 7490 5595 Editor Denise Chevin 0203 865 1032 07979 245800 Deputy editor James Kenny 0203 865 1031 Online production editor Lucien Howlett Art editor Heather Rugeley Community editor Nicky Roger Redesign art director Mark Bergin Advertising manager Dave Smith 0203 865 1029 Key account manager Tom Peardon 0203 865 1030 Credit control Eva Rugeley Managing director Stephen Quirke Circulation Net average 31,157 Audit period: 1 July 2015 – 30 June 2016 Subscriptions To subscribe or for enquiries, please contact: Subscription team Tel: 01344 630831 Or write to them at: CIOB, 2nd Floor, 1 Arlington Square, Downshire Way, Bracknell RG12 1WA Construction Manager Published for the Chartered Institute of Building by Atom Publishing, 2nd Floor, 3 Waterhouse Square, 138 Holborn, London EC1N 2SW Tel: +44 (0)20 7490 5595 Fax: +44 (0)20 7490 4957 Editorial advisory board Mark Beard FCIOB, Ann Bentley, Ian Eggers, Peter Caplehorn, Harvey Francis, Professor Jacqui Glass FCIOB, Paul Morrell, James Pellatt, Nick Raynsford, Richard Saxon, Andy von Bradsky, Phil Wade Construction Manager is published monthly by Atom Publishing. The contents of this magazine are copyright. Reproduction in part or in full is forbidden without permission of the editor. The opinions expressed by writers of signed articles (even with pseudonyms) and letters appearing in the magazine are those of their respective authors, and neither the CIOB, Atom Publishing nor Construction Manager is responsible for these opinions or statements. The editor will give careful consideration to material submitted – articles, photographs, drawings and so on – but does not undertake responsibility for damage or their safe return. Printed by The Wyndeham Group. All rights in the magazine, including copyright, content and design, are owned by CIOB and/or Atom Publishing. ISSN 1360 3566

In this issue








Prelims 04 Skanska’s concrete robot 05 News in numbers 06 CCS’s Isabel Martinson 07 Richard Pateman looks back 09 Mark Farmer on quality 12 CM’s new editorial board 15 CIOB news 16 Chris Blythe 21 Feedback

22 28 36 38 66

Experts 42 Apprenticeship levy advice 43 Sarah Fox on contracts 44 Assad Maqbool on innovation 46 CPD: Cavity closers 52 This year’s Plantworx winners

Insight • Onsite Councils start building again Lord’s new Warner stand Lord’s Media Centre upgrade Visiting Egger’s board factory The solution: The Curve

Community 56 New CIOB MD Terry Watts 57 Training partnerships 60 Student challenge

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06 09 12 13 16

Skanska UK is aiming to create the world’s first commercial 3D concrete printing robot, which could be used on site to produce variety of elements including cladding panels. It hopes to have a commercial machine ready for operation within 18 months. The contractor, which has a UK turnover of £1.4bn a year, has been working on a prototype of the robot for the last two years with partners Foster + Partners, Buchan Concrete, Lafarge Tarmac and robotics maker ABB. But it has accelerated development by becoming the first construction company to join the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) in Coventry. The MTC is a partnership between some of the UK’s major global manufacturing firms, including ABB, and three universities: Birmingham, Nottingham and Loughborough. It aims to provide a competitive environment to bridge the gap between university-based research and the development of innovative manufacturing solutions, in line with the government’s manufacturing strategy.

What next?


Skanska UK innovation manager David Lewis explained: “Up until December we were doing everything ourselves and had taken it as far as we could do, but by joining MTC we now have a proper lab and research facilities to conduct further tests and work on the project full-time.” Construction Manager was recently given a tour of the facility and was able to witness a prototype robot in action – though photography was off-limits. Towering above the average person, the advanced six-axis robot is fitted with a computer-controlled printer nozzle, attached to a gantry and a robotic arm, which deposits a high-performance concrete. The nozzle extrudes a bead of concrete about 10mm in diameter and, like a normal printer, makes passes back and forth in rapid succession, laying down successive layers of concrete until an entire 3D object is created. Lewis said: “The robot would be particularly good for use in creating different cladding

