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Working together is just excellent.

Byline: By Dr David Greenwood

I didn't make it to the Academy Awards after all, nor to the BAFTAs, but last week I was delighted to attend the first Constructing Excellence in the North East Awards dinner at the Marriott Gosforth Park Hotel.

The event was professionally managed ( a credit to the organisers ( and well attended. As the awards were announced, I felt excited and not a little proud to reflect upon our university's past and continuing involvement with many of the schemes that achieved recognition.

With some of the projects, like North Tyneside Partnering Agreement, we have had involvement almost from its initiation, as facilitators and as researchers.

Since the turn of the millennium, there has been a change of focus in the construction industry, with a greater role for the client, more emphasis on performance and its measurement, learning from examples of achievement and improving relationships to benefit all parties.

There has especially been a change in approach by the Government, which in recent years has funded a series of improvement bodies to lead and facilitate change. They have included the Movement for Innovation, Construction Best Practice Programme and Construction Productivity Network. Now all of these have been brought together with the new organisation "Constructing Excellence", spelling out in its name what we expect and deliver as an industry.

So why are academics at Northumbria University involved in all of this? The main reason is that my colleagues in the School of the Built Environment have, in many cases, entered education because we are evangelists for better construction.

Many of us are ex-practitioners who want to help change the construction world. We teach and research construction issues and we act as consultants to industry, but we also want to learn from and respond to the industry as well.

A great example of this is our MSc in Project Management. As many people are aware, Sir Michael Latham, who acted as a catalyst for change in the industry, as our visiting professor, gave the School an immense amount of support in establishing the course.

We now have a mature course which has close links to the Constructing Excellence agenda.

We are on an exciting journey, moving towards an excellent construction industry.

Congratulations to all the nominees for the Constructing Excellence awards, to the winners, and thanks to all for letting us work with you.

For more information on Constructing Excellence in the North East contact regional director Catriona Lingwood on (0191) 383- 3182 or catriona@ constructingexcellence-ne.org.uk

Dr David Greenwood is associate dean in the School of the Built Environment at Northumbria University, and board member of Constructing Excellence in the North East.
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Mar 4, 2005
Words:445
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