Construction National

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Mon23102017

Last updateFri, 20 Oct 2017 3pm

Farewell to a year of increasing optimism, with a better one in prospect

Construction National blog logoIt’s the end of another year and it seems an appropriate time to reflect on what has happened in the construction industry over the past 12 months – like those endless series of TV programmes doing exactly that instead of going to the trouble of making some new ones.

The answer to the question posed, however, is “a lot”. The year began with the industry cautiously welcoming a few tidbits of optimism in the housing market in particular. The NHBC published the most promising set of figures for a long time, echoed by the RICS.

• On the infrastructure front, Crossrail has consistently entertained throughout the year, beginning with the construction of a whole new station under the Thames at Canary Wharf and ending with the discovery of a whole Roman cemetery.

• One of the most unsavoury running sores in the industry this year has been the scandal of the so-called blacklist run by the now-defunct Consulting Association. The first victim to be compensated was informed of the fact in October and the industry has set up a compensation scheme, while denying they did anything wrong.

• The big story of 2012 has, unfortunately, so far failed to be carried through to fulfil its promise. I’m referring, of course, to the Olympic legacy and the promised transformation of the site into housing and community resources for Londoners.

As recently as November, Lord Harris of Haringey, the chair of the House of Lords committee tasked with overseeing the issue, said: “…we are recommending that one Government minister should be given overall responsibility for all strands of legacy across the UK. We also believe that the Mayor of London should be given the necessary power and lead responsibility to take forward the legacy vision for East London and the development of the Olympic Park.”

There we are, then; Boris’s airport site problem solved.

• Looking forward, Glasgow will get its own chance to shine with staging of the Commonwealth Games. There has been some new build, but the organisers have achieved their main objective (getting all the venues and the village ready on time and on budget) by revamping existing venues – possibly the ultimate in retrofit!

• January will see the NHBC announcing its Supreme Winners in its Pride in the Job awards. The race to the tape in London began in the summer with the announcement of the first-round winners.  Now the winners have been whittled down to the Regional Winners in the various categories based on size of builder plus the new, single plot winners. As always, the final stage of the competition will be covered in detail by the paper version of Construction National.

Chris Stokes