We all aspire to achieve mark-ups of more than 9%, to deliver on time 98% of the time and to win more than one in four tenders, but to do these things we have to have the right skills.
Managing Profitable Construction, the recent Construction Industry Training Board report, highlights the importance of getting the right balance between management and construction skills. It claims, rather boldly, that the companies with the right mix make more money, complete more projects on time and have more satisfied clients. The report draws the conclusion that today’s skills will not make tomorrow’s profits, so companies must develop skills for the future.
Training is the key to doing this, and it should be directed at the weakest areas of your company. For instance, if your mark-ups are below 9%, you need training in estimating and procurement; if your clients are unhappy, you may need help with communications skills. Of course, everyone needs IT skills.
What skills will be needed in the future?
Clients tell us that they want reliable contractors that use progressive construction techniques to give on-time, snag-free buildings.
Companies with the right skills make more money, complete more projects on time and have more satisfied clients
The construction manager of the future needs to work with different types of suppliers and understand procurement and quality management systems that are more akin to the automotive sector than traditional construction companies. In larger companies, the opportunities are global and the construction manager is likely to need knowledge of foreign languages.
In IT, the skills change is greatest. At the basic end, the majority of staff will increasingly use word processing, spreadsheets and planning software. More advanced packages for electronic communication, the Internet and CAD will migrate out of the professional’s office and on to the site.
Both internal and external communications will need to improve if customers, employees and suppliers are to be successfully managed. This will require changes in a range of skills, from bidding, negotiation, project and site management, and planning and team building.
Construction professionals are likely to need a broader range of skills with less demarcation.
How can I get these skills?
The report draws the conclusion that today’s skills will not make tomorrow’s profits
You need to find the best training provider. Here, you need help. Some of the skills required for the future cannot be found on conventional construction courses. Also, there is an overwhelming number of courses available, even within the construction sector. Every company is different, and you will need to choose the one that suits you best, but three schemes you might want to consider are:
- The Building Industry Technical Training Scheme (www.citb.co.uk)
- The Chartered Institute of Building’s Professional Development Programme (www.ciob.org.uk)
- The Organisation for Professionals in Construction (www.topic.org.uk)
The report, commissioned by the CITB and compiled by Moores Rowland Management Solutions, is available for £25 from CITB Publications on 01485-577800 and at www.citb.co.uk.