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Digest f

News in numbers

A digest from

David Lewis Skanska UK

components, but there are options for other areas. We’ve had particular interest from Highways England – for example if they needed to make one complex concrete component for a road project.” As part of the deal with MTC, Skanska has been given an injection of funding from Innovate UK for the next two years. The Innovate UK grant was worth £950,000. Similarly £700,000 was awarded by Innovate UK over a year ago to develop robots for the construction of Battersea Power Station phase two. In Battersea Skanska is working with ABB and Tekla to develop robots that can be deployed on site to carry out cutting, drilling and fixing. These are being used to build “utility cupboards” which house M&E components for individual apartments. That project is still ongoing and elsewhere Skanska is also working with ABB to develop a robot for setting out rebar cages in Sweden. When questioned on how exactly the commercialisation of the new 3D concrete robot will work – and given that Skanska is not a subcontractor for concrete – the company said that this is another element that will be decided over the course of trials over the next two years, but that the main “emphasis of the robot is to support our supply chain”. Sam Stacey, Skanska’s director of innovation and business development, said that the main processes over the next few months will be to make the whole robot and structure more physically robust so that once completed it can be used on any site. The biggest technical challenge going forward, however, is to

53m The exceptional writedown contractor Sir Robert McAlpine had to make for its pension scheme leading to a £43m loss, as reported in results for McAlpine’s holding company, Newarthill.

3,000 The number of new homes First Base is aiming to build with Aecom in a new modular factory on its £3.5bn Silvertown development in east London.

Clockwise from top left: Skanska’s David Lewis uses the machine; the MTC in Coventry; Lewis and ABB’s Nick Gazard inspect the results


“The robot would be particularly good for use in creating different cladding components”

make sure that the mix and consistency of the concrete is the same each time. “We want to perfect the technology, but the end plan would be to make it smaller and mobile so it can be used on any site,” said Stacey. According to Lewis, what is vital for Skanska with the 3D concrete robot is that it is the first to complete and perfect the technology, as there are a number of competitors in the UK and abroad who are developing their own or similar projects. In the UK, BAM has teamed up with Universe Architecture to explore 3D stone and concrete building, while Netherlands-based CyBE Construction is also exploring the technology, as are a number of companies in China. Lewis said: “Whoever gets there first wins, and there is quite a lot of competition. However, a lot of our competitors are trying to print whole 3D houses or large objects and we’re focusing on smaller cladding, curved panels and things like that.” ●

The number of new buildings of 20 storeys or more completed, proposed or currently in planning across the capital's 33 boroughs, according to the London Tall Buildings Survey.


The number of days it takes SIG Offsite and aircrete producer H+H UK to build a new home using their new offsite system – the SIG I-House.


The percentage of new homebuyers who said they had reported snags and problems with their homes since moving in, according to the NHBC/HBF Home Satisfaction Survey.

46m The amount of money the public could foot the bill for, if the £185m Garden Bridge project is scrapped as recommended in the review by MP Margaret Hodge commissioned by the mayor of London.

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Considerate Constructors Scheme first mooted to improve construction's image, following the publication of the Latham Review


The scheme officially launched. Seventyfive sites registered and four monitors recruited. National site awards launched two years later


Developed company registration to allow a company to register and adhere to the same Code of Considerate Practice as sites

Supplier registration introduced for companies that provide goods and materials to the industry

2015 Launched online Best Practice Hub and piloted new process to register the whole supply chain


“I was looking for people outside the box and with a range of backgrounds” Isabel Martinson CCS

The Considerate Constructors Scheme (CCS) is considering introducing a new “mystery shopper” aspect to site inspections, its new executive chairman says, as part of a drive to inject new rigour into its operations. Isabel Martinson was appointed as executive chairman of CCS in July 2016 and has already begun stamping her mark on the organisation with sweeping changes to the board within a few weeks of her arrival. She says: “We might do a few different things and we want to come with a whole fresh perspective as well as go deeper. There’s a potential idea still in discussions of a ‘mystery shopper’ approach, but it is very early days and at the moment board members are just out visiting sites and getting a feel of the climate.” Currently on CCS site inspections a monitor is assigned to visit and write a report at a previously agreed time. Sites are normally monitored twice – usually a quarter and two-thirds of the way through the registration – unless they

‘There were no women - we were trailblazers and it was about changing perceptions’ Martinson spent the early part of her career in the Royal Navy, where she was one of the first female naval supplier officers to serve at sea. Her final appointment was in 1997, when she reached the rank of lieutenant commander. This was a key management post in Europe’s largest naval

base, where she was in charge of leading 177 staff and was responsible for a budget of £5m per annum. Speaking about the navy she says: “I think it relates to my position in construction. With the navy we were doing things differently. There were no women – we were

trailblazers and it was about changing perceptions.” “It was challenging and when I go out to sites now I’m aware it’s a challenging environment so I’m up for the challenge. I’m completely outside – no alliances or pre-conceived ideas about the industry. I’m not beholden to anybody.”

