Today part of the Insynth team attended The Construction Product Leaders Summit ran by the NBS. The day included keynote speakers from Dame Judith Hackitt and Jonathan MacDonald.
NBS (National Building Specification) is a global platform for everyone involved in design, supply and construction of the built environment. They connect over 5000 companies with over 15,000 projects available with the potential of tapping into £50billion worth of specifications available in the UK.
The following weeks blogs will feature a much more in depth review of the topics discussed at the event but in the meantime below is a summary overview of the day.
Dame Judith Heckitt – Companies Need To Change Before Regulations Do
Although Heckitt’s research was due to what happened at Grenfell, it did not directly investigate Grenfell or the products used.
However it did trigger other high rise buildings of multiple occupancy to be investigated and the safety of residents was questioned. This investigation revealed there were/are hundreds of buildings in the UK that do not have the correct fire safety doors, cladding and more.
Judith’s research looked directly into the regulatory system and how buildings were being built without the correct safety materials being used. This lead onto reviewing the whole system not just for new buildings but also the renovation of existing buildings.
Judith’s background in chemical engineering gave her the ability to ask the really simple questions. She brought objectivity to the review, comparing how other sectors do things.
Throughout Judith’s presentation she talks about how it’s each manufacturers, installers and building product company's' role to take responsibility for the product they provide and install.
The construction industry relies too much on the regulations, with many companies finding ways around them.
She also believes that a culture change is needed to ensure that the correct products are provided. The people who supply the industry have to address the many shortcomings in the way products are tested, traced and recorded. Rather than using the regulations as a guide book, deliver beyond that.
The regulations will be changing due to this report, Judith’s advise it to start making changes now not only to ensure safety but so when the regulations are updated, you’re ready.
Many building product companies provide and supply to residential building, hospitals, care homes, healthcare and more. People can already be vulnerable in these environments. You should know in your gut if you are providing the safest option. Are you providing what regulations tell you to or what is right for that environment?
To summarise Judith’s talk this report is challenging the whole market. Insurance companies are being more in depth, surveyors are saying no when the risk is too high and people are starting to listen to the experts.
Grenfell was 3 years go, hundreds of buildings have been built since, have they been built any better?
The regulator is going to be set up as a shadow mode in 2020. The regulations are set to be in place by 2021. The HSE is included in this project meaning they will review compliancy. The are a firm regulatory body, when they come across non compliance, the punishment will be vast.
Jonathan MacDonald – The Power Of Change
Our final talk of the day was from Jonathan MacDonald, a well experienced speaker, talking about change. He talks about how the construction industry is waiting for change to come.
However change isn’t coming, change is here.
Jonathan mentions how there are 2 phases of change, phase 1 – fundamental change and phase 2 – wide spread ignorance. This involves the attitudes of ‘we have enough money’ ‘it’s not relevant’ ‘ we’ll only worry about it if our competitors do it’.
He also shows a number of graphs that demonstrate changes in industries. Uber for example follows an extremely steep uphill gradient whilst taxis have a slow decline. This can be seen in advance and isn’t a sudden trend. This is the case with most big successes in business, patterns are noticeable in advance of peaking.
Jonathan’s talk was extremely engaging, he has a number of books out but the one that resonates with his talk today is ‘Powered By Change’.
We are all consumers of the construction industry. An analogy was used that represented the exact problem in the construction industry. The automotive industry is where the construction industry should be, they can track every single car part, where it came from, where it was made, test’s it passed and so much more.
The changes in regulation and digital transformation should be seen as an opportunity to your company.
Change is happening, you can’t control or stop it so you may as well embrace it.