Welcome to this special supplement featuring some of the best of modern British concrete engineering. This is the fourth in what has developed into an annual series. We are delighted that three other industry sponsors - CONSTRUCT, BRE and the Reinforced Concrete council - have joined the British Cement Association to help make this the biggest one yet. Emap Construct tell us that this supplement gets the biggest reader response of all - good for the advertisers and sponsors and an indication of the keen interest in the concrete renaissance.
This year the supplement has a British focus, not because the industry is becoming insular, but because - at long last - it is beginning to think collectively on the big issues such as competitiveness, education, training, total quality, and innovation where the investment deficit remains high. The real world of Eganomics - giving the customer what they want to the right quality at the right time and at the right cost - must drive everything we do, but it is not frustrating when it is not always apparent who the real customer is, never mind what their needs are. The industry is still rightly criticised for being production-led and change does not come easy to us, but change we must.
The concrete industry will enjoy a good future if we all start out each day thinking that we must know more about our customers requirements by the end of that day, and then act on that knowledge.
This year we have made good progress in increasing collaboration. The BCA and the Concrete Society are working closer together than ever before to form a real movement for British concrete - and may get closer still. The Concrete Industry Alliance Council has been founded to tackle the common issues. We continue to support where we can the focused work of the dedicated product associations and sector groups.
The successful completion of phase one of the European Concrete Building Project, so well supported by the partners and contributors, has shown Britain and Europe that our complex industry can be effectively mobilised. I look forward to more real progress being made in the next year in building a stronger, larger and more profitable concrete industry.
Martin Clarke, director of marketing, British Cement Association