Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to the newest version of your browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of Construction News, please enable cookies in your browser.

Welcome to the Construction News site. As we have relaunched, you will have to sign in once now and agree for us to use cookies, so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Construction News Developer Forum 2015: As it happened

Read through the day’s events from the Bloomsbury Hotel, London. Follow all the developments as they happened and the best quotes on the day.

17.25pm: As the last question is asked, it’s time to wrap up from Tom and all of us here at The Bloomsbury Hotel in London.

Don’t forget to search #CNDeveloper for all the latest tweets and chatter online. Thanks for reading/following - see you soon!

17.23pm: Lend Lease discuss how their regen vision convinced residents that they were acting in the area’s best interests and weren’t planning on “taking the area way” from them. You have to bring in local communities to ease the pressure of working.

Mr Smith of Argent claims that over 250 meetings have taken place in the last year, between relevant parties and local communities, to show that they’re responding to local interests.

17.18pm: Google’s intention of taking space at King’s Cross is brought up - Mr Smith claims it’s an interesting challenge.

“They were less confident in their identity in their physical environment,” he says, compared with their IT environment, that is. Mr Smith continues by saying they’ve been a good partner and that it hasn’t been a catastrophe.

17.16pm: “The Argent way of working has remained constant over that time [25 years of working together],” Mr Eyles says.

17.13pm: “Why stay with the same contractors for so long?” is a question directed at Argent project director Chris Smith -

“The relationships take a long time; lessons are passed down like father-to-son, mother-to-daughter; we behave and treat each other like family. It works because everyone has to come out as successes. This rattles all the way down the supply chain as well.”

17.11pm: “It’s a large carrot, and people want to be involved,” he continues, when asked about engagement with the supply chain.

17.10pm: “We have people from all over the world coming to the site to see how they can deliver similar solutions in their own cities,” Mr Mayes says of the Elephant & Castle work.

17.07pm: Final question time of the day:

17.06pm: “We have 5,000 new construction jobs to create at Elephant & Castle”

Round of applause as both teams finish off.

17.04pm: Lend Lease have their own in-house charity - they take long-term unemployed and give them an opportunity with the company itself or with a linked specialist. “Taking from a different pool; people who don’t believe they can find employment, and that it’s too difficult,” he says.

17.00pm: Head of construction for Elephant & Castle Tim Peach steps into the ring -

Engagement with suppliers and sub-suppliers is of massive importance here, with Mr Peach praising “integrity” and “honesty” of the company and those they work with.

16.58pm: Mr Mayes passes the torch to head of commercial operations at Elephant & Castle Andrew Chorley.

“We’re able to react quickly to market movement through intergrated supply chain,” he says, discussing the efficiency of the scheme and company.

16.55pm: Elephant is a place with the wrong perception, Mr Mayes claims. “Something grey and polluted is going to be Central London’s new green heart,” he says. He continues in detail about the energy efficiency of the scheme.

16.54pm: Mr Mayes highlights images of the current area, discussing what separates it from over regen schemes across London.

The vision for Elephant Park includes: 3,000 new homes, a 23-acre site, resi- and retail developments all to come. 45 per cent of the site area will be accessible to the public.

16.52pm: On to Elephant & Castle development now -

16.49pm: The other team kicks off - all three work for Lend Lease. Development director Ed Mayes starts Team Elephant & Castle off:

Mr Mayes speaks of a JV with the Malaysian government as well as Lend Lease’s role in building more skyscrapers in Manhattan than anyone else.

16.44pm: Mr Scarbrow is taking the room through each stage of the procurement and development process -

Working with Argent’s model, Mr Scarbrow cites the benefits Carillion have experienced and delivered in the last 25 years: no disputes, all projects delivered within budget.

16.41pm: Mr Eyles talks of early engagement with the supply chain, early commitment from contractors on how they deliver, an improved understanding and lower risk, forming strong relationships.

16.38pm: The King’s Cross team have brought a PowerPoint presentation along - fonts have been kept professional (for those wondering…)

16.36pm: We’re kicking off with the King’s Cross development. To clarify, two development teams (King’s Cross and Elephant & Castle) will discuss their two contrasting approaches to procurement and delivery.

