As new initiatives like the Building Safety Bill are implemented within the UK construction industry, architects are expected, more than ever, to help maintain and improve standards in the built environment, encouraging construction professionals to continuously upgrade their knowledge and facilitate collaboration between trades.
This continuing need of personal development has raised the popularity of online construction courses and industry specific CPDs that were already a requirement for a bit part of the construction professionals. Designing a CPD that focuses on an area where your building product brand is meaningful can improve the chances you have of your construction solution being specified in the future.
How Did 2021 Become the Year of CPDs
With over 81% of the construction leaders expecting to put in place initiatives to improve their construction businesses digitally, this educational shift comes hand in hand with digital innovation. With the increase in 2020 of educational content consumed online, the construction industry is witnessing a change in the behaviour of architects and specifiers.
CPDs and, more accurately, accessible, on-demand and online CPDs have become essential for building product brands planning to grow in 2021. On a recent survey, SpecifiedBy found that, whilst 74% of specifiers do not know who they’ll specify at the beginning of a project, 60% of architects go on to specify one or more of a manufacturer’s products after having undertaken their CPD.
Whist CPDs should not be used to promote your own products, they can serve to position yourself as a credible source within the industry, something essential for 55% of specifiers, who decide to specify companies who can clearly communicate their products' technical capabilities in an objective and unbiased way.
CPDs are the best way to demonstrate your expertise within an industry. With the main purpose of educating your audience, specifiers are more attracted to content that does not want to actively sell them a product. A well-structured CPD can allow you build trust with potential clients while showing them the uniqueness of your building product brand.
Future of CPDs and the “Build Back Better” Initiative
In June, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) ratified their willingness to review the Architects Act 1997, legislation under which the Architects Registration Board (ARB) regulates architects in the UK. Through these amends, the ARB will introduce a scheme to monitor CPD certifications and guarantee the consistency of professional development within the sector.
The review of the Architects Act 1997 came together with the Professional Qualifications Bill, providing the ARB with the ability to recognise certifications from architects outside the UK and allowing them to join the UK Register. At the same time, this would open up opportunities for British architects to work in partnership with international institutions.
Housing minister Christopher Pincher MP explained this amends to pursue the “realignment of the profession”, aiming to “reassert the UK’s reputation as a global leader in architecture” and to “continue to attract the best architects from around the world to build back better”. Similarly, Minister for Investment Lord Gerry Grimstone claimed these changes to be essential to “ensure that UK architecture qualifications remain the gold standard around the world”,
Recognising international qualifications will ensure the equivalence of certifications across different countries, facilitating the collaboration between architects. Additionally, the introduction of internationally educated professionals will encourage British architecture institutes to review their qualification standards and update their current educational offer.
Why Should You Consider Offering a CPD
Taking upon the project of designing a CPD for your construction brand can be a daunting challenge. Truth is, at the beginning, putting together the backbone of your CPD will bring more questions than answers, and will require even the most experienced construction leaders to reflect on the philosophy and goals of their building product brand. Rest assured, it will be worth it.
#1 Continuous Education Promotes Innovation and Change
A key feature of any CPD is its need to be relevant. CPDs should be approached as research pieces that contribute to the industry with new or improved knowledge about a particular field and that can provide original and innovative technical resources. Focusing on sustainability and pioneering materials can lead the way for better solutions and services within the construction industry.
#2 Deepen Your Understanding on Your Audience
Designing a CPD will require you to put yourself on the shoes of your audience and, inevitably, will bring some questions about their core challenges and main pain points. When exploring these questions, it is essential to understand that not all specifiers look for the same construction solutions and that you will need to tailor the information accordingly to connect with your ideal public.
#3 Position Yourself as a Recognised Authority
76% of architects report having chosen training which had been specifically approved by a professional body. Whilst CPDs do not need to be recognised by a professional institute, getting your seminar approved will portray to as a trusted source within the industry. Some institutes, like RIBA, will promote accredited CPDs on their website, increasing the brand awareness of CPD providers.
