Reflections on the Building Awards 2015

It was the Building Awards earlier this month at the Grosvenor, the usual glittering black tie affair with David Walliams taking the mickey out of everyone. Three things stand out for me from the excellent edition of Building which covered the event:

  1. It was fantastic to see Tony Giddings of Argent honoured as Personality of the Year. Tony was chairman of the Design Build Foundation when I joined them as CEO in 2001. He provided great leadership as a client who walked the talk of collaboration, and with Richard Saxon led the merger with Reading Construction Forum which created Be as a membership-funded organisation which was later able to merge with Constructing Excellence as the latter’s government grant funding ran out to form the body we have today. If ever anyone deserved the title of Personality…!
  2. A great innovation was the “Test of Time” award, this reflects something I have been pushing for ages, the idea of going back to projects perhaps years later and finding out not just how the building performs in energy terms – although of course this is important – but whether it meets its business case in operation. Basically does that new school/hospital/office building deliver better education/healthcare/business outcomes? Most clients don’t know, perhaps worse many contractors and consultants don’t seem to want to know, yet if we could collect the evidence of outcomes in use, how much more powerful would be our case for investment in value – and the case for greater rewards based on this value? We still want to go back to our demonstration projects of 5-10 years ago to do such evaluations. One benefit would be to put more real numbers behind our inspiring ‘1:5:200 circles’. Meanwhile, well done Building on creating the award category, and even more so for selecting an excellent winner, the Marks and Spencer ‘Cheshire Oaks’ scheme by Simons Group, who demonstrated a performance 20% better than the business case.
  3. Our annual Awards programme started on May 8th with the first of our eight regional awards dinners, in Newcastle, with the North East listed on the CENE website. By the time we get to London on November 14 for the final, we will have eight regional winners in ten categories from which to select the best of the best. We need to make much much more of these peer-reviewed exemplars of excellence in our industry. Meanwhile, good luck to all the finalists – and its not too late to enter in some other parts of the country.