On the King’s Cross side of the ring, we have:

Argent senior project director Chris Smith; Gardiner & Theobald partner jonathan Eyles; Carillion commercial manager Elliot Scarbrow

16.35pm: The next panel begins - a head to head - and there’s a flurry as six individuals take to the stage.

Names? Stay with me -

16.30pm: No mention of the EU referendum during this panel. No one brave enough to bring it up, it seems.

16.27pm: “Why not go to a tier one contractor and engage with them, and harness their experience of the supply chain?” Mr Tant says/asks of working with contractors and the supply chain.

16.25pm: “Not all clients are charming tier one contractors; although the smart ones probably are,” Mr Chandler says, in response to a question about clients’ relationship with tier two and tier three contractors.

16.15pm: “In terms of diversity, you can’t get away from the fact that we [as an industry] are just woeful,” Mr Tant says.

16.09pm: Next question: “I think the main contractors need to spend more time on R&D,” claims one member of the audience, sayingthe industry is waking up to much of the technology currently utilised in construction too late.

“We’re going to have to think very hard about how we attract milleniails; those we want to appoint in around five years’ time”

Mr Chandler talks about the lack of diversity at places, but claims it’s unfair to tarnish everyone with the same brush and that diversity is a “big deal” for Skanska. Discusses Skanska’s Swedish heritage and current equality schemes.

16.05pm: “Why are reputable names going under?”

“You have to look at the results - it’s a fact we all bought jobs too cheap in the middle of the recession,” Mr Bailey says. The supply chain is “fragile”, he continues, and that it’s being likened to an “oil tanker”.

16.02pm: Paul Chandler likens the amount of contractors that can deliver truly big projects in London to that of a 25-goal Premier League striker.

How many can you name? (Contractors and footballers, if you’d like)

15.56pm: This is turning out to be a fantastic panel - yours truly is fighting to keep up.

15.52pm: Mr Tant kicks off by saying: “One of the realities of life of working in London, is that people working on our sites show that they’re less than 50 per cent efficient; you get about four hours production from them in a full nine-hour day.”

He goes on to mention properly designed models and how it’ll allow further efficiency in the industry and better communication between contractors, clients and the supply chain.

“Procurement needs to be completely rethought; unless we get early engagement, we probably aren’t able to bid for that project in the residential sector. It simply won’t happen.”

15.50pm: On where the disconnect with a younger generation and the industry has come from, Mr Bailey talks about the push for higher education, university educations, and how it’s a “political mismatch” as we fail to celebrate “vocational training”.

15.48pm: “There are thousands out there who find it difficult to connect with anybody” - Mr Bailey talks about community help and seeking a younger generation.

“For me, there are lots of solutions out there,’ he says, but none help those who need to be on the site in the next two weeks. Talking to those in the supply chain is key in how a project is going to be delivered. “Without [the supply chain], we would not have these buildings.”

15.46pm: “Last month, we had three supply chain workshops; overriding concern is finding young source of work and keeping them there,” Mr Bailey says.

Mr Bailey tells a tale of how his nephew, who studied graphic design, came into Bam’s Leeds office and did a four-week placement in BIM design.

15.43pm: “We’re lucky in Skanska because we work across a number of different sectors and regions,” Mr Chandler says - he continues by warning against certain opportunities that may not be what they seem, despite there being a “lot of good opportunities out there”.

15.40pm: On the panel, we have:

Skanska executive vice president Paul Chandler; Bam Construct managing director of construction Richard Bailey; and Wates Group managing director of residential Mark Tant.

15.29pm: We’re on the home stretch now, with the final two panels popping up anytime now.

We’ll be starting with: How is the industry set to deliver the future pipeline of commercial and residential development?

15.02pm: Coffee and networking begins again.

14.52pm: The next questioner begins: “I’ll try not to be too controversial…” - a good start. The question itself continues along the path of taking risks. Engagement with the supply chain is highlighted as being key.

Some key quotes from the varied answer (to a varied question):

“Project bank accounts don’t work in terms of risk allocation” - “We should be engaging skillsets the main contractors have should be early in the process; it’s in a sector that is shy in paying for that.”

