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Teamwork is always the key to construction success

Overall excellence depends on the whole project team pulling together to pool expertise and get the job done as efficiently as possible

Watching my son’s under-11 football matches over the last few weeks has been difficult viewing. It is fair say that, so far, his team has had a tough start to the season.

Perhaps it’s the move to nine-a-side. Perhaps it’s the bigger pitch and goals. Perhaps it’s the loss of a couple of key players. Whatever the reason, the performances to date have graphically underlined the value of teamwork when it comes to delivering results.

I say this because in pre-season tournaments they were actually looking good. Passing, moving, tackling, anticipating. Working as a team. Winning and sharing success. One month later it’s all very different. Relegation actually seems an attractive option.

Fortunately I’m not the manager so I don’t have an opinion (that matters) on what to do about it. But I reckon that the change in fortune is directly linked to a sudden loss of teamwork as individuals struggle to embrace the power that working with those around them can bring.

The good news, is that this can be put right. The bad news is that we may have a long, cold run-up to Christmas in which the team relearns its teamwork and finds form.

I mention this as the latest clutch of outstanding British Construction Industry Award winners is announced. These are always a brilliant reminder that successful infrastructure projects are always based on great teamwork.

Year in year out since the awards kicked off in 1988 we have seen great examples of design and construction excellence. And each year it has always been evident that, regardless of expertise in any specific discipline, overall project delivery excellence will always rely on every element of the whole project team pulling and working together.

This year is no exception. Read the case studies in this week’s special supplement and I challenge you to not feel a sense of pride in the achievements of your fellow professionals and colleagues from across the supply chain.
The standard has been driven up and up over the years as the demands and expectations of clients have increased and as the challenges facing the industry have changed.

It is clear that the skills required in the teams delivering modern infrastructure projects are also evolving, not least when it comes to the increasingly difficult but critical point of getting projects going.

As London First chief executive Jo Valentine points out this week, this is particularly important within clients. “If you spend your life talking policy then you are not the sort of person that should be building a house,” she says. “Moving from theory to outcome requires different skills.”

Like my son’s football team, the construction industry is brimming with diverse, individual talent and skills. Yet as the BCI Awards and Sunday football fixtures continue to demonstrate, an ability to bring this talent together as a winning team is the key to success.

  • Antony Oliver is NCE’s editor

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