2016 Isabel Martinson takes over as executive chairman. 8,000 sites were eligible to win in latest awards

are of short duration in which case they then receive only one visit. Martinson took over her new role having held senior positions in the trade association sector and military service (see box below). She was chairman and company director of the Trade Association Forum, and was also chief executive of the Giftware Association until June 2015. One of her first actions in her CCS role was to replace the entire board of directors, apart from the chief executive. Among the new board members appointed last November were Richard Byrne, a health and safety director at Travis Perkins, Nick Coley from Fitzgerald Contractors, and Simon Harvey, a strategy and marketing director at dry lining and interiors subcontractor the Grays Group. Harvey also has commercial experience in launching consumer products. There had been industry rumblings that the new board was a deliberate move aimed to bring the CCS into a more commercial way of thinking, and Martinson confirms this: “I was looking for people outside the box and with a range of backgrounds and skill sets. "I wanted people with a strong commercial background. People with different views, ideas and interests – for example, Simon Harvey has a very different perspective.” Another area where she is keen to make her mark – and where she acknowledges that the CCS has fallen down – is in engaging and signing up smaller businesses to the scheme. “We do have a ‘CCS light’ already but it hasn’t quite connected, so we want to refocus on smaller businesses and reach smaller subcontractors, also listen to companies engaged in the scheme and what they want differently, ” she says. “Why are some companies not getting involved? Is it just a cost issue and what do they want out of us?” Looking ahead, she sees CCS forming more partnerships with industry bodies to promote best practice. As a start, in January it inked a deal with the National Federation of Builders. ●

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New horizons

When Richard Pateman hands over the new £22m Warner stand at Lord’s cricket ground at the end of April (see p28), he won’t just be walking away from a site he’s spent running for the best part of two years. He’ll be hanging up his hard hat after 45 years in the industry. Now 62,the BAM construction manager has decided it’s time to swap the hurly burly of running multi-million pound projects and a four-hour daily commute for the chance to see a bit more of the world and his wife and tackle the art of photography. Pateman, by his own definition, is old school. “ I come from a generation when more people came up through the trades route and I think that’s important to the industry. There are certainly some very clever young people working at BAM, but I think it’s good for the industry to have a mixture in management of people with different ages and experience. “If you have a trades background you have a fundamental understanding of the way things are put together. There is a sequence to these things. If you do it right, you don’t have to revisit for defects and snagging. It’s like assembling a bit of furniture from IKEA – if you don’t follow the instructions, it doesn’t fit together,” he says. He left school in West Sussex for an apprenticeship in bricklaying, becoming an assistant site manager with Tellings, which became part of Higgs & Hill and then subsequently BAM. He’s built stadiums, hospitals, offices and restaurants, mostly in London and the South



“If you have a trades background you have a fundamental understanding of the way things are put together” Richard Pateman BAM

East. The highlights have been two new buildings for Great Ormond Street Hospital and the North Stand at Chelsea Football stadium because they were so technically challenging. Pateman says he’d recommend a career in construction to anyone. “I’ll miss the people. Most are easygoing, though it can be quite volatile at times and tempers get frayed. You can have a blazing row one minute and then be friends again the next. If you can’t cope with that you probably shouldn’t be in the industry.” ● 7

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Mark Farmer Founding director and CEO, Cast

At the time of writing there is a continued media feeding frenzy over the issue of poor quality in homebuilding. The problems that beset Bovis Homes at the beginning of this year now seem to be reverberating around the industry – opening a can of worms which many would prefer not to be touched. The harsh reality is that in an age of growing consumerism, the issue of customer satisfaction is now as much of a high-profile concern for homebuilders and other developers as it always has been for the retail and hospitality industries. Laziness and de-skilling My thoughts are that we need to use this crisis of confidence to pause for thought and reflect on how the industry pursues excellence. The merits of our Building Control inspection system and new-build warranties have been called into question on the back of recent events, but perhaps what really needs to be put under the spotlight is the basic way in which we design, deliver, inspect and sign off construction works. A potential growing inability by designers to understand the construction implications of their design decisions – or “buildability”, to borrow a rather hackneyed term – does not help sometimes in assisting the process of onsite efficiency and achievement of good outcomes. Complex detailing, poor interface co-ordination and design that leads to profligate onsite waste are all issues that need to be better focused on. These can all be addressed without detriment to building form and aesthetic. Hiding behind contractor’s designed portions or design and build has been seen as an answer but has also brought laziness and de-skilling to parts of the design profession which will now be hard to recover from. There are now architects that deliver planning consents and those that deliver construction drawings – all too often they are becoming different businesses. The value-add of a planning consent in development terms is many times that of the margin delivered



