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Why I’m supporting the Construction News Specialist Awards

CITB’s Kevin Fear explains the unique judging process and what he looks for in an entry.

It’s my fifth consecutive year of judging the Construction News Specialist Awardsand this time I’m part of the judging panel for the Training Excellence category, which will be awarded at the Hilton Hotel on London’s Park Lane on the 18 March.

As the Health and Safety Strategy Lead for CITB, much of my work has been focused around the changes to the CDM regulations, with CITB taking a central role in the production of the guidance.

For the category I am judging, within a range of criteria, I immediately look closely for outstanding H&S performance and something more than what any company should have already been doing as part of legislation. For example what aspect of the training provided has resulted in a reduction in H&S risks and was this innovative or exciting?

Having given scores online for each entry, these are compared with what the other judges have produced independently, to provide a shortlist. In February I am invited to CN’s offices in London where I meet the other judges, always highly qualified and senior construction people.

Here, finalist companies each give a presentation and are then cross-questioned about their submission. This is a really enjoyable experience and it is great to see how the submissions come to life through the presenters’ energy, enthusiasm and passion.

There are always surprises - something that did not look too impressive on paper can really shine when presented face to face. We finish the day with a review of scores and the debate and negotiations can start as each judge sets out why they think a particular entry should be awarded the prize.

Often they are all so good they should all win, and in a way that is the point of the award - but there does have to be a winner!

What delights me the most about the experience is to see first-hand the huge efforts and commitment to training and up-skilling the workforce for the future needs of the industry.

Which brings me back to my involvement with the new CDM regulations as we are all working on a range of initiatives which are all driven by the same cause; a devotion to improve the construction industry even further.

Judging these awards gives me the rare opportunity to see what is being done to contribute to this; and that’s what makes them so special to me.

Kevin Fear is head of health, safety and environment at CITB

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