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Why is construction so backward? - reviewed by Colin Bartle-Tubbs

We are grateful to Colin Bartle-Tubbs, UK Operations Director, Deloitte, for his review of Why is construction so backward? If you wish to contribute your critical review please email Ian Abley. We welcome a discussion.

Why is construction so backward? James Woudhuysen, Ian Abley, Stefan Muthesius and Miles Glendinning

In simple terms Why is construction so backward? is a very compelling and provocative piece of work. It is a significant piece of research and thought leadership, which is essential reading for both the current and future members of the construction industry's professions.

The book reviews in detail both the technical artisan issues as well as the political arena, and how these have shaped the construction industry. The business case for change is demonstrated again and again but it's evident that with the desire for risk mitigation many professionals, particularly the Architect, is keen to abdicate as much responsibility as possible.

The challenges for the construction industry are clearly immense, and whilst there are clearly fantastic people, wonderful technologies and great designs, the key problems are that:

  • too many professionals don't truly understand the performance and capabilities of materials.

  • there are poor leadership and disparate teams

  • the industry has lost the passion for true craftsmanship and pride in one's work

  • the pressures for speed and making money have tarnished the industry, and the conclusion is inevitably a compromise because of the pressure to occupy

  • the dispute culture needs to change

Overall it's not about technology - it's about people and their attitudes.

Colin Bartle-Tubbs, UK Operations Director, Deloitte

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Sustaining Architecture in the Anti-Machine Age, edited by Ian Abley and James Woudhuysen

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