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McAlpine's chance to move the industry on

Tom Fitzpatrick

Sir Robert McAlpine will be 150 years old next year, but the famously media-shy family continues to shun the limelight.

It’s a shame a company that has built so much of the UK’s iconic infrastructure continues to keep the barriers up, but I was pleased to be given an insight into the firm’s plans by its CEO this week.

The company works on astonishing infrastructure. If it is so invested in attracting younger people and employees from all backgrounds, it needs to be talking more about the remarkable work it is carrying out.

Paul Hamer makes the point that it wants everyone to be a part of the “McAlpine family”, regardless of background, faith or sexuality.

To that end, it was good to see the company take part in Pride at the weekend alongside so many construction firms (and CN), and Mr Hamer acknowledges that it has to “work every day” to put blacklisting in the past by making sure “everything we do as an industry is ethical and transparent”.

I told Mr Hamer that McAlpine is doing the industry a disservice by not talking more about the technical side of its work.

Its projects have the wow factor to inspire a new generation. Bloomberg’s HQ, Battersea Power Station, towers in Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester: McAlpine touches the fabric of modern society at every turn. To walk past Big Ben covered in scaffolding and see tourists gazing up in wonder shows the power of infrastructure.

McAlpine is recruiting data analysts, building a ‘PRS bible’ to woo investors and embracing technology. Having a non-family CEO who is confident, unsaddled by the firm’s history but ambitious about modernising the business, gives McAlpine a chance to be a leader in this industry.

Mr Hamer says McAlpine is Britain’s best builder but it wants to be the industry’s best collaborator.

What better way to make that happen, than by offering the wider public and this industry the chance to learn more about its work?

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