Oxford Knowledge Cafe

David GURTEEN Gurteen Knowledge Fleet, United Kingdom

What with the Easter break you may have missed the fact that my next London Knowledge Café is coming up on the evening of Wednesday 3rd May at Argent LLP – a UK property developer based near King’s Cross.

I am delighted we have James Wates as our speaker. James has worked in the construction industry all his life, joining Wates Construction as a management trainee, and progressing through line management and running sites before taking on a general manager role in 1989. Since then he has progressed through the company to Chairman of the main Group Board.

The topic for the evening: Despite the tradition of the ‘Master Builder’ – craftsmen such as Sir Christopher Wren who were architect, engineer, and builder – the construction industry has become increasingly fragmented over the past hundred years, to the extent that now, true collaboration among the numerous specialists needed in any substantive construction project is weak. Yet the built environment sector has recognised this failing, and many in the industry are striving to redress this imbalance, supported by such catalysts as digital modelling and a new quality standard (BS11000) that explicitly supports collaboration across the supply chain. We are also recognising the value of looking at other sectors and specialties, especially in manufacturing, where designers and producers work closely together.

A deep and early collaboration can have particular benefits in regeneration projects, insofar as it helps align the interests of all who have a stake – investors, housing associations, local employers, designers, contractors, the supply chain, and of course the people who live and work there. Examples such as the Kings Cross redevelopment bear witness to this potential for success. But there remain plenty of examples of where collaboration has not happened, resulting in cost overruns, legal disputes, and buildings that are mismatched to the public’s needs.

And the question: What advice would you give to ensure that major developments – especially regeneration in the cities – are collaborative enough to reflect the needs of all stakeholders?

You will find full details and can register here: http://bit.ly/2o3nwNh

Once again, this should be a good evening and I look forward to seeing many of you.

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