Welcome to the blog of Members’ Forum 2018.

Building bridges not walls – my year ahead

I am really proud to become President of the CIOB 2018/19 and to follow on from Rebecca. The torch gets passed from one President to another each year. That keeps us consistent and supports the momentum we need on these big issues.  Indeed, many of the issues we have discussed this week at Members’ Forum started out as important agendas for past presidents.

The more people I meet from different parts of the world the more it confirms to me that we share many similar challenges.  As a child I lived in Nigeria and, back then, the population was around 50 million. Today it’s closer to 200 million. For the last 30 years I have lived in Atlanta, USA, and the population has grown from 2.7 to 6.5 million in that time.  That growth brings with it tremendous congestion on the road, which we have tried to pave our way through. But that’s not the solution.

Increasing urbanisation, outdated infrastructure, and climate change are just some of the issues we all share – but we are only going to solve them by working together. We need to be building bridges and not putting up walls.

That applies to the construction industry too.  These challenges have to be met by several institutions and a variety of professionals working together.  Finding the right partnerships, in the UK and overseas, is key.  Increasing valuable collaboration will be a big part of my agenda and, as President, I am looking forward to meeting as many members, and other influencers, as possible to hear how we can help.

Recently the CIOB, RICS and RIBA signed a joint memorandum of understanding on quality which is an example of how we work together to affect positive change across the industry.  The work of the CIOB Construction Quality Commission itself will be far reaching and we are mindful to be as inclusive as possible, making sure members and the broader industry stays up to speed with our developments.

More than 40 years ago I started out in this industry. Back then you would be hard pressed to find a calculator. Now we are building further, faster, higher and with more sophistication than ever before.  On the $400m Gleeds redevelopment of the Daytona International Speedway in Florida the construction team was virtually paperless, using large screens to display drawings in the project office and iPads on site.  Technology brings with it many advancements and much potential, but what also excites me is the new players it brings into our industry and the new talent we can attract as these systems become the norm.

I want to hear from members who have solutions to some of the challenges we all face.  Over the next 12 months I will be meeting as many of you as I can at Hub and industry events, so come and have a chat with me if you have an idea and let’s build bridges to advance the built environment.