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Arup have launched their third issue of our UK Cities Intelligence Report on the topic of Retrofit at Scale.

In this issue of UK Cities Intelligence, we look at the benefits of taking a neighbourhood and place-based approach to retrofit at scale, to not only meet net zero targets, but to deliver safer, healthier, and more sustainable communities.

This issue explores how the built environment can tackle retrofit at scale through different policy levers and approaches. Scaling up retrofit is about strong relationships and partnerships between the public and private sector alongside a systems thinking approach and innovation to accelerate action to maximise long term benefits. Hear from our client, Perth and Kinross Council on how Arup helped them on their path towards net zero.

Download full publication HERE

We are delighted to announce The CE East Midlands Awards Shortlist

Please CLICK HERE to see the Awards Finalists!

The CE West Midlands Awards Dinner 2024 was held on Thursday 2nd May at Edgbaston, Birmingham.

It was an excellent evening of celebration and high spirits. The talent and hard work across the construction industry in the region was outstanding. It was a showcase for innovation for innovation and best practice.

CLICK HERE to view the 2024 Winners

InstallerSHOW is back and bigger than ever for 2024, taking place at the NEC, Birmingham from 25 -27 June. The UK’s must-visit event focusing on the sustainable delivery of heat, water, air and energy is packed full of solutions for you, whatever type of project you are working on.

With ten streams of top quality content and 600 exhibitors, InstallerSHOW will offer a huge selection of products to help Constructing Excellence members, plus expertise and solutions to help deliver sustainable buildings and get us firmly on the route to net zero.

Many of our exhibitors will be offering demos and taster training sessions during the show, with the chance to get hands-on with the latest products and discuss how they might help your projects.

Top speakers, insight and advice

The Housing Hub will be returning for 2024, with a three day programme of content designed for housebuilders, contractors, architects and housing associations, as well as those working in the supply chain. It will tackle the key challenges of decarbonising our homes, as well as meeting the regulations set out in the Building Safety Act.

It comes at a key time for those involved in the planning and construction of new homes, with the Future Homes Standard due to come into effect in 2025 and an uplift in housebuilding activity which has been widely forecast.

Our facilitators for the Housing Hub will be climate and sustainability journalists Rachel England and Jim McClelland. We’ll be addressing topics relevant for both newbuild and refurbishment projects, all designed to help our audience make homes healthier, more energy efficient and affordable. Sessions will include the Future Homes Standard, taking a fabric first approach to retrofit, designing low carbon homes and the Building Safety Act.

You will be able to hear from housebuilders including Persimmon & Cala, as well as industry partners including the National Retrofit Hub and National Home Improvement Council.

In the Elemental Arena you’ll hear from industry leaders in a range of panel discussions, keynote talks, Q&As and interactive seminars, tackling the major topics in our industry.

Constructing Excellence Midlands join this year’s content programme, and will be discussing and debating the Changing landscape for skills.

We know we need to build a net zero workforce and ensure the industry has the skilled professionals to decarbonise our buildings. Panellists for this session will consider the skills that are in demand and how we can train both existing installers and new recruits, particularly when small construction businesses will be at the heart of retrofit delivery.

Andrew Carpenter, Chief Executive of Constructing Excellence Midlands will be joined on stand by John Hancock, COO of Wolseley Group, Paul Amann, Policy Officer at Liverpool Region Combined Authority, Bola Abisogun, Founder of Digital Twins Skills Academy, and Clayton Browne, MD of CB Heating.

This important debate, The Changing landscape for Skills, will take place Tuesday 25 June, 3:30PM in the elemental Arena.

Other highlights in the elemental Arena include Deborah Meaden, Jordon Brompton, Co-Founder of myenergi, and Lord Callanan, Minister for Energy Efficiency & Green Finance. Check the full content timetable, with over 10 theatres here

Plus top brands delivering net zero solutions

Our 600 strong exhibitor list will cover heating and plumbing, renewable energy, electric vehicle infrastructure, kitchens and bathrooms, energy storage, software and digital solutions, ventilation, water efficiency and more. Some of the names you can expect to see are Vaillant, Grohe, Polypipe, Kingspan, Heat Geek, Ford, E.ON, Aico, Vitra, Climalife, Danfoss, Haier, Nesta, Mixergy, Passiv UK and Wilo UK.

InstallerSHOW opens at 10am on Tuesday 25th June, running 10am-5pm on 25th and 26th and 10am-4pm on 27th. It is free to attend, including parking, and tickets are available here.

