New-homes confidence crisis | Lego-style building system | Can project managers be coaches?

The home of great construction stories. We go behind the headlines to meet the people who envision, create and manage the built world. Brought to you by the Chartered Institute of Building.

Got a topic you’d like us to cover? Email the podcast editor Rod Sweet [email protected]

In this episode:

New-homes confidence crisis [01:20]

In December, CIOB published results from a survey that showed an overwhelmingly negative public perception of new-build houses.

It asked 2,000 UK adults what they thought, and 55% of them believed that old houses are better than new ones.

32% described new-build housing as ‘poor-quality’.

There is a new set of standards called the New Homes Quality Code that is supposed to hold builders accountable, but signing up to it is voluntary.

CIOB recommends that government reviews this to consider making it mandatory.

CM deputy editor Cristina Lago spoke to the report’s author, the CIOB’s David Parry, to find out what this all means.

Get the CIOB report:  

Lego-style building system [09:51]

A 96-unit apartment complex built with Lego-style, snap-together blocks has opened its doors to residents in Palm Springs, Florida.

It was put up by a small crew of unskilled workers armed only with mallets and glue guns.

The blocks are made from recycled plastic and glass fibre. 

Glued together, they form a monolithic structure that is impervious to water, mould, and termites, and can withstand 250mph winds. 

The material is lighter and stronger than concrete, and making the blocks produces a tiny fraction of the emissions concrete does.

The company behind the system, Renco USA, spent 10 years in testing, research and development.

In October they raised $18m in their first funding round to build a US factory with a view to making the system available across the country.

Renco USA executive Patrick Murphy tells this month’s 21CC Podcast how they did it, and why they’re not like Katerra.

Can project managers be coaches? [19:21]

Dave Stitt FCIOB used to be hard as nails.

A civil engineer, he came into the industry as a teenager and rose through the ranks at big UK contractors Taylor Woodrow, Birse, and Wates, thinking he had to be the toughest, meanest, and bossiest person on site.

Then he reformatted his style after he found himself leading culture-change programmes at national construction firms.

Now, he coaches construction leadership teams on team-building and people skills, and is convinced that construction managers should stop giving orders on site.

Instead, they should coach.

But how do you do that, and won’t it lead to chaos? Hear Dave make his case.

Story for CM? Get in touch via email: [email protected]


  1. What is the point of all these new standards, when at the first sign of a problem, the developers liquidate the company and wash their hands of the problem?

    How many leaseholders have been left unable to sell their property, due to incorrectly fitted fire breaks to low rise blocks with no one to turm to for compensation?

    Directors of house building and development companies should take responsibility for their developments beyond the life of the company that built it, for build and design errors. They take the profit, they should also take the responsibility.

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