Blog

My year ahead as President

It is a great honour and privilege to become CIOB President and represent our global membership.

Mike Foy OBE FCIOB

CIOB President 2021/22

Last updated: 22nd June 2021

I take up the baton from immediate past president Mark Beard, who has shown great leadership during these unprecedented times. Despite the turmoil he has kept the CIOB’s momentum on the quality agenda by launching the Guide for Construction Quality and scholarships that will support future ideas to improve the quality of our built world. In addition, he has opened the door wider for the next wave of talented construction professionals with the CIOB 2030 Visionary Project. On behalf of all members we thank Mark for all his efforts and dedication throughout a very challenging year.

I joined this institute in 1970 and I am as inspired by it now as I was then. Certainly, I never thought that I would hold this position when I began my journey as a CIOB member. 

In my year ahead I will be turning my attention to clients who can be a force for change within the industry. This will enable me to continue the CIOB’s championing of quality, just as Mark and other past presidents have, along with various key areas of importance for the Institute and the built environment at large. The client has a key role in ensuring that the change we want to see becomes a reality and stands the test of time.

Linked to the important role of clients is another key area of project delivery – that of teams and teamwork. Every sector relies on teams of one sort or another to get work done. And if we’re not on Zoom these days, we’re probably on the “Teams” communication platform designed by Microsoft. 

But working in a team – and to be more specific, teamwork – is a particularly vital yet challenging aspect of construction. We have a famously long tail of SMEs and micro-businesses in our supply chains. Gone are the days of the Master Builder who did everything. We now have teams of specialists in all but the smallest of projects. Getting everybody working in sync is essential.

In the big picture, the client is a critical component of the value chain. 

Being a client carries with it significant responsibilities. The client has overall responsibility for the successful management of the project. They must kick off the project by developing a clear brief that sets out the vision, key requirements and funding arrangements. They must select the project team and ensure that the whole management arrangements are working in a cohesive manner.

Logically, the client has the overarching responsibility to ensure money is well spent. But it’s more than just holding the purse strings and maximising the obvious benefits from the available funds.

The architecture critic Paul Goldberger once wrote, “We build… because we believe in a future…. and we build well, because we believe in a better future.”

This belief in a better future often originates with the client, and the client can ensure that it is felt through the whole construction process.

Walt Disney reportedly insisted that when building the first Disneyland, they constructed the castle first, against all planning logic. He wanted all those working on the construction of the rest of the park to see and be inspired by the castle.

It sounds like Walt Disney may not have been the easiest of clients, but certainly an inspirational one. He understood the importance for each individual to feel part of the same team.

We need more clients who foster an environment of greater collaboration. Old entrenched ways of managing projects have led to excessive litigation and an overall confrontational approach. There are however always pockets of excellence which we should recognise, celebrate and build on.

Being a good client is more than just about the individual project at hand; in effect they are the ‘Buyer’. As such the client has great influence and control which enables it to be a positive force. The buying power the client has can be used for the long-term benefit of the sector and indeed all of society.  It can therefore ensure that CIOB members satisfy the first of our Royal Charter objects – “to promote the science and practice of building and construction for the public benefit.”

In a spirit of collaboration, builders and clients are changing the norm in construction, but we can go further and work with even greater collaboration across the entire value chain. Our legacy isn’t always a castle, but we can build a better future… as a team.

As my Presidency gathers pace you will see me at various CIOB events.  Come and join me along the next 12 months and share your ideas with me, I can assure you I am interested in what you have to say.

Clients play a key role in ensuring change becomes a reality

As CIOB President Mike Foy OBE sets out his goals for the year ahead.

Summary

I am very honoured and privileged to become CIOB President with the opportunity to represent our global membership. I joined this institute in 1970 and I am as inspired by it now as I was then. Certainly, I never thought that I would hold this position when I began my journey as a CIOB member. 

In my year ahead I will be turning my attention to clients who can be a force for change within the industry. This will enable me to continue the CIOB’s championing of quality and other key areas of importance to the Institute and the built environment at large. The client has a key role in ensuring that the change becomes a reality and stands the test of time.

Linked to the important role of clients is another key area of project delivery – that of teams and teamwork. Every sector relies on teams of one sort or another to get work done. And if we’re not on Zoom these days, we’re probably on the “Teams” communication platform designed by Microsoft.

But working in a team – and to be more specific, teamwork – is a particularly vital yet challenging aspect of construction. We have a famously long tail of SMEs and micro-businesses in our supply chains. Gone are the days of the Master Builder who did everything. We now have teams of specialists in all but the smallest of projects. Getting everybody working in sync is essential.

In the big picture, the client is a critical component of the value chain. 

Being a client carries with it significant responsibilities. The client has overall responsibility for the successful management of the project. They must kick off the project by developing a clear brief that sets out the vision, key requirements and funding arrangements. They must select the project team and ensure that the whole management arrangements are working in a cohesive manner.

Logically, the client has the overarching responsibility to ensure money is well spent. But it’s more than just holding the purse strings and maximising the obvious benefits from the available funds.

The architecture critic Paul Goldberger once wrote, “We build… because we believe in a future…. and we build well, because we believe in a better future.”

This belief in a better future often originates with the client, and the client can ensure that it is felt through the whole construction process.

Walt Disney reportedly insisted that when building the first Disneyland, they constructed the castle first, against all planning logic. He wanted all those working on the construction of the rest of the park to see and be inspired by the castle.

It sounds like Walt Disney may not have been the easiest of clients, but certainly an inspirational one. He understood the importance for each individual to feel part of the same team.

We need more clients who foster an environment of greater collaboration. Old entrenched ways of managing projects have led to excessive litigation and an overall confrontational approach. There are however always pockets of excellence which we should recognise, celebrate and build on.

Being a good client is more than just about the individual project at hand; in effect they are the ‘Buyer’. As such the client has great influence and control which enables it to be the positive force which I recognised in my opening remarks.   The buying power the client has can be used for the long-term benefit of the sector and indeed all of society.  It can therefore ensure that our members satisfy the first of our Royal Charter objects – “to promote the science and practice of building and construction for the public benefit.”

In a spirit of collaboration, builders and clients are changing the norm in construction, but we can go further and work with even greater collaboration across the entire value chain. Our legacy isn’t always a castle, but we can build a better future… as a team.

Thank you.