Two words sum up what the events of summer 2016 have brought: hope and opportunity. But what’s vital in the new world is that while some hope everything works out, we all know that to be successful, the construction sector must grasp these new opportunities.
We will no longer be able to blame others for our own failures, and now, even more than before, the finishes and interiors sector must take responsibility to ensure that it is fit to tackle the future.
At the very heart of the new order is the need to compete even harder in a market that is facing a huge challenge with resources, rising material costs and a growing workload, even if it is rising at a slightly slower pace.
Throughout the construction press we read that our sector is at the heart of the modern construction industry, installing project-critical elements on every contract. Homes and commercial buildings don’t become functional until the walls, floors and ceilings are in position. Whether you’re a fit-out contractor wrestling with M&E services or you’re trying to finalise the floor finishes, the message is the same: pre-plan to prevent problems.
Specialist contractors are as much a part of an integrated supply chain that has to work together as every other trade contractor, main contractors and the design team. But to achieve, the sector needs to ensure it is operating at the most productive level possible and, by getting involved early, there are opportunities for this productivity to receive a boost.
It is down to specialist contractors to make sure that their workforce – new and existing – has the right skills so that their packages are installed to the highest standards. Specialists cannot achieve this in isolation; they need to collaborate and work in partnership across the supply chain.
Déjà vu. More than 20 years ago, Latham and Egan were proposing these ways to raise standards: the need for early involvement, the importance of lean construction methods and the need for the right skills.
My hope is that we see the opportunity and really do change the way we work.
Adrian JG Marsh
Editor – SpecFinish