“Snagging lists are increasingly used as an excuse to accept incomplete and defective work”

through construction. As long as this bizarre situation exists – and design fees are allocated accordingly – there will always be pressure to underplay the importance of construction design relative to planning design, which is funded by a largely non-earned land value uplift. Then there is the role of tradesmen on site. We all know we are in the midst of a skills and training crisis and the pressure to deliver with less skilled and competent resource is inevitably leading to failure points. It is not only the

craftsmen, though, but their supervision that provides a key area of concern. The fact that building control and warranty provider inspections are limited in their scope and frequency brings into focus the need for better onsite supervision, including the introduction of more clerk of works type models. The problem is that those skills are now in short supply and much of the “old school” experience has been lost to retirement. Finally, there is the issue of completion sign-off. Our industry operates a “practical completion” protocol which, in my mind, has become corrupted – particularly in homebuilding – by the fact that snagging lists are increasingly used as an excuse to accept patently incomplete and defective work at scales that would just not be acceptable if applied to a car rolling off a production line. This is a product that costs several multiples of the cost of a car – why the different culture? No doubt this decision by contract administrators or in-house supervisors is often influenced by pressure to take receipt of monies and legally complete on a purchase. Outside industry control In all of this, the real risk is that matters are taken outside of the control of the industry and that third parties – whether central government, mortgage companies, institutional investors or others – start to regulate or set higher standards that even further exacerbate the delivery challenges for traditional new homebuilding delivery that we have in the UK. The housing minister has already alluded to the fact that he wants to revisit the debate on quality pursuant to some of the findings of last year’s All Party Parliamentary Party Group for Excellence in the Built Environment report into the same issue, More homes, fewer complaints. Unfortunately, however disruptive the outcome of this might be, it could be just the sort of tough love that the industry needs to accelerate a drive to modernise its most basic processes and delivery techniques. ● 9

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Construction Manager has brought together senior figures from across the industry to form its first editorial advisory board. The 12   members meet three times a year to inform coverage in the title. They are: 1. Mark Beard FCIOB, executive chairman of Beard, a £140m turnover construction company, with offices in Oxford, Guildford, Swindon and Bristol. A member of the strategy board of Henley Business School, he holds a number of influential positions outside the industry. 2. Ann Bentley, global director and chairman of Rider Levett Bucknall, which employs more than 450 staff in the UK and 3,600 worldwide. She is a member of the UK government’s Construction Leadership Council. 3. Peter Caplehorn, deputy chief executive and policy director of the Construction Products Association. A chartered architect, Caplehorn also chairs the Regulations and Standards Group at the RIBA, as well as being deputy chair of the Building Regulations Advisory Committee (BRAC).













4.Ian Eggers, an independent consultant who has spent 33 years in the industry including 18 years with Mace, leading the CM part of the business. More recent work has included advising L&G on modular CLT housing. 5.Harvey Francis, Skanska UK’s group HR director/executive vice president. Francis oversees 5,500 employees, with additional responsibility for communications and IT. 6.Professor Jacqui Glass FCIOB, chair in architecture and sustainable construction at Loughborough University, where she is also associate dean for enterprise and director of the Centre for Innovative and Collaborative Construction Engineering (CICE). 7. Paul Morrell, now an independent consultant. The former senior partner of Davis Langdon was the government’s first chief construction adviser and is now principally concerned with governance and setting up major projects. 8.James Pellatt, head of projects at Great Portland Estates. He is responsible for leading delivery of its development programme.

9. Nick Raynsford, former MP for Greenwich and Woolwich, who was minister for housing, planning and construction in Tony Blair's Labour government. Raynsford now works in a number of capacities within the industry including as chair of the registered provider operations of Heylo Housing. 10. Richard Saxon, former partner/director of BDP for 27 years. Now a client and business adviser, especially helping clients to get the most from BIM, he also chairs JCT and is on the board of BLP Insurance. 11. Andy von Bradsky, an independent architect and consultant with over 30 years’ experience in the design and delivery of housing and regeneration. Former partner and chairman of PRP, he is working with DCLG as a design and delivery adviser and chairs the Housing Forum. 12. Phil Wade, operations director at First Base, currently managing the Silvertown Quays development in Newham. Wade has over 25 years’ experience with firms such as Lend Lease Europe, Bovis Lend Lease and Mace. ●

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Vox pop

How will you be using the new apprenticeship levy?


