“If you want to change the world, join the construction industry!”
Speaking with one clear voice is the way forward for the industry to help change the world, according to Andy Mitchell, co-chair of the Construction Leadership Council (CLC). Reports by Rob O’Connor.
The industry’s continued collaboration, speaking with one voice to influence government and attracting new people into construction to help change the world, all emerged as major themes in a Infrastructure intelligence interview with CLC co-chair Andy Mitchell today (8.9.21).
Our third Infrastructure intelligence The 2021 Live In the Spotlight interview saw one of the leading figures in the UK construction and infrastructure industry speak out freely about the vital role the Construction Leadership Council played in establishing the importance of industry in the post-Covid recovery.
The CLC provides cross-sector leadership to the construction industry and is a key and influential voice with government and other key stakeholders and opinion makers. The CLC met and led the industry response to the Covid-19 pandemic and was commended for its work in bringing industry together, pooling resources and working together to support change in industry.
Under Andy Mitchell’s leadership, the CLC forged an effective working relationship with the government, underscored by its commitment to the development of the industry recovery plan. Mitchell has extensive experience in the construction industry. In addition to being currently CEO of the Tideway mega-infrastructure project, he was previously Program Director and Board Member of Crossrail and has managed a number of large scale projects in the UK and the UK. foreigner.
Talk with Infrastructure intelligence Editor-in-chief Andy Walker, Mitchell described the CLC’s initial struggles to engage with an industry previously known not to speak as a unified force. But the world changed when Covid hit and, Mitchell said, the CLC brought the industry together in ways never seen before.
“The year before Covid, 2019, it was clear that the CLC was never going to sufficiently represent the entire industry, but the world changed overnight,” Mitchell said. “The truth is, I have phoned industry representatives to get involved in planning how to help both the industry and the country find a way forward. It became a working group and it was impressive to see people and companies put their egos aside and work together, a heartwarming response across the industry, ”he said.
This spirit of collaboration with one voice has enabled the industry to become much more influential in government circles, with industry leaders remaining in daily contact with senior ministers. “Before the pandemic, we would have struggled to get that respect in the industry,” Mitchell said. “Certainly during the first days of the pandemic there was fear of the unknown, but we had the courage to give simple and clear advice to everyone working in the industry and everyone got involved. embarked and worked together. We even heard Treasury officials say that they never thought they would see the light of day, that the construction industry was working together and speaking with one clear voice, ”he said.
“The more we spoke with one voice and spoke with the authority of the industry, we found that the government was more willing to listen to us and engage with us, happily giving us direct daily access to the highs. ministers. It never happened, ”Mitchell explained. “The pandemic has shown how important industry is to the economy, and governments around the world understand the importance of investing in infrastructure. This is an open door that we have, and it is up to us to present the case to the government, ”Mitchell said.
Longer term, Mitchell said the roadmap for recovery is still important and outlined two stages of post-Covid recovery. “First, there is the here and now,” he said. “We have labor and material shortages and the effects of Brexit. We need to deal with it and hear the industry tell us what we can do, while working closely with the government. Second, and in the longer term, the building playbook is a milestone. There is a series of issues surrounding digital, purchasing, net zero, innovation, MMC to name a few – a huge amount of stuff to do in the future, but we have to make sure we don’t focus on the next few months, ”Mitchell says.
“We have a huge role to play in changing the way the built environment is delivered. We are putting in place a coherent structure for government, showing our understanding and intention. It’s a stepping stone for us to tell our story and let people know how important the industry is in the fight against climate change, ”he said.
Mitchell was also clear that the Construction Playbook has an important role to play in changing behavior in the industry. “The playbook is a bold government step, with common sense underlying every page. It is a start for departments to understand what we do, not only by describing what we are building, but by understanding the positive effects on society. Understand that it is not just about cost, but also about lifelong value and social value, ”he said.
As for monitoring the playbook and encouraging industry to comply, Mitchell said, “It is up to the industry to support the government in implementing the package. If you see people who are not following the guidelines, you should call them. And guide them through the process to help change behavior. But if we are to achieve the change we need, we cannot afford to hang around and we cannot tolerate those who will not change, ”Mitchell said.
When asked how the CLC could help reach a wider audience and attract new talent, Mitchell said, “We need to understand and explain what we do for the company. Our message should be “If you want to change the world, come join our industry”. We need to have a cohesive history and attract the best talent from all over the world, ”he said.
Summing up, Mitchell said, “The value of the CLC has been clear to all over the past 18 months, but the industry must continue to work together to move forward. We’re all in the same boat, but we’ll only get where we need to be if we learn from each other and work together. In five years, I would like to see an industry that is seen in a very different way. We need to see more young people looking to careers to think about the construction industry. It’s an easy thing to do if you do something that you believe in, ”Mitchell said.
Click here to watch the full interview with CLC Co-Chair Andy Mitchell.
The Infrastructure Intelligence LIVE event series is organized in association with our strategic partner for events and communications, BECG.