Mark Wild talks about the emergence of net zero as a key issue for construction, his love of the Elizabeth Line and the need to tackle the ‘boom and bust’ nature of construction


Building magazine is 180 years old this year. What lessons about the built environment should we take from the past? 

I think the key lesson from the past are how important the built environment is to a healthy, safe and accessible society. 

Who or what has had the most positive impact on construction in the past couple of decades?

 The acknowledgment and building in of net zero sustainability throughout the construction industry has been brilliant to see.

What does the construction industry do well and why?

For me the construction industry just has the most brilliant committed and hard working people, so important of our economy overall

What does construction industry do badly and why?

We clearly have significant and looming skills gaps, despite efforts in recent years to make the industry more diverse and increase the pipeline of skilled people coming in to the sector, there remains much to do.

Mark Wild

Mark Wild, chief executive of SGN and former chief executive of Crossrail

What’s the biggest change you’ve seen during your career in construction? 

The focus on net zero being a core mainstream issue.

What do you think will have changed by the time Building celebrates its 200th  anniversary?

I would hope we would have made significant inroads to creating the modern workforce of the future, comprising of all the talents.

If there is one thing individuals and firms could do to improve construction and the built environment what would it be?

Strive towards net zero in all that we do.

>>See also: Full Building the Future Commission line-up unveiled

>>See also: Click here for more about the project and the commissioners

What is the best thing government can do to support the industry?

Ensure a solid long term pipeline of programmes, to stop the boom bust nature of the sector, this is essential to encourage the development of skills and a culture of productivity gains through learning 

What do you hope the Building the Future Commission can achieve? And what role can you play?

I would hope that the commission can be strategic and provide thought leadership beyond the near term political cycle

What is your favourite building/piece of infrastructure and why?

The Elizabeth Line of course! A true landmark engineering programme, decades in the making and now it seems like it has always been there.

Tell us one thing you are passionate about outside of work

I am a keen cyclist  

Mark Wild, chief executive, SGN

Building the Future Commission 


The Building the Future Commission is a year-long project, launched to mark Building’s 180th  anniversary, to assess potential solutions and radical new ways of thinking to improve the built environment.

The major project’s work will be guided by a panel of 19 major figures who have signed up to help guide the commission’s work culminatuing  culminate in a report published at the end of the year.

The final line-up of commissioners includes figures from the world of contracting, housing development, architecture, policy-making, skills, design, place-making, infrastructure, consultancy and legal.

The commissioners include Lord Kerslake, former head of the civil service, Katy Dowding, executive vice president at Skanska, Richard Steer, chair of Gleeds, Lara Oyedele, president of the Chartered Institute of Housing, Mark Wild, former boss of Crossrail and chief executive of SGN and Simon Tolson, senior partner at Fenwick Elliott. See the full list here.

The project is looking at proposals for change in eight areas:

  • Skills and education
  • Energy and net zero
  • Housing and planning
  • Infrastructure
  • Building safety
  • Project delivery and digital
  • Workplace culture and leadership
  • Creating communities

>> Editor’s view: And now for something completely positive - our Building the Future Commission

>> Click here for more about the project and the commissioners

Building the Future will also undertake a countrywide tour of roundtable discussions with experts around the regions as part of a consultation programme in partnership with the regional arms of industry body Constructing Excellence. It will also set up a young person’s advisory panel.

We will also be setting up an ideas hub and we want to hear your views.

>> Email  to get in touch