John Adams Head of BIM services, BIM Strategy Dr Francine Baker Senior lecturer in construction law, University of Central Lancashire Paul Bussey Technical consultant, Allford Hall Monaghan Morris Mark Coates Head of sales, Construct Project Management Adam Clutterbuck Building surveyor Nochum Dewhurst Dewhurst Consult Peter Egan EGStructures Kat Gates Client engagement director, TLC Christine Gausden Senior lecturer, Faculty of Architecture, Computing & Humanities, University of Greenwich Jonathan Greenhalgh Director, Green Project Management Duncan Hones Building control surveyor, East Cambridgeshire District Council Brian Hermanstein Contract project officer, Tower Hamlets Homes Peter Heslington Technical director, Deloitte Brian Impey Director of the Acorn Multi Academy Trust  Mark Kane Arbitration consultant 

Raj Kishore Puppala Quantity surveyor, UK Power Networks Heathrow Projects John Kjorstad Global services infrastructure leader, KPMG Katie Livesey Associate director, Anthesis Group Penelope McNeile Consultant Stuart Nutbeen General manager, Progressclaim Neil Salisbury Project officer, Orwell Housing Association Dr Kenneth Sungho Park Senior lecturer in construction management, Massey University, New Zealand Richard Sapcote Head of frameworks, Shaylor Group Mike Smith Managing director, Corniche Builders Barry Talbot Preconstruction manager, O’Keefe Construction Joshua Waterman  Project manager, Turner & Townsend Project Management Chris Williams Head of learning and teaching, Faculty of Science and Engineering, University of Wolverhampton Peter Yohane Senior site manager, Crest Nicholson Regeneration

Jane Grant Head of learning and development, WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff

Pat Flaherty Chief executive Aecom, UK & Ireland

We have embraced the apprenticeship levy and are using it to enhance our provision for early career professionals. Building on our apprentice programme at Level 3 (GCSE), we have taken an active role in helping our industry write some of the new degree apprenticeships. The new part-time degree and master’s qualifications provide our existing apprentices a progression route and new recruits a viable alternative to full-time university education, increasing opportunities to a wider range of applicants and in areas across the business.

Under the new apprenticeship levy, our focus will be making sure our current investment in nurturing skills is not diverted to a wider pool of less effective training programmes than those Aecom is renowned for delivering. By the end of 2017, Aecom will have in excess of 400 employees undertaking qualifications from Levels 3 to 6, therefore taking full advantage of the opportunity for training provided though the apprenticeship levy.

Mark Castle Deputy chief operating officer, Mace

James Grinnell Group people director, Currie & Brown

Mace has long been committed to creating stronger momentum behind increased UK apprenticeship recruitment. We view the levy as another tool to push towards that objective. We’re confident that we’ll be able to leverage all of our levy funding towards that goal. If for any reason we can’t, we’ll be working with our suppliers to encourage their recruitment of apprentices as well. We’ve suggested that some of the levy could be used to create a new technical qualification in infrastructure delivery. This would help to address the predicted skills shortage, encouraging more young people to consider the sector for a career.

Apprentices form an important proportion of our workforce. In light of the levy, we’re partnering with University College of Estate Management to get the most value out of our levy spend. We plan to continue to increase the number of apprentices that we hire, as they’re a great asset to any business. Apprenticeships hold the key to securing top talent for your company, and we strongly believe that the return on investment is vast. See Ann Bentley p42

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addressing the confusion some members have over titles such as ICIOB or ACIOB, or promoting the different paths to membership available. “The more membership of the CIOB becomes the norm in the sector, the more valuable membership is seen to be, so we need more membership numbers. One of my worries is that senior people in the industry have got to their level without qualifications and training, and as they see people working for them getting chartered they may be discouraged from risking doing the same; a fear of ‘what if I try and fail?’ “So the direct fellowship entry for those senior people is something I really want to promote.” Looking ahead, Watts wants to engage with the government on skills and apprenticeships. On the topic of skills, he said he saw the CIOB working alongside CITB, RICS and other bodies. “I think we've gone through a period of change and restructuring and now we need to start to deliver the benefits to members.” ● Terry Watts profile, p56 The CIOB’s new managing director has said that he wants to strengthen links between the centre and the grass roots as one of his key priorities in the new position. Terry Watts, who took up the newly created role in March, said that, as well as a general drive to boost membership, a priority will be to build relationships with members as the recent changes work through. Over the past year the CIOB has undergone a number of changes to modernise, with the introduction of One CIOB as well as new hubs taking over the administrative work of the former regional branches. New elected committee members have taken over running the hubs. He said: “You need a rolling membership on the committees that head up these hubs. Change is good but we want to make sure that we don’t lose any active people, or those who go out of their way to promote and work for the CIOB.” Watts is keen to draw on his background in the skills sector to help promote the CIOB Academy. This includes ensuring courses are up to date


and that it works with options such as online CPD to give members the services they want. He said: “The key challenge, I think, is communication. There’s been so much change going on the last few years. I think we now need to go out to the market and say, ‘This is your organisation, this is what we can do – and what do you want us to do differently?’ I want there to be much more two-way communication.” Watts said he hoped to address the ongoing issues of routes to membership, whether

