CPA Chief Executive Writes to Members

Dear CPA Members:
On 22 and 23 March, two conferences in London set out the future for the construction industry. This is a seminal moment. It’s been five years since the Grenfell Tower fire rocked the sector. Since then, hundreds of people across our industry have spent thousands of hours designing, developing and planning a new future. The aim is to recapture the confidence and respect that the industry lost on that fateful night.
These conferences make the point that we now move from planning to deployment. It is now up to industry to take on board what it needs to do. This will affect everyone no matter what part of the industry they are in. Of course, there will at first be a significant focus on high-risk buildings; however, I cannot emphasise this point strongly enough:  the changes in liability, responsibility, accountability and transparency are for everyone whether in manufacturing, design, procurement, construction or maintaining any structure across the built environment. While many in our industry are already on the right path, my concern is that many others have yet to understand what is required of them.

The building regulator and product regulator will be taking a different stance. They will say: “Demonstrate you are doing the right thing and that it is compliant, safe and ethical, or we will take action”. They will have surveillance ability and enforcement powers to support their position.
In response, the CPA has been leading the charge from the earliest moments, being members from the outset of the government’s Industry Response Group through to providing core input for the Dame Judith Hackitt review. From this point on, the focus has to be action; both reactive and proactive. Reactive to make sure the new regulatory environment is understood with everything it brings. Proactive to embrace change and ensure everyone in our organisations can play their part. Competence, evidence, clarity, openness and ethics are the watchwords.
There is a lot to do and take on board, but I am confident that ultimately all of this makes sense from a business perspective, not only for the improvement to your organisation’s competence, credibility and integrity but because there is every indication that clients and procurers ranging from government departments to housebuilders and major contractors will be expecting this from us.

One way to meet these expectations is to use the Code for Construction Product Information (for manufacturers) and where applicable the Building a Safer Future Charter (particularly for clients and contractors). By the end of 2023, I would like to see that most of our members are signed up to the Code and the Charter where that applies. In this way, we can show not only that the construction products sector is changing culture and practises but that we are ready to step up in every way to ensure buildings of the future are safe and our products perform as intended.
The conferences were a call to the industry to ensure everyone understands the challenges and the new world we are all now part of. I believe that every member of the CPA will want to be ready for this if they are not already.
Please let me know if we can help in any way. Our website has some excellent resources, including a toolkit to learn more about and prepare for the adoption of the Code.
We appreciate your support.
Peter Caplehorn (RIBA)
Chief Executive of the CPA