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Industry-wide discussion needed to tackle CSR impact

McBains Cooper director Mark Leeson has called for all involved in the design and construction industry to discuss how to deal with the effects of the Comprehensive Spending Review

“There is natural symbiosis between architecture and structural engineering. But what of the other disciplines and strands that make up the now well recognised ‘supply chain’?” asks Mr Leeson.

“If we start with mechanical and electrical engineer (building services), the relationship between form and function has always been a difficult one. There are as always, some exceptions - Pompidou, the Lloyds Building to name two.

“Here the collaboration between architect, structural and services engineers resulted in some of the most iconic and provocative buildings since the turn of the century. So, given the now critical input of the services engineer, why do we not see more Pompidous?”

He praised the Value Handbook for offering “excellent advice” to public sector clients, but asks “where is the equivalent advice for the private sector?”.

“What about contractors? This is less clear. Great strides have been made following Latham and Egan in raising awareness of the importance of collaborative working within the contracting arena; however, there is still mistrust of consultants.”

Mr Leeson states that the relationships between the professions remains disjointed, with Construction Excellence the only cross-industry body striving to bring them together.

There should be more effort to combine the best of both “art and science”, says Mr Leeson, combining creativity with practicality.

“Bringing art and science together is really about communicating - and any advantage we can gain in the aftermath of the CSR is an advantage worth having.

“A well-designed and perfectly executed project is always as a result of excellent communication between project team members.

“The architect is able to explain his ideas in a way that allows the engineering disciplines to complement, support and frame the design, the surveyor understands the inherent value that the design is creating and can explain this (with the architect) to the client, and the contractor knows how to build it, and buys in to the concept and wants to deliver the design to the best of their ability.

“An industry in harmony. So let’s start talking,” Mr Leeson concludes.