Look out for…

Free issue of CRI The CIOB is giving members free access to the first issue of the revamped journal Construction, Research and Innovation (CRI). CRI is a quarterly journal that covers a wide range of topics around the built environment. With high quality writing that is accessible to a broad, international audience, it provides incisive analysis, rigorous research and case studies. The new edition includes: l Will China build tomorrow’s Britain? The impacts of Brexit and the skills crisis l Catching up with the Victorians: the UK gets a grip on infrastructure R&D; and l Roads or food? New computational model helps developing countries plan for transport without destroying farmland. To read more go to p58, or to get a free copy go to

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Chris Blythe

Chief executive CIOB




How to succeed in a global market will be a key theme of this year’s CIOB annual conference. The event,

to be held at the Hilton Hotel in Cardiff on 22 June, will explore the relationship between global construction and localism. Jointly leading this prestigious event will be the first minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones (pictured), who will detail the roadmap and future construction opportunities in Wales,

of the statements made by companies in the construction and construction materials sector: “Business structures and policies relating to modern slavery tend to be dealt with in most detail, whilst other areas (risk assessments, monitoring, training, remedial action etc) are either covered minimally or not at all”. So a year after the reporting requirements came into place it is probably fair to say that the jury is still out as to whether the industry has fully understood the ramifications of the Modern Slavery Act and embraced the obligations imposed. It’s the long tail of the supply chain that makes effective reporting difficult. But there is a cause to be optimistic. The penny seems to be dropping at last. We have been approached by an advisor to a small firm that is outside the threshold for reporting. It is a supplier to a construction company that is within the reporting threshold and has been asked to provide information to the bigger company on the steps it is taking to tackle exploitation. The threshold for reporting is a bit of an illusion as eventually everyone in a supply chain will end up having the means to report, whether they have to or not. But, going back to the video, I am pleased to say that the hero is the site manager, who by being alert and questioning identified the abuse. To see the video, go to this link: Further details of the toolkit can be found here: and CIOB president Paul Nash, who will provide insight into how globalised construction trends can be applied at a local level. Other key industry figures and innovative thinkers include: Suzannah Nichol, chief executive of Build UK; Patrick Flaherty, chief executive, AECOM; Jannik Giesekam,

research fellow at the University of Leeds; and Mark Farmer, founding director & CEO of Cast. The conference will also boast a choice of CPD sessions on topics including BIM, heritage, and mental health. To book a place and view the full conference programme, head to https://conference.


Back in February I was very pleased to launch the modern slavery toolkit for the construction supply chain. This had been developed in cooperation with Stronger Together, which had worked with the retail sector to develop a toolkit for that sector. As construction is part of the retail supply chain, it made sense that there was some cohesion between the toolkits, but also that one should be relevant to construction. Part of the product is a video relating a true story and giving an insight into how modern slavery could manifest itself in construction. What the video highlights, though, is the vital role ordinary site-based staff have in identifying labour exploitation and then acting on it. It is important to realise that the reputation of the firm and its clients rests on site-based staff and their preparedness to identify an issue and then have the confidence to deal with it – even if it may have an impact on production. Being proactive and being seen to be proactive has to be the best way to convince others – especially those in government – that the industry both understands the issues and has the resolve to tackle them. The irony of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 is that while it is the directors that have to make the public statement, it is the people at both the bottom of the organisation and supply chain that are crucial. It is not easy to make a meaningful statement without having some idea of the impact of the policies in place. As a recent report by Ergon Associates stated when it carried out a review

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If you were to buy another property, would you buy a newly built or newly converted home again from the same builder? n Yes n No Source: The latest HBF homebuyers’ survey

Feedback A selection of readers’ comments about news and issues in the industry from CM 04/17 Housing quality continues to fall

CM 03/17 Industry must act on Edinburgh schools Hugh

Commissioning on many of these building types tend to focus on the function and operational aspects of the building services and less on the actual structure and fabric of the building itself. Perhaps introducing structural assessment along with the construction quality reports within the commissioning scope would provide additional checks in addition to those normally specified. Another avenue worth exploring is the quality of the design drawings and documentation provided as the preparation of such has deteriorated in terms of clarity, organisation, legibility and conciseness over the last 20 years.


John Coles and Edinburgh Council have provided the UK construction industry with an excellent report and recommendations which should be taken very seriously, perhaps even as if “timing and luck” had not been on the side of the children and fatalities had actually occurred! I fear the next time the industry’s management

of quality is subject to investigation will be following such a disaster. Action is required to ensure this does not happen. It’s good to see the CIOB taking a lead and planning to create a forum to address the industry-wide issue of quality. It’s about skills but also process and will require interdisciplinary collaboration to reinstate the checks and balances required. The children in this incident were “lucky” – they all went home. But it’s the industry that needs to learn the lessons and must do better.

