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To manage is to forecast and plan, to organize, to command, to coordinate and to control. - HENRI FAYOL

The Action Plan for a prosperous Construction Industry

(Quoted from Building Britain, by the Center for strategic studies in construction, University of Reading.)

This Article is about: The recommended action plans for a prosperous Construction Industry as a strategic construction management, with a highlight on construction trends.

1. Education and Training

1.1 - Education

Key message: Educational courses must be integrated
There is too little shared knowledge of the design and construction process. The architect understands design but often lacks detailed knowledge of the nuts and bolts (of building assembly, while the contractor understands the problems of forming day joints in the concrete but not necessarily the engineering design principles.

Mutual understanding should start with unified common courses in the early stages of higher education. One teaching institution is unlikely to teach all building-related disciplines, but cross-fertilization between disciplines is necessary. A common first year, or better still first and second year, syllabus is ‘needed for all those studying to the construction professionals.

Education does not stop with a degree or professional qualification, and continuing professional development is crucial to everyone involved in building. All professionals have an obligation to keep abreast of developments in their fields. We should all expect to learn new techniques over the course of our working lives.

Action : Educational establishments should consider a common element to their construction- related courses. Course structures at present are stereotyped towards particular discipline such as architect, engineer builder or surveyor. We should give as broad an education as possible at the outset and stop-putting people into pigeonholes at such an early stage of their course.

Closer collaboration between practitioners and academics at one level and government and the professional institutions at another would produce a better basic understanding and would also improve continuing professional development for everyone.

1.2 - Training

Key message: Easier access is needed to training, including mid-career training
Over the past decade there has been a reduction in training caused by the downturn in work- load coupled with the rise in self-employment. The new government training schedules and initiatives have not always been appropriate to all sectors of the industry.

In new build, employers often argue that trade training is too intensive for their needs, while in repair and maintenance, its argued that trade training is both too narrowly based and at the same time pursued at a greater depth than is needed for a high proportion of the work.

Existing workers need to be retrained and encouraged to learn new skills, especially as the average age of the work force will climb owing to the sharply reduced number of school and college leavers.

The professionals in the industry also need to be retrained to take advantage of he information society. Computer-aided design and drawing is still used by only a small numb of organizations; the problem lies in the training personnel to accept change rather than in lack of suitable technology. This need runs right through the industry, for example, estimators should be able to use computers as management tools and so reduce the need to collect and collate data.

Action :Many more students who enter the construction industry should do so after full-Lime schooling in craft skills. If Britain wants a first class building industry we should follow the lead taken by other European countries and invest more in skills training.

As greater use is made of off-site pre-fabrication and assembly of components, so the industry must develop a strategy for training. Traditionally, training must has been based on the generally tried and tested craft skills. New entrants to the industry need to be trained in greater breadth so that an operative will be better equipped to make the most of technical change.

Companies must provide more facilities for adult training. As the number of school leavers falls, much greater use could be made of adult training for people who ore out of work or seeking to change their careers. Repair and maintenance is growing and it requires multi-skill operatives. Training in specialist skills should be provided for unemployed people.

Access to training for professionals and administrators is of particular concern. The construction industry is very dispersed and there are thousands of small local firms and practices that cannot afford the cost and time involved of having people away from the workplace.

Colleges need to recognize and provide for flexible, drop-in and open access courses, which reduce time away from the workplace.


Key message; Give clients a service with a single-point responsibility
Clients want completion on budget, on time, and value for money but above all they rightly expect their buildings to work when they are delivered.

There is a need for single point responsibility where the risks and responsibilities for the finished building are clearly defined and controlled by the party best suited to carry the responsibility with a fair return.

This is not a plea for design and build contractual arrangements, merely for further evaluation of how the industry does business. A completely new approach might be to copy the idea of the Japanese enterprise groups where collections of companies are bound together by cross- directorship and financial interest.

A long-term relationship helps the development of a better understanding and provides a framework for providing single point responsibility.

Action: Companies should consider how they can give clients single point responsibility and they should explore new ways of working to achieve this.