Building has asked a selection of winning people and firms from 2017’s Building Awards to predict the big opportunities, threats and surprises that we might expect to see in the coming 12 months.

Richard Steer, chairman, Gleeds Worldwide (Building personality of the year)

Opportunity knocks: The enhanced use of BIM technology and its increased application in the construction process will be a huge opportunity for an industry under serious pressure to increase productivity and reduce costs. There will be new sense of urgency and greater resources devoted to this issue and we need to respond with vigour and imagination

Danger lurks: There are several big threats. The ongoing impact of Brexit continuing to depress the market and drive much needed talent away from the UK. A weak government with a limited mandate fixated with a single issue agenda meaning action following announcements regarding Housing and Infrastructure spending gets delayed or shelved. But ignorance will be our biggest threat and those who we wish to be inspired to work in the built environment need to understand what makes this industry worth joining. This means an industry-agreed policy on training and skills development. If we can’t explain the industry’s virtues, no-one else will

Surprise surprise: The Grenfell Tower enquiry which has the potential to affect the way we all build in future. I do not necessarily feel that it will be a focus on people or even products. Seemingly, there has been a massive failure in process, and the remedial action that will need to be taken to future proof the manner in which we all work in the built environment could and should entail far reaching changes. Some of those recommendations could come as quite a shock

Follow over the Christmas break to read more predictions for 2018