14.50pm: A question comes up on contractors taking risks, and to what ‘margin’ - chairmaster Tom turns to the panel and asks, brightly: “Who wants to answer that?”

Murmur of giggling. Anyway - we move on…

14.40pm: “If there is something unusual on a project, people will listen; people are open to new ideas” - Mr Harling speaks about the ever-changing market and attitudes towards this evolution.

14.36pm: We still have a lot more to get through today, but if you’d like to register your interest for CN Developer Forum 2016, you’ll be able to find instructions and all the other information from 2015’s event here

14.31pm: Burges Salmon construction partner Marcus Harling shares the stage: “Too often, we talk about what a developer needs from its contractor; we need to look beyond that [to the supply chain].”

14.26pm: Battersea Power Station Development Company project director Scott Grant is first up: “When we started [in 2012], we were faced by an extremely hungry market.”

14.25pm: Miss Gough is replaced by the next panel: Where will procurement strategies lead us in an increasingly competitive market?

14:23pm: Question from CN’s Robyn Wilson on office-to-resi-conversion and its implementation across the capital:

“We still need to understand the election’s impact fully; there will be a residential need but we have a strong need for office-based too”

14.21pm: “We’re only scratching the service in terms of smartphones, tablets and the like,” claims a member of the audience on reliance on technology -

“There are many ways technology has changed how people work; technology allows people to be flexible and how they engage; you don’t need to travel for business in the way you, perhaps, used to:

14.20pm: Another EU mention as London’s increasing population projections comes to the forefront -

14.19pm: Miss Gough comes to the end of her presentation.

14.15pm: “We need to facilitate collaboration and creativity; we need technology.” Miss Gough urges productivity.

14.13pm: Miss Gough is listing a number of locations in the city where development is very much a viable area - now we have an animation, a video of London - a nifty little highlight of which areas are currently being developed and where the future of the city lies.

Silvertown, Stratford, Greenwich Peninsula, Elephant & Castle, Battersea and Waterloo are all highlighted among others

14.11pm: We don’t have enough stock for the forecast future developments, Miss Gough claims - it’s time to look beyond the City, and occupiers can “pull into Central London, or pull out of Central London”.

Those that push out will move to “emerging London”, and will need to be “creative” in where they look to locate.

14.10pm: An increase of 11 per cent in office employment over the next five years - the first stat-attack of Miss Gough’s presentation.

14.08pm: Next up is Jones Lang LaSalle lead director of buildings and construction Helen Gough

14.06pm: Claps sound. Another panel down. Some great stuff in the last one.

14.02pm: “Do you think London will get to the point where it’s too big?”

“I think the Green belt will probably prevent that,” Miss Gilmore answers. A sigh of relief?

13.59pm: Miss Gilmore rounds off with some stats and we’re onto our first Tom Fitzpatrick-chaired Q&A -

13.56pm: The EU referendum comes up - not for the first time, nor the last - as a key theme for the residential sector in London and around the rest of the country.

13.49pm: The impact of Crossrail is now being discussed with must gusto, as reduced journey times across London are heralded.

Using some well-coloured residential maps, the impact of Crossrail is being shown as an incentive for someone living farther out of London seeking a job closer to the centre of the city.

Some infographics based on what factors respondents would keep in mind when choosing a new house are presented.

13.40pm: “London and New York are streets ahead; they remain the first choice for global investors.”

Start spreading the news…

13:37pm: London spotlight session is a-go, as Knight Frank head of UK residential research Grainne Gilmore steps up.

13.35pm: Construction News deputy editor Tom Fitzpatrick is in charge of this afternoon’s opening remarks.

“We’ve learnt Yorkshire’s bigger than Norway” - who knew…

13:30pm: Everyone’s well-fed and watered; we’re about ready to go again.

12.31pm: With that, and a room of growling stomachs, the panel comes to a close and the room disperses for lunch.

We’ll be back in just under an hour.

12.30pm: Mr Venner talks of the importance of partnership, understanding the supply chain and using experience to ensure everyone on the team is making money and acting efficiently, indicating a particular value of certainty in the industry.

