Sir James Wates CBE reflects on the state of the construction industry over the past 25 years and what the future might hold.
On 30 October 2019 Wates Group Chairman, Sir James Wates CBE, became the 32nd winner of the UCEM Property Awards. The award was made in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the property industry and to charitable causes.
In his acceptance speech, Sir James reflected on progress in the construction industry since a previous winner, Sir Michael Latham, published his ‘Constructing the team’ report in 1994. At that time, Latham was making the case that change was needed in the sector. A quarter of a century later, Sir James attests that “we are still trapped in some of the old confrontational, antagonistic ways of working”. You can read the full speech here.
Construction: must try harder
In his guest blog for UCEM, ‘Each Firm needs to articulate its purpose‘, Sir James discusses the priority areas in need of improvement such as the industry being highly specialised – yet fragmented – not being an attractive career option for young people and allowing cowboy builders to make headlines for poor quality.
However, he also highlights those areas where improvements have been made, such as Health and Safety; digital tools and greater levels of collaboration and honest debate.
A way forward
He suggests that every company articulates its purpose so together, the industry can make a real difference in the future.
“The Wates Group recently articulated our purpose as ‘together, we inspire better ways of creating the places, communities and businesses of tomorrow’” writes Sir James.
“This means we will be constantly looking how we can create social value and working with our clients as partners so we can help them realise their vision for tomorrow.”