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

Signoff: David Taylor

IF ? as is quite likely ? you spend a large proportion of your waking hours immersed in one highly specialised branch of a large industry, the workings of other types of business quickly become a closed book to you. Your culture is the culture of your industry.

That's why you're useless with computers. It's no use denying it ? the Construction Products Association has just proved it.

The construction industry's inability to embrace e-commerce is down to the very culture of construction itself.

Th is at last explains why people in the pub give you a funny look when you're enthusing about this new machine that's just arrived in the site office that works like a telephone but sends documents instead of voices.

And of course at Construction News we share your culture, which is why we were still using typewriters and carbon paper years after Mr Murdoch smashed the print unions.

Now ConstructionSkills has decided to tackle this situation with an ingenious campaign. First of all, it's busy shaking off its fusty old Construction Industry Training Board image (and with it the old name) in order to adopt a fresh new image that will appeal to a young person's incomplete grasp of word spacings and the use of upper and lower case letters.

And now, ConstructionSkills is planning to zap off one of those text message thingies to all A-level students on the day they get their results.

The idea is that the students (none of whom will have given any thought as to the next stage in their career) will be seduced into logging on to the ConstructionSkills website and be fast-tracked into the construction industry.

The real st roke of gen ius is of course that the message is selfselecting: by definition, it will be received ? and understood ? only by those kids with the latest WiFi Bluetooth widescreen laser camera phones that f lip open and look really cool. Construction's culture of IT ignorance will soon be a thing of the past.

Unfortunately, a sneak preview of the proposed message conf irms my suspicion that the construction industry's traditional value of the ability to read and write English might also be on the way out. It says:

'Congratns on yr rslts! An xcitng creer awts u in const! U cn b a plmbr or brklyr or evn an engr if u gt gd grades & earn £££ . Jst lg onto our wbst & f llw the lnks to a brite futre on a bldlg ste or bhnd a dsk if u prfer, whtevr ; -) u cn stll gt a jb evn if u failed yr exms : -( Wre all v swtchd onto cmpt rs & stuff. Hw cool is tht?'

I CAN'T be the only person to be surprised that Adrian Chamberlain's departure from developer Lend Lease means the position of chairman of the industry's Strategic Forum is now up for grabs.

The Strategic Forum has said Mr Chamberlain is now most unlikely to take over as its chairman, as expected, early next year 'because he does not have a role in the industry'.

It might sound logical to you;

in fact it sounds logical to me. But there's a well-established tradition in quangos like the Strategic Forum, Constructing Excellence and so on of giving impor tant jobs to people with only a passing interest in construction.

Indeed, some people have been known to jack in an illustrious career at the top end of the industry simply in order to devote more time to telling everybody else how they should be doing their jobs.

I'm sure there's still a role for Mr Chamberlain if he were to make enough fuss.