12.27pm: “The construction model isn’t the most sensible model; companies take a lot of risk for small margins,” Mr Williams says, as a member of the audience brings up rising costs.

12.24pm: On Crossrail and the development in London: “The big problem with Crossrail 1 was how long it took to build it; for me, just get on with it,” Mr Williams says.

“For Crossrail 2, we’re talking four or five years to get through government - ridiculous”

12.21pm: The promise of lunch beckons - before that, we’ll have a Q&A.

12.20pm: “Our procurement strategies have had to evolve with the market and we’ll have to look at evolving again,” Mr Clifton claims.

12.13pm: “Our strategy is about confidence in London; we’ll continue to invest there,” Mr Penfold says, discussing the growth in London when pressed about future tactics and decisions.

Three of this panel were interviewed as part of CN’s Developer Spotlight Series:

Find Paul Williams here; Tom Venner here; Adrian Penfold here; alternatively, all three can be found here.

12.08pm: “How concerned is the panel about the EU referendum and the effect it may have upon corporate decision-making?”

“We’ve got through one uncertainty in the election - I think Mr Cameron will do a deal with Miss Merkel” - not a great deal of worry about the EU referendum on the panel.

11.57am: Last up is British Land head of planning Adrian Penfold.

“We aren’t just investing in London; we’re investing in Sheffield”

11.54am: A warm round of applause, and next up is Helical Bar senior development executive Pavios Clifton.

“Our development programme is very much Central London-focused.”

11.53am: “The challenge is knowing when to invest,” Mr Venner says.

11.52am: “We believe in London,” Mr Venner says, claiming London will always be the first port of call to foreign investors. “Most of [Land Securities’] money is going into Victoria at the moment.”

11.50am: Next is Land Securities development director Tom Venner.

11.42am: We’re beginning with Derwent London executive director Paul Williams, who gives an overview of Derwent and some of their current projects and future schemes (including work at Paddington, a future growth area according to Mr Williams).

“We’re all about creating interesting space” - an apt way to sum Derwent London up.

11.41am: No rest for the wicked - we’re straight onto the next panel: How will developers be driving construction opportunities over the next five years?

11.40am: We’re at the end of our regional panel now.

11.37am: On the topic of foreign investment in Sheffield, Mr Green says there are two types of investment being seen in the city. “Increasingly Middle East and China,” as opposed to the traditional US investment.

11.35am: Mr Edwards talks about the future development of Oxford and how companies will “form an orderly queue” to become part of the Oxford regional market.

11.29am: We open to the floor…

11.21am: “It’s about connecting the UK into a much more coherent economic space; I think HS2 can benefit everyone” - Mr Bridges argues that the high speed rail project should be seen as an economic growth project as well as an infrastructure scheme.

11.13am: On the topic of local authorities working together and challenges faced, Mr Bridges says: “I think we’re working together in productive ways: inward investment; teaming up with Sheffield - to the global investor, it doesn’t really differentiate between Leeds and Sheffield.”

“It’s about trust and history, those sets of behaviours; it’s something that Manchester has done really succesfully”

11.08am: “With greater power comes greater responsibility,” Mr Bridges says, sending pop-culture aficionados crazy.

11:05am: Mr Bridges brings up devolution as well, believing it to be a major factor in driving growth within the city, discussing the lengthy process of applying for small schemes by going through the Secretary of State first.

“We’re looking again at the prospect of a directly elected mayor”, Mr Bridges says. George Osborne has made it clear that cities need elected mayors to get the necessary devolved power.

10:58am: Last up is Tom Bridges - he mentions the 30,000 jobs lost in Leeds during the recession. The city is now bouncing back, with the council being “extremely proactive to kickstart development and growth”, referring to largest retail scheme in Europe in 2013 being the city’s Trinity scheme).

10:53am: Oxford City Council best-performing council in terms of awards in 2014, with Mr Edwards citing a bright future, further developments (with building works started on 850 new homes just last week).

“We’re an innovative city”, he claims, indicating a new design panel with international architects that will aid the city’s independence.

10:51am: David Edwards steps up.