#4 Establish Conversations
The experience of attending a CPD is not limited to the webinar itself. It is likely that, from the moment a specifier signs up for your CPD, they start researching about your construction brand and what it can offer them. As HubSpot partners, we understand the role of a good tech stack when managing the conversation with attendees before, during and after your CPD has gone live.
#5 Promote Your Building Products
When designing a CPD, talking about your own building solution can feel tempting. Understandably, each construction manufacturer is an expert of their own product. However, CPDs must remain unbiased. You may incorporate your product objectively, highlighting its pros and cons, providing statistics, and whitepapers, and being transparent about what your product cannot do.
How to Find the Perfect Directory for your CPD
Whilst all construction professionals understand the importance of continuous professional development, finding the time not only to undertake the courses, but to research and find a CPD that adapts to your needs can be remarkably time consuming. Not knowing exactly were to look can lead you to CPDs that do not reflect your interested and that fail to improve your expertise.
In order to make the task of finding the right CPD for your construction brand easier, we have gathered the some of the most compelling online construction course directories. If you are interested on designing a CPD, listing your course in one of this directories can improve its reach and allow it to be presented to a wider audience. Having your CPD listed on a directory can also improve the SEO of your website!
With a comprehensive database of products and materials in the UK, SpecifiedBy provides construction professionals with data-backed information and comparisons of building products and materials that they might be considering for a specification. Aware of the 60,000 of specifiers visiting their website on a monthly basis, the offer CPD programmes and webinars online, either live or on demand.
Considered one of the most popular CPD providers in the UK, the Royal Institute of British Architects offers a wide range of free and paid for CPD seminars and courses across all learning levels. They also offer CPD programmes like the RIBA Core CPD 2021, to ensure that architects fulfil their core CPD requirements and that they achieve satisfactory expertise in 10 different topics.
The CPD Standards Office
Being one of the most trusted CPD accreditation body in the UK, the CPD Standards Office, ensures the high quality of professional development within the construction industry. Their CPD Directory promotes on-demand, accessible, and multidisciplinary courses delivered by a variety of speakers, coaches and employers that can meet the need of any construction professional.
With original monthly CPDs, the consistent influx of courses offered by Building has made them a referent within the construction industry. The layout of their CPDs, including multiple-choice questionaries, has proven to attract construction professionals. Their educational offer also includes programmes, roundtables and webinars that are open for anyone to attend and available on their website.
Focused on technological courses, PBC Today offers a variety of courses on BIM, AutoCAD and AutoDesk, allowing professionals to not only improve their skills, but gain knowledge on new software. With CPDs provided by About Access, BRE Academy, BSRIA, the Fire Industry Association and Graitec, PBC Today has built a directory of over 100 courses for professionals within the construction sector.
The Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) is the Sector Skills Council and Industry Training Board for the construction industry. Offering face-to-face and online courses, as well as short training sessions and apprenticeships, the CITB is one of the leading education providers within the sector. CITB is a non-departmental public body and any profits made are used to support the industry.
Focused on interior designers, the British Institute of Interior Design has created a directory gathering BIID-approved CPD courses that not only promotes continuous development, but also encourages attendees to network with their industry peers. With the majority of courses listed being free, the BIID aims to position themselves as main education provider within the design sector.
The CPD Certification Service
With one of the most compelling CPD online directories to date, the CPD Certification Service is behind the approval of over 17,500 courses, of which 2,102 focus exclusively on construction-related topics. In order to help networking within the industry, the CPD Certification Service has also created industry specific CPD Hubs, used to share articles and events that might be of interest.
The Building Academy is an industry-focused completely online learning platform with certified CPDs. Their directory currently gathers 65 courses, among with 13 are certified, free, or paid for, that have been designed with building professionals in mind. Accredited CPDs include self-tests and downloadable content to facilitate the learning experience.
The Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) is considered the most influential professional body for construction management and leadership in the world. Their CIOB Academy gathers courses on leadership, technology, sustainability, and legal knowledge. Since last July, a CIOB mobile app is available for anyone to access their library of CPD videos from their phones.
Thought to be the most complete news portal within the construction industry, Building Design has created a directory of completely free CPDs directed to architects, engineers, quantity surveyors, contractors, and facility managers responsible for commercial and industrial project developments. They also offer on demand seminars.
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