Crane aims to inject passion into construction

9 December 2011

New CIOB President Alan Crane

New CIOB President Alan Crane pledged to bring a buzz back into construction as he prepares to take over from James Wates, deputy chairman of the Wates Group.

Speaking about his appointment, Crane, the 109th president said:“Being President of the CIOB is a real privilege and I couldn’t be taking over at a more exciting time. Next year London hosts the Olympic Games and that has tremendous potential to give the whole country a lift. If we can transfer some of that buzz into the rest of the industry everyone will benefit; construction has a lot to be proud about.

“If you believed everything you read at the moment you wouldn’t bother getting up in the morning. But I believe this industry and the CIOB must continue to adapt and be positive about what we can achieve. In my career I have always thought of myself as an agent of change. That’s actually what construction is about – change. We’re looking to shake things up, and break the mould of the traditional professional institute approach.

“The CIOB wants to do more for workers and employers and for those thinking about a career in construction. We want to be at the heart of that - which means growing our work beyond membership. Our idea is to create something with increasing value using our relationships with universities, and other education providers, to give employers a bigger say in the curriculum. In fact we want to give them the biggest say they have ever had. For employees what we develop will truly increase employability.

“Until BIM can predict the future we’re going to have to create it. There is no more important place to start than with the people who make up this great industry. Everything else is a result of what they do and the skills they have.”

Crane aims to use the institute’s Novus group, which is for members under the age of 30, as a vehicle for stirring up more passion for a career in construction.

Mr Crane’s other aims include ensuring CIOB membership prepares built environment professionals for the industry of the future; encouraging more people to join through non-university routes; and establishing a global qualification for construction management. 

In a career that has spanned 40 years Alan has held senior positions within Bovis International, Travers Morgan Consulting Group and Christiani & Nielsen Group. He has been responsible for the development and construction of some of the world’s most iconic projects including Canary Wharf in London, Eurodisney, and Petronas Towers in Malaysia.Crane became the CIOB’s Building Manager of the Year in 1981 which lead to his  continuing involvement with the Institute.

Following Sir John Egan's Task Force Report ''Rethinking Construction'' in late 1998 he was asked by Government and Industry to establish and Chair the Movement for Innovation (M4i) with the task of motivating industry to radically change the way in which it operates, and to adopt the recommendations and targets of the Egan report. In 2002 he received his CBE for innovation and services to the construction industry.

In April of the same year (2002) he became Chairman of Rethinking Construction and continued as Director of Constructing Excellence when Rethinking Construction merged with the Construction Best Practice Programme. He is a past Chairman of the Construction Confederation, was a member of the Construction Industry Board, the Strategic Forum of the Construction Industry, Chairman of the Institution of Civil Engineers Management Board, Privy Council appointed member of the Architects Registration Board and of a number of Government Task Forces.

Crane says his pet hate is people saying something ‘can’t’ be done. Whether he’s arguing for tougher safety measures in the construction industry or getting projects completed in adverse weather conditions, he always likes to look for the positives.

“It’s about what you can do,” he says. “I don’t spend five seconds on what I can’t do. I don’t even stay in the same room as people who tell me what they can’t do. We don’t have enough time on this earth as it is. We have to take the time we’ve got, and spend it on positives, spend it on solutions.”


Corporate members of the Chartered Institute of Building are 'Chartered Builders' - not 'Construction Managers'. Perhaps our new president should start to use the words 'building' and 'builders'. Something that he appears to be averse to. In doing so he can then start to address the issue of what we actually stand for. Or will he leave the room?

David Stockdale FCIOB CEnv, 8 January 2012

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