10:49am: Mr Green urges the importance of devolution - allaying fears that ‘devolution’ is some form of “Scottish call to arms”, somewhat tongue-in-cheek.

10:43am: “Five minutes to address the Northern Powerhouse” - and we all bid you good luck. Simon Green is first up.

10:42: Right - here we go again.

“We’re seeing some hugely exciting projects outside the capital”

10:26am: Coming up, we have a discussion the rise of the powerhouse cities and assessment of infrastructure ambitions of major cities alongside the devolution agenda/election impact.

The panel will be chaired by Sheffield City Council executive director of place Simon Green, Oxford City Council executive director of city regen and housing David Edward, and Leeds City Council chief economic development officer Tom Bridges

Be sure to follow the conversation on Twitter, using the hashtag #CNDeveloper

10:12am: The panel receive a warm round of applause - and with that, we’re one panel down, and so begins the first coffee break.

10:07am: High Speed 2 will bring more benefits to London than other regions, Mr Knapp says, with many finding it easier to commute down to the capital in the future.

10:05am: “Everybody is really excited about the Netherlands now,” Mr Knapp says, claiming London isn’t competing with just Manchester and over cities over the UK, but major developments all over the world.

10:02am: The panel take a question on PRS: “definitely a shift” in the long-term for the sector to begin competing in the London market, Mr Jessup says.

Student housing is linked favourably with the private rented sector.

10:00am: “I think London has a very bright future,” Mr Jessup says, when queried about how much longer London can remain a hotspot in the market.

9:57am: Question time!

9:51am: “One of the reasons people shy away from investing in London and the UK is that it can’t show the returns we can get in other markets,” Mr Knapp says.

9:45am: Next up is Hines managing director Alex Knapp.

9:43am: Discussing foreign market investors, Mr Jessup claims there are a lot more Asian investors entering the market.

“If you go back two or three years, London was the hotspot,” he claims - it’s now beginning to “flow out of London”, all over the country, with Mr Jessup citing a move away from the “comfort blanket” of the capital.

9:40am: First panel discussion of the day kicks off with First Base director Barry Jessup. First Base is a private developer and Mr Jessup begins with a few examples of properties the company is developing in and around London, including major project Silvertown in the Royal Docks.

9:38am: A question on MP Boris Johnson, and whether his new role will take away his focus from the London housing market. Not a simple question, not a simple answer.

9:35am: We’re onto the Q&A: on the topic of the EU referendum, Mr Buckley is asked about the threat of leaving the EU. “It’ll take a much longer period of time to see what it means for the UK,” he replies, claiming no one can predict what it would be like, citing examples of non-EU nations Switzerland and Norway.

9:27am: Mr Buckley begins to conclude the first presentation of the day by looking at three other economies that will directly affect the UK market: focusing on the US, Europe, and China.

9:23am: “I don’t think things are going to change drastically from what the coalition budget said” - Mr Buckley discusses the levels of austerity we may, or may not see at the next budget annoucement. He also claims consumer spending will be the main driver of GDP in the next few years, rather than government spending.

9:18am: With post-election chatter still dominating industry headlines, our first speaker is no different, delving into various election-related analytic slides for our early morning guests. “Appetite for change in the political system is quite low,” Mr Buckley claims.

9:13am: Mr Buckley kicks off with the well-documented image of the post-electoral map of the UK resembling Maggie Simpson. A few chuckles, and we’re onto some graphs

9:10am: …and we’re off. Construction News consulting editor Denise Chevin kicks us off with an overview of the day ahead and introduces the first speaker, Deutsche Bank UK chief economist George Buckley.

8:20am: Light refreshments and reception

7:45am: VIP breakfast is taking place right now, chaired by Asda Stores construction model & specification manager Peter Clark and senior manager construction model & lifecycle Brian Churchyard.

The focus of the early talk is to address the growing importance of implementing BIM into private sector developments.

7:30am: …it’s an early start for many of us here at Construction News as we get set to kick-start the inaugural Developer Forum, with speakers from across the industry addressing the key issues the industry faces and exploring the large pipeline of residential and commercial developments.

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.