Celebrating 15 years

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2012 marks the 15th year of the Considerate Constructors Scheme, an industry initiative set up to improve the image of construction.

Thousands of construction sites and hundreds of companies all over the UK register each year with the Scheme, demonstrating their commitment to working to the highest levels of consideration towards the public, the workforce and the environment.

Back in 1994, Sir Michael Latham produced a report titled Constructing the Team, commissioned by the government and industry organisations, which reviewed procurement and contractual arrangements in the UK construction industry. As a result of the findings from the report, the Construction Industry Council formed the 'Latham Review Implementation Forum'. Within this group, one of the members focused on the need to improve the image of the industry. The result was the creation of the Considerate Constructors Scheme, a not-for-profit organisation with the sole aim of improving the image of construction.

Following this, a steering group took over the implementation of this new initiative and developed the Code of Considerate Practice. They also decided on the general principles that the Scheme should aim to achieve. These were: to form a voluntary organisation founded on encouragement, which would work with construction sites to improve their relationship with their neighbours, the general public, and the environment; that there would be inspections of registered sites (carried out by industry professionals known as Monitors) and written reports of the findings, with a score against the eight key areas listed in the Code of Considerate Practice; and finally to recognise and reward the best performing sites.

By January 1997, the core elements of the Scheme had been agreed and testing was well underway. The concept of the Scheme proved entirely possible and was also very welcomed by the industry, so in June of that year, the organisation was officially launched. One hundred and seventy-eight construction sites were registered and four Monitors were recruited.

Since then, the Scheme has grown tremendously, registering more and more sites each year as the industry began to realise the benefits of joining an organisation which promoted an image of professionalism and consideration. So far, over 62,000 construction sites have registered with the Scheme, and there are now over 130 Monitors who have carried out over 96,800 visits. In 2011 alone, the Scheme registered over 8000 UK construction sites, with a total contract value of over £43bn.

A few years ago, the Scheme also introduced Company Registration, a nationwide initiative to allow construction companies to register, as well as their sites. This was extremely beneficial to trade contractors and those who carry out domestic contracts, allowing them to register with the Scheme and demonstrate to their clients and other contractors that their company cares just as strongly about the image they portray. Year on year, the number of companies registering with the Scheme is greatly increasing, with currently over 1100 registrations received.

The success of the Scheme depended on the industry's willingness to accept that it needed to change, and since 1997, contractors both large and small have been committing themselves to be more considerate every time they register a site or company. To further develop the relationship between the Scheme and the industry, it developed Associate Membership and Client Partnership. This allows both contractors and clients to make an even greater commitment in improving the industry's image and to help shape the future developments of the Scheme, ensuring it continues to benefit the industry and the wider public.

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From left: Scheme Directors Paul Moore, Chris Lane, John Southworth, Chief Executive Edward Hardy, Chairman David Watson, and Directors Mike Petter and John Sayers.

The actual registration of a site or company is only one part of promoting the industry's efforts of working more considerately. Since the Scheme began, a wide variety of initiatives have been introduced to encourage the industry to continue improving standards.

One of the first initiatives was the introduction of Scheme branded signage such as posters, banners and vehicle stickers. Sites and companies receive this signage when they register and put it on display to promote their registration with the Scheme. When the public sees this signage, they can expect a more considerate kind of construction, one that works with the community, not against it.

To reward considerate behaviour, the Scheme introduced its annual National Site and Company Award ceremonies, whereby the most considerate sites and companies registered with the Scheme receive recognition and publicity for their efforts in improving the image of construction. Attended by thousands each year and held at locations around the UK, the awards are an important date in the calendar for any construction professional and allow the whole industry to come together and celebrate its achievements.

Other Scheme initiatives introduced over the years include: the development of Scheme Supporters, aimed at building closer links with other industry bodies who also share in the Scheme's aim of improving the image of construction; Seminars and Workshops, whereby contractors, clients and anyone else involved in the construction process are able to learn about the Scheme and hear what other sites have done to achieve exceptional levels of consideration; and Ivor Goodsite, the industry mascot, used by hundreds of contractors every year to educate children on the dangers of playing on or near construction sites, whilst promoting all that is positive about the UK construction industry.

Chief Executive of the Scheme, Edward Hardy, said: "Celebrating 15 years of considerate construction is not only a great achievement for the Scheme, but also for the industry and the public. Since the Scheme began, there has been a dramatic change in the industry's attitude towards the image it portrays. Many contractors now commit themselves to registering all of their construction activity with the Scheme to always promote their efforts of working more considerately, as they can see the benefits they gain from the communities in which they work."

For 15 years, the Scheme has helped shape construction into a more considerate industry, one that takes pride in its image and works positively towards its neighbours, its workforce and the environment. There is still much to be done, but with every site and company that registers with the Scheme, the industry continues to demonstrate its commitment to achieving even higher levels of consideration, becoming far more considerate than it was before.

If you like to find out more about registering a site and company with the Scheme, click here.

To learn more about industry mascot Ivor Goodsite, click here.