Why I #loveconstruction

I’ve always been a little bemused by calls for us to be prouder of the industry we work in, as to me it seemed a little obvious… I mean, why wouldn’t we be?

Catherine Caplis - Joint MD

Catherine Caplis27.09.2013

Then I realised that maybe it’s because I’m so close. My Dad was a builder and so I’ve grown up appreciating the skill and workmanship that goes into creating or refurbishing buildings…. From being proud of Dad’s ‘fancy’ brickwork on Nottingham’s M&S or the turret he built as part of a local hotel – through to being able to depend on his skills (and those of his mates) in later years when it came to doing up my first house.. and second…and third!

I suppose those that aren’t so close might take a different view… maybe what springs to their mind is cowboy builders or Wembley stadium being late and over budget? Maybe they conclude, like the parents we surveyed for a research project for Astins a few years ago, that ‘apprenticeships are a great thing…. But for other people’s children’? But to me, nothing brought home the sheer wonder of construction than my day trip out last Saturday.

My friend was visiting from Australia and we took her little girl for a day out in London. She was particularly excited about going on the tube and as we stood on the platform and explained to her that the underground was 150 years old it really struck me…. Yes, someone 150 YEARS AGO had the ambition and the vision to think “I know what we’ll do, we’ll tunnel down under London and create a massive transport network” – I mean just how amazing is that? And surely that’s true of everything? From high rise buildings, to bridges, to spectacular glass facades, to curved roofs, to passive houses, to craning in bathroom pods… for all of these, there has been the skill and the ambition to make it happen!

Coverage on the Library of Birmingham is appearing everywhere at the moment and is definitely a case in point. I was lucky enough to interview Francine Houben on the project and I was so in awe. To hear her talk about her vision and how it was realised and for her to speak so passionately about the collaboration that made this happen between end client, architect, contractor and suppliers was truly inspiring… and that’s why I #loveconstruction!

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