What is the future of professional institutions?

7 January 2020 | By Mark Beard

The next decade will be challenging and exciting for construction. The CIOB should grasp the opportunities ahead to stay relevant, says Mark Beard.

Mark Beard

It is very easy to think that tomorrow will be a materialisation of today: a minor change here and a tweak there and everything will be fine. This has been the case for many professional institutions and clubs for the last few decades. 

However, over the next decade, we are likely to see the environment in which professional institutions operate change dramatically for a number of reasons:

All organisations are guided by their mission statement, vision and values – and, whatever pressures one faces, it is important to stay true to these. Additionally, we at the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) are lucky enough to have a Royal Charter which guides us.

Granted in 1980, its objectives are the promotion for the public benefit of the science and practice of building and construction, and the advancement of public education in the said science and practice including all necessary research and the publication of the results of all such results.

We are also very lucky to have a loyal diverse membership, enviable reputation and strong balance sheet. However, all this could be lost very quickly in today’s fast-moving world, unless we change with the times and ensure the way we operate is relevant to the third decade of the 21st century, in particular:

“An agile, well-respected, member-focused CIOB can be independent and relevant or, if we so wish, the catalyst for bringing various construction professional institutions together.”

Mark Beard

Some of this is difficult. We are in part a members’ organisation, but we also have a public role to fulfil. We are the guardians of hard earned and well-respected qualifications. Sometimes these roles are complementary, sometimes not. 

But the journey of modernisation can be extremely fulfilling; there is always low-hanging fruit to pick and successful change leads to wider organisation buy-in and growing appetite for further change.

Fully grasping the opportunities ahead will allow us to determine our own future. An agile, well-respected, member-focused CIOB can be independent and relevant or, if we so wish, be the catalyst for bringing various construction professional institutions together to form a powerful cross-disciplinary property and construction professionals’ institution.

Resting on our laurels is likely to result in the opposite occurring, with both our membership numbers and influence diminishing. In the language of the jungle, “eat or be eaten”.

The next 10 years are likely to be a challenging and exciting time for professional institutions and all who earn their living from construction. I look forward to playing my part in grasping the opportunities ahead of us, raising the CIOB profile within our industry and above all continuing to proudly call myself a builder in all facets of my life.

Mark Beard is chairman of Beard Group and vice-president of the CIOB


Additionally CIOB needs to understand its relationship with its female members. How it interacts, speaks and includes them is vitally important in ensuring they see a place for themselves in both industry and CIOB.

Chrissi, 9 January 2020

While at the annual members forum in June last year I had the pleasure of accompanying Mark on a casual morning walk to Carlton hill in Edinburgh, on the way we discussed the industry and how it has changed over the years and how we see it evolving in the future. Great to see that the CIOB are forward thinking and realise that there are too many awarding bodies that claim to represent the industry but are nothing more than a registration scheme that has gained momentum. More focus and Kudos needs to be given to the Professional bodies especially when it comes to government directives and direction lets hope the industry can shine in the coming decade and beyond.
Ps lets not forget ever industry has it’s hotter storylines and those are often the ones that get cast up not all the others that have been outstanding. We need to learn from the failures. It’s funny as I was watching The Towering Inferno over Xmas and the exact same issue was the cause as we have today “ the client driving down costs and contractors saying OK” time to say NO the price is the price rather than giving a poor product that is destined for failure
Happy NEWYEAR to all in the industry

Mark G, 9 January 2020

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