Opinion

CMYA is a celebration of industry’s real professionals

25 October 2018 | By Chris Blythe

This year’s CMYA winner Neil Lock is described as “leading from the heart”

This year’s awards mark 40 years of leadership and management skills in a changing industry, says Chris Blythe.

A year that began with the disaster of Carillion starts to draw to an end with us celebrating our Construction Manager of the Year Awards.

As we celebrate 40 years of what are unique awards in the construction industry, it is worth thinking about the thousands of people who have entered over that time and the near one thousand medal winners.

What comes across time and time again is the connection these professionals have with what they are doing. Through them you see that it is not just bricks and mortar or steel and cladding, or delivering a programme.

The building is the means to an end and it is this that drives them. I remember one gold medal winner became very emotional as he described how his team rebuilt a paediatric oncology unit around the existing facility. He had to come up with a programme to deliver the work, but in essence through the programme he was directly enabling the continued treatment of the young patients. Without him and his team the doctors and nurses could not do their job.

These themes get repeated year after year and are testament to the leadership and management skills at work, getting ordinary people to produce some extraordinary things.

The 2018 winner has been described as “leading from the heart” and while we have people with such qualities we have a chance of overcoming the obvious problems that persist.

If high quality can be delivered by some, there is no reason why it cannot be the norm. What it needs though is a clear commitment from the client all the way through to put quality first.

The professions have a leading role to play in collaborating to improve. The CIOB, RIBA and RICS have got together to produce a Quality Tracker. The CIOB is working with the LABC on Building Control degree apprenticeships. The Hackitt review is driving even more collaboration in respect of fire safety and it can only be hoped that this continues across other critical areas.

I suppose this comes back to what professionalism really is. You see it in every single finalist in CMYA. Professionalism is a state of mind, about behaviours and values, which is about improving the quality of life of the building users, not whether they are members of a professional body, even the CIOB. CMYA is about identifying and celebrating the best construction professionals.

As we move forward, CMYA will adapt and change to stay relevant and continue to be a showcase for the talent in the industry. We need to remind ourselves as much as possible of what we can do and how well we do it.

One thing will not change – in 2028, when we celebrate 50 years of the Construction Manager of the Year Awards, the winners will still be described as “leading from the heart”.

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