The ubiquitous tub of Quality Street is finally empty and gyms up and down the country are full to bursting. It can only mean one thing: we’re ready to start the cycle of goal setting and looking ahead once more.

 

And there’s plenty to look forward to in 2017. The chancellor’s Autumn Statement in November promised cash injections for new homes in high demand areas and affordable living schemes. This will not only support growth in the residential sector but is also likely to kick start investment in commercial, retail and leisure schemes.

Meanwhile, investment in transport networks, traffic management, infrastructure and the English regions will also provide a catalyst for additional construction and development schemes.

 

If the construction sector were to make a New Year’ resolution, my suggestion would be to take a more collaborative approach to specification. With a joined up approach to specification, value engineering, buildability and quality assurance, the sector can address the challenges of maintaining high quality standards and achieving ambitious timescales while rationalising costs wherever possible.

The construction sector has proved that it can shake off its conservative reputation over recent years. New techniques, technologies and materials have helped us to create more functional and sustainable spaces; often within much shorter programmes. However, the pace of change in working cultures appears to be much slower.

 

Opportunities to integrate varied aspects of the specification from a single supplier are often missed for various reasons, perhaps because of familiarity with one or some of the company’s products but not the whole range.  This can mean missing out on vital opportunities to rationalise  points of contact, access technical specification advice, address buildability, compatibility and quality issues and manage costs.

Few companies have the breadth of different solutions that Sika provides so we are leading the way in pioneering this integrated approach. We’re working with architects across our broad portfolio of roofing, flooring, concrete, waterproofing, façade, sealing & bonding, hygiene coatings and steel & fire protection products to offer integrated solutions from basement to roof.

 

In a challenging marketplace, we not only need to find better ways of building projects, we also need to find more effective ways of working together to achieve the best results with the longest service life, lowest operational costs and most attractive capex price tag.

 

With continuing uncertainty affecting the sector as we approach the Prime Minister’s target date for triggering article 50, this year needs to be a year in which we all adapt and work smarter. A more collaborative and integrated approach to specification from basement to roof (and everything in between) is one way in which we can do that.