Adam Sharp

I worked on two PFI/PPP schools projects delivering five large secondary schools (pupils age 11-18). My role on both involved providing the “provider” oversight of the delivery of the construction works. As with other projects, a degree of non-compliant works occurred on each of the five school sites – with some experiencing a greater level of noncompliant works than others. In all cases I found the site-based personnel were very willing to seek to rectify the non-compliant

works, albeit they were often prevented from doing so by managerial pressure from above. The pressure from above often being so great that very capable, very principled personnel felt they were left with little choice other than to allow the presence of non-compliant works or risk losing their positions. Both main contractors I worked with had extensive, third-party certified quality assurance policies and processes, and both had skilled and experienced project and construction managers. If left to follow their own judgement I am confident the level of noncompliant works would have been reduced. A top-down managerial commitment to producing quality workmanship (as with the top-down approach to health and safety) has helped, and is required if instances of large-scale defective works are to be avoided. At the time of going to press it was revealed that another 71 Scottish schools had been found to have construction defects.

D Diskin

Sites are being put into impossible positions to complete homes to the standards required. Deadlines are becoming ridiculous, with four weeks to complete properties from roof being the norm these days, just because some MD somewhere needs to get his “numbers in”. Unfortunately it’s the customer who suffers.


D Diskin, you certainly hit the nail on the head in terms of my experiences. You get told just stick these guys in the house for a week and we will see how they get on. If they are totally crap we will get shot of them, but if they are half decent we will get the painter to sort it out or the renderer. Then you’re

expected to fill out the internal QA forms to say that all is wonderful so that you hit the KPI target that has been set. Been in this game for many years now and it just does not get any better due to the boom and bust nature of the job. In boom times it’s all about getting the job done as quickly as possible and in bust times it’s about just getting some work at ridiculously low prices and corners are cut because the bosses are again under pressure to make some sort of margin on the job. There are some really good sounding initiatives on paper at least that purport to deal with quality, but sometimes this does not actually work its way on to the site. Like our magazine, our website has also undergone a refurbishment. Updated daily with the latest news, it has a wealth of information to help readers do their jobs, with thousands of archived articles on CPD, projects, legal and management. It’s bursting with comment – and you can leave your own. Sign up to our newsletters, produced three times a week, or follow us on twitter @CMnewsandviews. And if you have any comment on our new design, contact the editor, Denise Chevin:

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Insight • onsite TAKING AN IN-DEPTH LOOK AT CURRENT ISSUES AND PROJECTS A quiet renaissance is under way in town halls across the land. Local authorities have begun to build again. In the year to December 2016, according to the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG), English councils built 2,080 new homes between them. In the three decades following the Second World War, councils built around half of England’s new homes– a trend which peaked in 1968, a year in which they completed 350,000 new properties. But in 2004/5, English councils built a total of just 100 new homes. These 2,080 new homes represent a small fraction of the 140,600 homes completed by developers of all stripes in the same period. But they don’t tell the whole story. They are, as the DCLG notes, an underestimation, because they pertain only to social and affordable

housing built by councils – council housing in its traditional sense, paid for by local authority housing departments. And while councils are indeed building more homes that way, thanks largely to a change in the way local authority housing is financed, the past few years have seen them start to look at other ways of delivering new homes and different tenures. According to Ian Collins, head of employers agent services at consultancy Pellings, the first few steps taken in this brave new world were tentative – but the council housebuilding movement is gaining momentum. Indeed the government is certainly relying on councils to become a major deliverer, as the private sector has neither the capacity nor inclination for risk-taking to ensure that 250,000 new homes a year get built.

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Year in which local authorities completed 350,000 new properties

“There is a lot of knowledge around now, certainly with the creation of the local housing companies (LHCs) – a lot of local authorities have been through that process and they are now happy to share their experiences with others,” he says. “Other local authorities can see other people have done it, what the outputs are and what they have achieved, and it gives them an incentive to do it too.” The numbers tell the same story. Six years ago Birmingham City Council built no new homes; today its LHC, Birmingham Municipal Housing Trust, is the city’s most prolific housebuilder. Its 2,000th home was completed last year. The largest example is taking shape in the London Borough of Barking & Dagenham, where the council aims to build 42,000 new homes over the next 15 years. Many other local

CAN COUNCILS MEET THE HOUSING CHALLENGE? Illustration based on AHMM’s William Street Quarter for Barking & Dagenham


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INSIGHT• ONSITE MAY 2017 | CONSTRUCTION MANAGER n Private enterprise n Housing associations n Local authorities

