Chartered Institute of Building Magazine of the Chartered Institute of Building


‘New opportunities in the new normal’

27 May 2020 | By Caroline Gumble, chief executive, CIOB

The CIOB has joined forces with the Construction Clients’ Leadership Group to help the industry respond to the issues raised by the pandemic, explains Caroline Gumble.

Caroline Gumble

In my first Construction Manager column of 2020 I wrote that it was important to see the CIOB through the lens of our members, including our international membership, to understand the many lessons there are to learn – and to see the opportunities.

In looking at where we are now, there seems to be a constantly changing present with sites reopening and work restarting – in the UK and elsewhere – but new ways of working being adopted, whether you’re on site or in the home office.

But we have to look forward and assess what the opportunities will be, while we are finding our ‘new normal’ – or ‘next normal’, as some are saying. To that end, the CIOB has joined forces with the Construction Clients’ Leadership Group (CCLG) to engage our client members and focus on client leadership in our industry.

The impact of covid-19 is, of course, a focus for everyone at the moment and we now have a Covid-19 Client Working Group to help the industry better respond to the issues raised by the pandemic. It will also provide that key insight from clients and support the critical working relationships between contractor and clients, including supporting small and micro suppliers, who are arguably the engine room of our industry.

The working group has representatives from companies and organisations across the world, including two CIOB Trustees, and work is progressing at pace in four areas:

  • Carrying on with critical and essential work;
  • Remobilising and maintaining communication with suppliers;
  • Reaching and supporting the client community;
  • International collaboration.

Being part of this working group will bring the CIOB closer to clients and will help develop our understanding of their issues. But more importantly for the short term, it will support the industry as it goes back to work. All client members are welcome to join – please contact Gren Tipper FCIOB: [email protected].

Collaborative effort

Economic data released a few weeks ago indicates that construction professionals feel confident about their ability to get and keep a job and that there is optimism within the industry.

But while the CIOB is, of course, supportive of getting the construction community back to work, we must continue to work collaboratively. This is a theme I have written about before but now more than ever it needs to be emphasised.

Delivering a project, whether new build, maintenance or refurbishing, requires a collaborative effort from the whole team, with a focus on effective and open communication, cooperation and a pro-active, non-adversarial approach. That may be novel for some but needs to be part of our ‘new’ behaviour and our ‘next normal’…

Caroline Gumble is chief executive of the CIOB