The first three Best Practice Guides have been published by CE Midlands, focusing on a range of subjects currently affecting the industry.

Each guide is a short, in-depth dive by members, each experts in their own fields. These first three are written by practitioners in education, contracting and building control, with a focus on the Building Safety Act.

Offer of summary of the Principal Contractor meeting the Building Safety Act requirements – Norman Davis

The Building Safety Act 2022 Implications for Building Control – Richard Cymler

Building Safety Act Client Duties – Julie Bell-Barker

Constructing excellence continues to play a pivotal role in reshaping the future of the construction industry by showcasing best practices and collaboration across the industry.  Over the last few months each of the local clubs supported by theme groups have started to gather sense checks of any bottlenecks and problems encountered by its members and firms operating in various domains.

This has greatly assisted with development of bespoke CPD events (including workshops/seminars/podcasts/guidance notes) within each region in sharing knowledge, skills and behaviours where the speakers have walked-through-project successes adopting a collaborative approaches.  These events heavily rely on creating transparency to foster confidence and trust in CE activities which is enhanced by member engagement and acting on member feedback.

It is evident that the landscape is changing in the sector at a far faster rate than previously thought. In these tough times where costs going up, clients and legislations require innovative solutions, as well as the usual challenges of Economic, Effective and Efficient project delivery; to survive organisations will continue to keep a sharp eye on cash flow to balance the books.

In addition, the industry is also facing increased pressures to adopt green practices (sustainable and retrofit technologies, skill shortages, diversity and social values). In order to stay ahead of the competitors every organisation needs to embrace new non-traditional approaches, changing legislations, the Golden Thread and the Moral Compass.

In summary, there is lots happening within the regions, if we are to remain head of the game, I invite and encourage everyone to take maximum advantage of the best practice series by getting involved in various theme groups and local clubs.

• Anglian Water, Heathrow, The Lower Thames Crossing, National Highways, Northumbrian Water and Sellafield commit to tackle their biggest contributors to CO₂ emissions during construction – diesel, steel, and concrete.
• Firms have signed up to the Construction Leadership Council’s “Five Client Carbon Commitments” setting out their commitments on the journey to Net Zero.
• Pledges will give certainty, confidence, and clarity to the whole infrastructure sector supply chain on their biggest clients’ plans to decarbonise their projects.

The Construction Leadership Council (CLC) and Minister for Industry and Economic Security Alan Mak have today (Monday 29 April) brought together leaders from across the  construction   industry to sign up to “Five Client Carbon Commitments” – pledges which will help the sector to achieve Net Zero.

There is already a huge amount of work taking place across the construction industry to tackle the Net Zero challenge- today’s announcement is the next step. “The Five Client Carbon
Commitments” are:

1 Procure for low carbon construction and provide incentives in contracts.
2 Set phase out dates for fossil fuel use.
3 Eliminate the most carbon intensive concrete products.
4 Eliminate the most carbon intensive steel products.
5 Sign up to PAS 2080, allowing a common standard in carbon management and reporting.

By signing up to these five pledges organisations are signalling, in a common language, their commitment to i) significantly cut their construction carbon emissions and ii) setting out their
own roadmaps to achieve those commitments.

The pledges cover the largest emitting areas in infrastructure delivery, including ending the use of diesel on construction sites (by transitioning to alternative energy sources such as diesel
replacements, green hydrogen, and electric powered plant) and shifting to the lowest carbon sources of concrete and steel available.

The CLC is also asking client organisations to commit to using PAS2080, creating a common carbon management standard across the industry, and to put carbon reduction at the heart of their procurement processes. These pledges are a move that has been pioneered by the Lower Thames Crossing, resulting in a 50% reduction in carbon in its procurement process which
concluded recently.

The organisations which have already signed up are expected to invest tens of billions into UK infrastructure over the next decade and, through their buying power, can collectively give certainty to the supply chain on the increased demand for innovative low carbon products and solutions. This will help to incentivise manufacturers and suppliers to invest in new green technologies.

The construction industry plays a vital role in the success of the country’s economy by building and maintaining the infrastructure on which society relies, but it is also a significant generator of
CO₂ emissions and therefore climate change. The UK government has a target to reach Net Zero by 2050 – but with the construction sector producing a significant share of the country’s
carbon emissions, change is needed.


