To celebrate 180 years of the magazine, we have launched an ambitious, year-long project to find solutions to construction’s challenges – with your help

Today we are publishing our penultimate digital edition and print magazine of the year, and it is incredible to think that when we publish in January, Building will be celebrating its 180th year. Yes, you read that right: we have been going for 180 years, which makes us one of the longest-running business titles in the UK.


Back in 1843 we were known as The Builder, founded by architect Joseph Aloysius Hansom with the intention to be broad in coverage and appeal, winning a readership among all the professions, contractors and suppliers. If he were alive today, he would see that that is still at the heart of what we do at Building.

And so to celebrate this legacy we are launching the Building the Future Commission. This is an ambitious, year-long project looking at construction’s challenges – but crucially, we want to move beyond examining problems to putting forward solutions.

Amid all the doom and gloom we see in today’s economy and politics, our aim with the commission is to do something positive. With good reason, most publications have a tendency to focus on negative stories and, as a critical friend of the construction industry, Building tries to hold up a mirror to make sense of what is going on.

And to be frank, often what we find is that the industry can be its own worst enemy suffering from fragmented supply chains, low take-up of digital innovation and inadequate investment in R&D, which have all contributed to poor productivity levels for decades.

But we also feel a commitment to the industry we cover. We do not just want to pore over the problems it faces and sometimes inflicts on itself; we want to be part of the change that could transform its prospects and help the wider economy recover.

We do not just want to pore over the problems the industry faces and sometimes inflicts on itself; we want to be part of the change that could transform its prospects

Hence the commission, which has identified eight key areas to explore: skills and education; energy and net zero; housing and planning; infrastructure; building safety; project delivery; workplace culture and leadership; and creating communities.

We recognise, of course, that many of the answers exist already within the industry itself and are being discussed among individuals, companies and pan-industry bodies week in, week out. We do not intend to reinvent the wheel when so many experts – going back to Latham and Egan and beyond – have already put a lot of time and thought into what it takes to make construction thrive. And you just have to read about the finalists in this year’s Building Awards to know how innovative and successful many leading construction firms can be.

So instead we aim to tap into ground-breaking ideas, explore them and give them a platform so they can be amplified to an even wider audience. Our ultimate goal is to pull all of this content together and draw up a manifesto for change that will be put to government ministers by the end of 2023 – when minds will most likely be focused on the build-up to the next general election that has to be called no later than January 2025.

To help us do that we have created a panel of leading figures working in construction and the built environment, including Katy Dowding, executive vice-president at Skanska, Kay Hughes, HS2 design director, Lord Kerslake, Peabody chair and former head of the civil service, Mark Wild, former Crossrail CEO, and Richard Steer, chair of Gleeds (full panel details are here).

The commissioners will have a vital role in asking the questions that need answering and pointing our editorial team to interesting areas of enquiry. And we will be travelling to different parts of the country with a series of roundtable debates in partnership with the regional arms of industry body Constructing Excellence.

Before all of this kicks off in January, we wanted to share with you, on our website and via social media, a bit about what we are planning for the year ahead. We hope it sparks some thoughts among readers and that you can take an active part in the commission too. The proposals for change you send to the team could lead to coverage in Building via interviews, debates, case studies, project reviews, opinion pieces or be added to our ideas hub where we intend to highlight examples of best practice sent in by readers.

It is easy to feel overwhelmed and buffeted by the constant stream of negative news of recent years. The danger for all of us is that we fall into a short-term mindset, simply reacting to events when what is needed is to take a step back to find a longer view and a strategic way forward. We hope to do just that through the work of the commission, and in the process make a positive contribution to construction’s future in 2023.

Chloë McCulloch is the editor of Building

Get in touch with the Building the Future Commission


If you or your company or organisation want to get involved, do get in touch – just email: You can find more details about how the commission will work at and follow the commission’s progress on Twitter and LinkedIn using #BuildingtheFuture