Keller CEO Jim De Waele will be part of the subcontractor CEO panel at the CN Summit on 11-12 October.
CN asked Mr De Waele for his views on the major talking points ahead of his appearance.
To what extent will the market offer more favourable margins for subcontractors in the future?
The subcontracting community tends to be first out / last in in an economic cycle; picking the right strategy is key.
In the UK the subcontractors hold a lot of the knowledge and the capacity to execute the works, so if the volume is there, the margin will be too.
How do you think Brexit will impact your business?
Through lack of investor confidence to invest in projects, government incapacity and negative effects on exchange rate.
On a personal level, we are being seen as the ‘nasty island’ – will this affect whether Europeans will want to come and work in the UK?
If you could change one thing about the industry to improve efficiency, what would it be?
The delays. It is not unusual to see delays from downtime of 40 per cent – around two days per week! If only we could be better at planning.
What should the industry be doing to encourage the next generation to seek a career in construction?
More engineers need to learn how to run a business. A career in engineering should be seen as a potential route to CEO, not just technical director.
Which is your favourite Keller project from recent years?
Crossrail was fantastic, but the Victoria station upgrade was the ‘riskiest’ geotechnical project I have ever been involved with. We took a technique – jet grouting – to a different level during that job.
What will you be speaking about at this year’s Summit?
I’ll be looking at the future of the market and challenges ahead. We’ll be discussing the challenges of bureaucracy and paperwork, and the need for more focus on common sense, engineering and innovation.
I’ll also touch on how the contracting environment as a whole is fragmented – it always amazes our global construction peers when they come to work here.
CN Summit – hear more from subcontractors
Hear from Jim De Waele on Day 1 at 15.50 as part of our subcontractor panel.
Mr De Waele will speak alongside FK Group managing director Francis Keenan and Keltbray CEO Brendan Kerr.