By Chris Soffe FCIOB, CIOB President 2018/19

This event is a conversation we all own, we want to hear your views and opinions and tap into the expertise our member’s have and, as with every Forum, the programme is packed with discussions around many serious issues affecting the construction industry.

Over the past twelve months our Construction Quality Commission has kept pace with the quality agenda, and we will hear on Tuesday its recommendations and next steps. How we promote the importance of quality within CIOB membership is an area where we want to capture the ideas of our membership.

The CIOB is part of the Industry Response Group set up to support the Hackitt Review (the Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety announced by UK Government following the Grenfell Tower tragedy) findings on competence. We are leading on the working group that will develop competencies for site supervisos and supporting several other working groups, including those for building control, project management and procurement.

A CIOB Certification Scheme in Quality Management is planned for this year which links to the newly launched Academy course in Quality Management and forms part of the outcomes of our Construction Quality Commission. There will be more on this during the week too.

These annual Forums have a pedigree for tackling the big issues. This year we want insight from our membership on mental health and wellbeing and its impact on the construction sector and how we can promote wellbeing and improve the support we provide to members. It’s not just a construction problem. In the UK, mental health issues account for people taking an estimated 70 million days off-sick per year – costing the UK economy £70bn and £100bn a year.

But we in construction have a cultural aversion to confronting it. Workers admit to suffering in silence. They feel they have to simply “deal with it”. So, they don’t seek help; and unsurprisingly the symptoms get worse. We must do better and find ways to improve the mental health of the industry.

Another element of Members’ Forum is that we have the finalists of Global Student Challenge with us. We encourage our delegates to take them under their wings, letting them feel what it is to be part of the CIOB community because they will become the members of tomorrow and first impressions count.

In whichever capacity our delegates are attending Members’ Forum, whether it is as a Trustee, Regional, Employer Engagement or Novus representative, it is a privilege and responsibility and we hope that they will use every opportunity to be engaged and share the views of the members they represent.