350,000 300,000 250,000 200,000 150,000 100,000 50,000 1946

authorities are following suit, though there are numerous challenges – from lack of access to funding to lack of skills and capacity. But, according to research carried out by Inside Housing last year, more than a third of councils in England have established an LHC or plan to do so. Elsewhere, councils are setting up joint delivery vehicles with developers to ramp up housebuilding in their areas. These range in scope from citywide schemes, such as the Liverpool Housing Partnership set up last year by the city council, housebuilder Redrow and housing association Liverpool Mutual Homes (see box below) to partnerships that aim to develop new communities from the ground up (see box p26). They are also turning to contracting firms as their delivery partners. These newer approaches seem to be good for everyone: for people trying to get on the housing ladder or off the social housing waiting list; for cashstrapped councils looking to generate new income streams and regenerate their communities; and for their partner developers, who see local authority programmes as a way to spread their risk – by using councils’ visible pipeline of sites, for example – and therefore mitigate uncertainty about the future. “Clearly there is a limit to how much the big builders can be expected

Sharing the development risk

A three-way joint venture is delivering Liverpool homes


Permanent dwellings completed in England by tenure, 1946 to 2015 Source: DCLG

to deliver. They have delivered the majority in the past three years, but we need to look at other sources of supply,” says Steve Turner, spokesperson for the Home Builders Federation (HBF). “Local authorities and the balance sheet they have got is another route to market. “While the bigger builders probably can’t commit to significant further increases over coming years, because of the risk that would entail, if they can build homes using a model that creates less risk then potentially they can deliver more than they could using the current build-for-sale model.” Why did councils stop building? The reason housebuilding by councils slowed to such a trickle over the past decades was largely down to the way local authority housing departments had to run their finances. All stockowning councils are required to run a housing revenue account (HRA) to manage their rental income and housing expenditure. HRAs are ring-fenced, a measure intended to prevent councils using rents to subsidise other services. Historically, any surpluses in councils’ HRAs were either cancelled out in the form of lower housing benefit payments from central government, or – following changes made by the 2003 Local Government Act – were paid straight In June 2014, Liverpool City Council announced the formation of joint venture vehicle Liverpool Partnership Homes to help deliver 1,500 new homes over five years and bring 1,000 empty homes back into use. The council provides and sells land to the partnership, while housebuilder Redrow takes care of construction (as at Knights

English councils built 2,080 new homes between them

Park, pictured). The third partner, housing association Liverpool Mutual Homes, looks after affordable rent properties. For Redrow, it is an opportunity to share some risk. “In this partnership we have clear visibility over the next five years of what might be coming to us,” says regional chief executive Warren Thompson.

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Bell Phillips’ design for the St Chad’s development in Tilbury by Gloriana

Widening the view from Tilbury

Thurrock Council’s LHC is opening up the area’s housing possibilities

back to the Treasury to help subsidise those councils running an HRA deficit. In 2012, however, the government overhauled this system. In return for a one-off redistribution of existing housing debt, councils were permitted to keep their HRA surplus and to borrow against it (though the amount is capped). This is the so-called self-financing model, and it has given councils the freedom to build their own housing

again. The appetite among stock-owning councils for development is growing: according to a report commissioned by the Association of Retained Council Housing (ARCH) in 2013, almost three-quarters of stock-owning councils intend to start building homes this way. ARCH estimates this could result in 5,000 more homes built each year – and if the borrowing cap were removed, this number could rise to as high as 60,000.

Gloriana is a local housing company (LHC) set up by Thurrock Council in 2015. It has just completed an award-winning development of 128 four and five bedroom homes (pictured) in Tilbury, the borough’s biggest town. “It really does show what can be done with some different design and a few different materials in an area that needs a bit of uplifting,” says Helen McCabe, Gloriana’s development manager. Named after the barge on which Queen Elizabeth I sailed down the Thames to give a famous speech to her troops at Tilbury as the Spanish Armada was on its way, it was set up in part to kickstart housing development in areas where commercial development is more economically viable. Gloriana aims to build 150 units a year in a mix of

tenures. The homes on its first development, St Chad’s, by Bell Phillips Architects, are for market rent (the council is the landlord) and affordable rent. Future schemes include homes for sale, with receipts reinvested by the council. Why set up an LHC? Why not just build through the housing revenue account? “The scope is much wider through Gloriana,” says McCabe. “As long as we get the borrowing and land transfers approved by cabinet, we are not constrained by any financial limit. We would be limited through the HRA; you couldn't build a 128-unit scheme that way.” The land on which Gloriana builds is owned by the council and sold to the LHC at market value. At present, Gloriana has a three-year pipeline of land.

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Construction Manager May 2017 (26 page sample of full 68 pages)  

Build Construction CIOB Architecture Building control Property Property Deveelopment

Construction Manager May 2017 (26 page sample of full 68 pages)  

Build Construction CIOB Architecture Building control Property Property Deveelopment