Industry Minister and Co-Chair of the Construction Leadership Council Alan Mak said “From investing in green skills and tech to boosting investment and innovation, there are huge opportunities in decarbonising for the UK construction sector. Through the Construct Zero framework, we could see thousands of new green jobs and billions in private sector investment being added to the UK economy. It’s fantastic to see these five Client Carbon Commitments signed today, which will go a long way towards achieving these

Mark Reynolds, Group Chairman and Chief Executive of Mace and Co-Chair of the Construction Leadership Council said “We are now at an inflection point where wholesale changes, brought about through cross[1]industry collaboration, are the only way to meet the speed and scale that Net Zero 2050 demands. Our launch of CO₂nstructZero in 2020 and the success we’ve seen so far has shown the value of collective frameworks. By creating these commitments for infrastructure delivery will allow clients in our industry to pursue more sustainable outcomes in a coordinated way, helping us all work together across the sector to drive towards decarbonisation.”

Matt Palmer, Industry Sponsor for Net Zero and Biodiversity at the Construction Leadership Council and Executive Director, Lower Thames Crossing said: “The UK relies on the infrastructure organisations build and run, but the way we have been doing so is incompatible with a Net Zero future. We cannot simply stop building and maintaining the infrastructure society relies on, so we must change and to adopt new materials and technologies. We need to be bold, and we need our partners and supply chain to come with us.

Our commitments today provide will start to provide clear client direction to decarbonise the largest emitting areas of construction.” In the coming months, more organisations are scheduled to sign up to the pledge, including East West Rail, Environment Agency, Houses of Parliament Restoration & Renewal, and National Grid.

Click here to learn more about the Five Client Carbon Commitments, and how you can get involved




Our challenging missions and theme group objectives – to add value to the construction process, to address the climate crisis, to enhance quality and compliance, to drive innovation and best practice to adopt Smart construction, and to procure on value – or all crying out for innovation.

This month, Martyn Jones asks if we need a new innovation model or framework to help us shape and implement the innovations needed to fulfil these missions and deliver the objectives of our theme groups.

Innovation models help us by providing frameworks or templates to identify, evaluate, advance, and implement ideas and focus on the strategies needed to create the value we are seeking.

From the 1990s onwards our thinking on innovation has been influenced by Roy Rothwell, a British sociologist, a pioneer in industrial innovation and innovation management. He viewed innovation as a multi-factor process which was instigated and sustained through the formation of networks and alliances based on collaboration and more creative relationships.

This chimed, of course, with the ethos and culture of the Constructing Excellence movement. But that was then and this is now, so will Rothwell’s model still cut the mustard given the change in context and the scale of the challenges and opportunities we now face?

Some argue we need to transition from Rothwell’s 5th generation model, as it was termed, to a new 6th generation model of innovation management – the open innovation model.

Open innovation challenges the idea that creativity must come from within an organisation or its network of suppliers, or indeed a particular industry. Instead, organisations pursing open innovation seek external ideas wherever they exist with an ‘outside-in’ and ‘inside-out’ approach sourcing ideas from external sources as well as internal ones.

It is about utilising the purposeful inflows and outflows of knowledge to accelerate innovation internally and externally whilst also expanding the market opportunities for the external adoption of the innovation.

It means sharing knowledge and information about problems and looking to people both inside and outside the organisation and its conventional or orthodox supply chains for ideas and possible solutions and new market opportunities.

Instead of the secrecy and silo mentality of much traditional thinking, open innovation invites a wider group of people to participate in problem-solving and product and process development.

According to Henry Chesbrough, an American organisational theorist, “open innovation is a more distributed, more participatory, and more decentralized approach to innovation”, arguing that this decentralised approach opens up access to external knowledge and new ways of thinking and doing things. It gives businesses and organisations the ability to access new (and sometimes ‘left-field’ or unusual) ideas for new products and services.

But organisations need to manage the process closely, making sure it is consistent with their purpose, missions, and brand values, and recognising that it requires a shift in culture that can take a lot of time and effort to instigate and manage effectively.

It requires a different approach to project management with organisations needing to let go of the idea of ownership and control of current processes and be open to external paths for new technologies, processes, and new sources of innovation.

Open innovation can be adopted in different ways. It is shaped by context, the nature of the industry or sector, the innovation trajectories of the organisation and its network of suppliers, and their appetite for involving external parties.

It might start with Intrapreneurship, a way of finding and supporting innovative talent within our own organisations or businesses. Encouraging and supporting individuals to act more like entrepreneurs, to be more self-motivated, curious, proactive, and action-oriented people with the initiative to pursue an innovative product or service.

