Thursday, 25 November 2010

Teamwork Skills in the Construction Industry

The Company actively supports the annual Teambuild Competition (now in its ninteenth year) which took place over the weekend on 19-21 November. The competition continues to attract the brightest young professionals from some of the best construction practices around the UK and Ireland. It is an exhilarating, fast-paced, challenging and exhaustive test of skills, leadership and collaboration.

Teambuild 2010 challenged teams to plan, design and deliver a world-leading research, leisure and education development. Based on a real project, teams were set a series of taxing scenarios at all stages of the construction process, watched and scored by eminent Judges from across the construction industry.

Among the teams that made it through to the hotly-contested finals the outright winners (collecting a prize donated by the Constructors' Company), impressing with their commitment, teamwork and good humour, their clear strategy and skilled problem-solving, were Synergy, a group from Wates’ Luton office and Morgan Sindall in Stratford-upon Avon.

Team members were Dave Bucknell (CIOB), Peter Capron (RIBA), James Clayton (RICS), Lauren Harris (CIOB, RICS), Katrina Taylor (CIOB) and Kate Wyatt (CIOB, RICS).

The Winners of the Judges Prize, awarded for their thoroughly professional attitude, teamworking, and preparation throughout the weekend, were Spatial Engineering Solutions, a team from AECOM.

The Procurement Strategy Prize (sponsored by the Company) was awarded to BEmore, a mixed team with members from Expedition, Balfour Beatty, BDSP Partnership, Edward Cullinan Architects, and Treasury Holdings. 

The prize of £1,200 was presented by Deputy Master Ian Head pictured here with the winning team.

The selected teams were given a brief based on a real site (NIRAH, an astounding proposal for a site in Bedfordshire) presenting a masterplan on the opening evening. Several quickfire challenges spread over an intense weekend took them right through the design process, finishing with the construction stage. They even had the chance to fine tune their site and equipment management skills with appopriate visual aids ( see below)

Ronnie Murning, Project Director of Nirah and an Assistant on the WCCA Court, attended the competition as a judge and commented on the very high standard of team working and innovation he saw.

Friday, 12 November 2010

The Baton Passes

The City of London's new Lord Mayor formally took over the reins of City government at a dignified ceremony this afternoon in Guildhall. The Ceremony of the Admission of the Lord Mayor - known as The Silent Ceremony - is held annually on the afternoon before the Lord Mayor's Show. 

A full house witnessed a civic procession into Guildhall prior to Alderman Michael Bear making and subscribing the historic Declaration of Office. This was the only part of the ceremony in which anything was said. There followed the transfer of the Sceptre, the Seal of Office and the Purse to the new Lord Mayor by the City Chamberlain. The Sword Bearer and Common Serjeant-at-Arms then presented (via the outgoing Lord Mayor) the Sword, the Mace and Collar of SS and Badge.

All these symbols of the Lord Mayor's authority over the various facets of City life are then handed back to resiode on their respective velvet cushions. There are various other presentations, signings and suitable reverences before the new Lord Mayor was welcomed by the Aldermen, Recorder, Sheriffs, the Chief Commoner, and members of the Lord Mayor and Sheriffs' Committee. Formalities are concluded with a further procession with the new Lord Mayor wearing his splendid hat while his predecessor carried his hat under his arm.

Sound confusing? It makes more sense if you are there with a helpful set of guidance notes. All Liverymen are entitled to attend this ceremony subject to thier having applied for a much coveted ticket in good time. Mark the date in your diary and ask the Clerk to apply for a ticket on your behalf next year.

Sightlines in Guildhall being what they are, it would have been helpful to have had the odd screen around so that the event could be seen on closed circuit TV.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Visit to Spencer House - The Master's Reception

Those who joined the recent visit by as large a group of members and guests as could be accommodated for an early evening visit to the 1756-66 Spencer House were treated to a magnificent spectacle. Ten years of painstaking work had restored the full splendour of the original designs.

The house, billed variously as 'London's finest surviving eighteenth century town house' and 'a magnificent private palace' owes much to the original architect - the Palladian exponent John Vardy (1718-65) who was a colleague and the chronicler of the work of William Kent and Inigio Jones. He was also responsible for the the ground floor rooms including the particularly spectacular Palm Room. Sadly he was displaced by James 'Athenian' Stuart whose new found passion for classical Greece culminated in rather more overblown decoration exemplified by the Painted Room on the first floor. While Vardy's designs seemed to derive from the Palladian pattern books and were, as a result, splendily flamboyant, Stuart's seemed simply imitative. It was a shame that they had to share the same house.

Henry Holland also had a go - his interventions being most obvious in the way in which some of the Ground floor rooms interconnected to make the house more 'user friendly' for later Earl Spencers. 

All in all, the visit was a memorable one and the Master is to be congratulated on making it the focus of his Reception. 

The visit was followed by a most agreeable couple of hours in a nearby wine bar where a buffet supper and the odd glass of wine oiled the wheels of conversation.