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Why the built environment industries are better together


His new role as deputy president of the Construction Industry Council can strengthen links between planning and the other built environment professions, explains Tony Crook

I was recently elected deputy chairman of the Construction Industry Council (CIC) and will become its chair in June 2018. CIC is the representative forum for all the built environment professions. Membership covers 42 professional institutes; CIC thus provides a single voice for 500,000 individual professionals and more than 25,000 firms of construction consultants. 

I’m the first chartered planner in this role and I believe I can bring our profession’s knowledge, skills and experience to bear on the key issues facing all built environment professions, such as infrastructure investment, education and training, standards and regulation.

As planners, we look at issues in a cross-cutting and systemic way, both spatially and temporally. We examine how individual projects fit in best alongside others, looking at the impact they have on each other and over time. A key task is to ensure that planning policies and development management help ensure our built and natural environment nurtures competitive economies, socially cohesive communities and sustainable outcomes.

"As planners, we look at issues in a cross-cutting and systemic way"

That is not to say that our colleagues in the other built environment professions ignore these issues; while each profession has its specific roles and responsibilities in designing constructing and managing the built environment, there is much that we can do together. 

This is where the voice of CIC can add to the individual voices of the professional bodies. By working collectively on these ‘cross-cutting’ issues, CIC can help ensure that our built environment is environmentally sustainable, inclusive, accessible. Above all, it must be safe, something that the Grenfell Tower tragedy reminds us.

I look forward to working with colleagues across our professions. The work being done to prepare CIC’s evidence to the judicial inquiry on Grenfell Tower shows how vital the linkages between our professions are and also that by ensuring we take a more systemic view of the environment we can do our best to ensure no such tragedies are repeated.

I grew up in the contracting and housebuilding industry. The family business was founded in 1843 and built houses in North Kensington and Buckinghamshire. I didn’t follow my chartered surveyor father into the business but became a chartered planner, cutting my professional teeth in the GLC while also spending time as a Shelter volunteer campaigning for housing rights in North Kensington. Housing and building has been part of my life ever since, including when I moved to the University of Sheffield, where I was encouraged to play a role as a chair, trustee and non executive director of many national housing and regeneration organisations.

Prof Tony Crook CBE FRTPI is professor emeritus of town and regional planning at the University of Sheffield and a trustee of the RTPI

Photo | iStock


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