And it can be adopted by applying 5th generation principles beyond the organisation’s boundaries, setting key partners in their network of project partners, suppliers, and specialist contractors, innovation challenges to gather ideas, collectively find solutions and create new markets.

Looking outwards beyond our normal network of suppliers, forging partnerships with startups is another way to work together to find a solution to an identified problem. Startups are companies founded to develop a unique product or service, bring it to market and make it irresistible and irreplaceable for customers.

An extension of, and more proactive approach to partnering with startups, is to establish startup incubators or accelerators. This is like a partnership, but also involves the more established organisation investing equity in the startups and their ideas.

From a Constructing Excellence perspective, co-creation labs are an interesting concept associated with open innovation. These are ‘places’ dedicated to innovation, with the resources, mentoring, and knowledge needed to explore challenging questions and exploit opportunities.

Such labs can be either internal to an organisation or perhaps more fruitfully convened externally involving clients, customers, suppliers, startups, and other potential partners.

And we have done it before: The Bristol CE Club’s Specific Innovation Clusters and its Here to Learn workshops have demonstrated how the CE movement can bring together people with diverse ideas and knowledge to creatively tackle issues and shape new ideas.

Construction businesses from across Shropshire and beyond have been urged to play their part in helping to deliver a multi-billion pound programme of projects planned for the region.

Plans to regenerate Shrewsbury’s Riverside area and the flagship Station Quarter development in Telford were just two of the key opportunities outlined to more than 100 business representatives attending the Project Pipeline event on March 22, at Theatre Severn in Shrewsbury.

The major event hosted by Shropshire Constructing Excellence, the Constructing Excellence Midlands Shropshire Club, attracted companies operating across the sector – from housing developers to sub-contractors and civil engineers to main contractors.

Mark Barrow, chair of Shropshire Constructing Excellence and executive director of place at Shropshire Council, told delegates that construction was fundamental to supporting growth in the Shropshire economy.

He outlined a draft pipeline of key projects in housing, transportation, education, health and the environment totalling £5.58billion by 2032 and estimated the potential economic impact of such developments to be in the region of £16.29billion.

Speaking after the event, he said: “It’s been great to see such a fantastic turnout and to see so many ambitious organisations looking forward to grasping opportunities locally to grow their own business.

“We want to understand how we can help these people achieve success.

“We do great things in Shropshire and we need to work together more to create and leverage opportunities for as many businesses as possible and that’s what these networking and knowledge-building events are all about.”

The event also heard from Katherine Kynaston and James Dunn, directors at Telford & Wrekin Council, about the ongoing construction opportunities in relation to the flagship Station Quarter project which is set to provide new education, housing and business facilities.

Matt Laws from event sponsor Shrewsbury Colleges Group gave an overview of the wide range of training courses on offer to the construction industry including its new Higher Technical Qualifications and the newly created shorter, modular courses which aim to support industry professionals with flexible and creative learning.

“Our aim is to provide a relevant and responsive training provision which meets the skills the industry needs. The construction sector is a priority sector for us with a specific focus on the environment and technology.

“We are so much more than a college that supports young people. We are working to support the sector and many of our courses have been developed in partnership with businesses working across construction.”

Harpreet Rayet, of Cornovii Developments, updated the event on STAR Housing’s successful retrofit project near Oswestry, sustainability plans and SAP calculations, whilst Andrew Carpenter, from Constructing Excellence Midlands, also explained how the organisation works together with SCE for the benefit of construction businesses.

The event also provided an opportunity for delegates to network and build new partnerships.

Project Pipeline event host, Amy Bould, managing director of Be Bold Media and committee member of SCE, said: “It was fantastic to see so much appetite from businesses wanting to be involved with so many great projects and developments and we look forward to our next event which will be just as informative and engaging for those working across the sector.”

In October 2020, Ravensdale Infant and Nursery School in Mickleover, Derby, was the victim of a devastating arson attack that left the majority of its structure and contents in ruin. Overnight, 296 children aged three to seven, found themselves without their school once again, having only just returned from lockdown.

Working in close collaboration with Morgan Sindall Construction, Lungfish Architects and other key stakeholders, Derby City Council accessed SCAPE’s Regional Construction Framework – one of the most efficient procurement and delivery programmes available to rebuild the school in the shortest timeframe possible.


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