What could the construction industry look like post-pandemic?

Construction industry, Roadmap to recovery

The Chartered Institute of Building has been exploring the role of construction in the post-pandemic world. The CIOB’s CEO, Caroline Gumble, discusses the Adapt & Thrive event, being held on 24 March, to examine how the industry might change and adapt to new ways of working

All of us in the construction industry have witnessed over the past year just how adaptable and resilient the construction sector can be – the sector was faced not only with the consequences of the pandemic but also uncertainty over the status of workers, challenges to implementing Covid-safe site working and disruption to supply chains and the pipeline of future projects, to name just a few of the issues.

What is clear is that we have weathered the worst of the storm – and I’d like to take this opportunity to say that I have been incredibly impressed by so much of the resilience, commitment and professionalism shown by so many in our sector.

While we may have weathered the storm, it has also become clear that there will be a “new normal” or a “next normal” – the future of construction is highly unlikely to be exactly what it was before the pandemic struck. Most people will face some sort of change to their working lives and understanding what that means to construction, where a wholesale move to remote working is not an option for many key roles, is another challenge we now face.

Adapt & Thrive – the Roadmap to Recovery

To talk about the many issues that a conversation about construction inevitably throws up, the CIOB is holding a special event, open to all, called Adapt & Thrive – the Roadmap to Recovery.

The one-day online conference will take place on Wednesday 24 March to really examine what the construction industry might look like post-pandemic, how the sector needs to change to meet the changing needs of society and how it can adapt to futureproof both the industry and the buildings it creates.

The conference is split into four main themes: Rising to the challenges faced by the built environment; The role of digital technology & modernisation – the key to success?; Future Focus – How the industry needs to adapt to thrive; and Reimagining the built environment – industry leader perspective.

These will look at the ways in which the current built environment is fit for purpose, given the substantial changes society has gone through in the last year.

The conference will also assess the role of digital technology and how modernisation and increased use of digital tools is one key element in the future success of the sector, particularly in light of a shortage of skilled labour.

I’m also delighted at the line-up of speakers we have, with the most recent confirmation being the Rt Hon Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP, who was appointed minister for business, energy and clean growth at the Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy earlier this year.

For a broader, more international perspective we also have David Chandler from Australia, offering insights from his role as the New South Wales building commissioner.

Building back better… and safer

I’m very pleased to confirm that we will be joined by Dame Judith Hackitt, chair of the Independent Review of Building Regulations & Fire Safety, giving a talk on Building Back Better – and Safer.

We are also lucky to have other prominent speakers from some of the biggest industry bodies, with the presidents of RICS, RIBA, ICE and the RTPI. As far as I can tell, this is the first conference this year to bring all four of those speakers together, in addition to the CIOB’s own president, Mark Beard of Beard Construction. They will all be part of a panel in the afternoon to discuss Reimagining the Built Environment – Industry Leader Perspective.

It also seems fitting that, as this event is forward-looking and focused on the future of construction, the chair role is being taken by two members of the CIOB’s network for young professionals, Rachael Keeble and Lin Qi.

The line-up is also joined by government officials and senior leaders from the construction industry, looking at different visions for achieving an agile and more productive industry.

My hope for the Adapt & Thrive event is that it will be a positive and useful exchange of views and ideas at a time when the construction industry is going through so many changes and already adapting to new ways of working.

Our industry has been quick to respond to the circumstances of the pandemic and has shown us that we are far more capable of change than we previously imagined. This conference will be key in discussing the reshaping of our industry.

For more information and to register, the details are here.



Caroline Gumble


Chartered Institute of Building

Tel: +44 (0)1344 630 700


Twitter: @theCIOB

LinkedIn: The Chartered Institute of Building

YouTube: The CIOB


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