Let’s be bold

By - , Build 160

As Aristotle said, ‘the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.’ It’s a concept new IPENZ President Craig Price embraces as IPENZ evolves to meet the challenges of a changing construction industry and calls others to also take a more integrated approach.

CONSTRUCTION is sitting at a crossroads. We have an opportunity, indeed a responsibility, to take a new, more integrated approach that steps outside historical norms.

Our industry is changing radically in a short space of time, becoming more complex and offering more opportunities. Common stereotypes are out of touch with our reality of tertiary qualifications, technical knowledge and increasing diversity. You know what today’s construction site looks like, but does the average person on the street?

Solutions in working together

One reason the stereotypes persist is that we get stuck in our silos. Instead of seeing the whole picture and how it interrelates, we focus on our own particular component. It’s important for the future of construction that all of us in the industry take more of a systems view.

For me, this means taking off my ‘engineering’ hat and working towards better connections between all facets of the industry. It means taking a holistic approach and having integrated teams across all aspects of the design and construction process.

Some of the challenges we’re facing, including quality standards, technology, recruitment and diversity, are shared by every part of our industry – and taking a systems view can offer new solutions. It’s not easy to take off your traditional blinkers, but it’s the best way to see possibilities and potential. For example, new demand for seismic resilience, especially in buildings post-earthquake, is something we experience together but can seek to solve separately. What could we achieve if we took a more expansive view?

Changes to deliver what members want

To make any kind of mindset change, the key is bringing people along with you. This is something in my role at IPENZ that I’m understanding the importance of, with our adoption of a new strategy that focuses on delivering what members want.

Greater credibility, better recognition, stronger connections and more influence are the key pillars of this strategy, which is driving huge amounts of change for IPENZ.

Later this year, we’ll roll out a revamped, stronger membership pathway that provides a home for a broader range of engineering professionals. From October, all our members will commit annually to ongoing professional development and our Code of Ethical Conduct. To reflect the magnitude of the changes we’re making, our name will change to Engineering New Zealand.

Getting buy-in from all

When people encounter change, typically their first instinct is critical scrutiny. To do things in a new way, you need to not only deliver the change but be effective at explaining the why.

For the construction industry to take a more integrated approach, we all need to buy in. We need to focus on the efficiencies, the time and cost benefits and the opportunities for better outcomes. It’s easy to have conversations about what’s not working, but it’s harder to gain consensus around solutions.

Young people are key. We need to tap into their perspective and energy and use this fresh thinking to position ourselves to respond to the challenges of the future rather than looking backwards. A booming industry presents these opportunities to do things differently if enough of us can lift our heads above current busyness and demand. Let’s be bold.

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