Caroline Gumble: 2023 reflections from CIOB

Caroline Gumble: 2023 reflections from CIOB

Caroline Gumble

CIOB CEO Caroline Gumble brings this year’s monthly Scottish Construction Now column to a close by looking back over the past 12 months.

Readers of Scottish Construction Now will know how busy this year has been for CIOB. In this article, I want to reflect on a couple of our 2023 highlights, although I do have the problem of picking just a couple (a nice problem to have!).

One of our significant moves this year was the introduction of a brand-new grade of membership - our Technical Member (TechCIOB) grade. SCN covered this in July in a piece from Mandy Mills, CIOB’s head of quality and assurance.

It took two years of consultations with members and development and, in fact, was initially driven by members in response to a changing education and legislation landscape. New building safety legislation has led to a new emphasis within the industry on certain roles and responsibilities and there is also a need to provide a validation of competencies for those working at non-managerial level.

The introduction of the TechCIOB grade is also important in allowing CIOB to extend our support to even more built environment professionals and I have been delighted to see our first group of TechCIOB members join us at some of our graduation ceremonies this year.

It is a hugely positive development that we are now able to recognise and award post-nominals to technical specialists, many of whom are experienced professionals and thought leaders in their areas of expertise.

This year also saw some of our work on clients and client-contractor relationships published. CIOB past president Mike Foy chose clients as the theme for his presidential term and Linda Stevens, head of client development, has taken Mike’s work as a starting point and set up a group of ‘client champions’ from across the industry. They are now helping to deliver a client strategy and steer the development of a range of digital resources to help clients work more effectively with their construction teams.

Some of you may remember that Linda wrote about this for SCN in October and explained the focus on clients, saying: “…being a construction client isn’t just about creating the right building for the right price at the right time - is also an opportunity to contribute to solving some of the biggest economic, ethical and ecological problems we face today.”

The first of our resources for clients is now available, with the CIOB Client Guide: Leading Projects in the Built Environment aimed at less experienced clients with responsibility for a large-scale construction project.

My thanks to all those in the industry and all the members who contributed to the development of our client resources.

With COP28 coming to a close at the time of writing, I also want to highlight CIOB’s work on sustainability, particularly in Scotland. Jocelyne Fleming, policy and public affairs officer for CIOB in Scotland, has been working with members and policymakers to make the case to the Scottish Government to support social housing providers with retrofit work to improve the energy efficiency of homes.

Her research work this year has included conversations with experts in the field and an examination of the available data and culminated in a report titled “Harnessing Scotland’s Social Housing Expertise”. The main call to action in the report is for the removal of barriers to funding for organisations with the expertise to deliver Scotland’s social housing retrofit objectives.

The report makes the case that housing associations have a demonstrable track record of success in delivering affordable, high-quality homes, with social homes being some of the most energy-efficient in Scotland. It then concludes with “housing associations are at the heart of tackling Scotland’s housing, climate, and cost-of-living crises, we need to act now to support these organisations to leverage their expertise and willingness to act, and quickly.”

This year CIOB has also appointed a Head of Head of Environmental Sustainability, Amanda Williams, who has already helped in elevating our leadership on moves to net zero and beyond, working across the industry to support the numerous initiatives which are now underway.

We also launched our own comprehensive Guide to Sustainability in the Built Environment which we want to be essential reading for construction professionals as they work to make sustainability a priority.

This whistle-stop tour of just a few of CIOB’s highlights doesn’t really do them justice but I hope readers will take a look at some of what we’ve done this year and make use of some of our new resources to help make positive change in the industry.

On that note, I want to take the opportunity to say thank you to all our members in Scotland and to all those in the industry who work with the CIOB Scotland team and with our Hub committee supporting the creation of a high quality, safe and environmentally sustainable built environment.

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