It’s a condition of the CIOB’s charter that we work to promote the public good. That is largely fulfilled by our work in creating a skilled industry, with all the benefits that it brings to the well-being of workers and the satisfaction of its client. However, the institute has an outward-facing side as well.
We try to influence the wider political and social environment in which the industry operates. How do we decide what to influence? This is quite a complex process: we survey the opinions of our members, we work with other industry groups, and we also have our own opinions, based on the values and principles set out in our charter.
For example, our concern with training has meant that we have taken the lead in advancing the use of building information modelling (or BIM for short). These digital representations of the building under construction will become compulsory on all UK government projects by 2016, so we’re racing to give smaller companies the knowledge they need to stay in the game when that happens.
We’ve also set up groups composed of the industry’s leading professionals in areas where technical expertise is most important, such as Building Regulations. These have become important players in the policy-making process, and they give our members a chance to influence legislation and regulation.
Finally, we run campaigns to try to raise awareness of construction issues and improve the contribution construction makes to the public good. To choose a couple of examples, our Carbon Action 2050 initiative aims to help individuals and companies to devise and implement schemes to reduce their energy use, and we have conducted extensive and original research into corruption within the industry, and have made our findings available to the Serious Fraud Office, the Anti-Corruption Forum (which we are a member of) and Transparency International.