How not to get into a fight with a brickie

Before I wrote this piece for Construction Manager, I struggled to picture a room of builders discussing their feelings and filling in personality tests. But a growing number of contracting firms are using exactly these methods to help staff win friends and influence people on site. I spoke to the owners of some of the muddiest boots in the business to find out whether you can really teach site management in a classroom, and compiled a handy quiz to help readers identify their own management style.

“You could say they are doomed to fail”

A journey into unknown territory … an impossible target … and an estates department determined to go down fighting … Alright, so it’s not exactly Andy McNab, but the challenge facing the Defence Infrastructure Organisation is still pretty dramatic. Over the next four years, the MoD’s new estates division must save £1.2bn from property disposals, direct estate costs, energy and water bills and staff numbers. This means it must cut an organisation with a headcount of more than 7,000 down to just 2,000 people, rationalise a property portfolio worth about £20bn, and reinvent itself from the ground up, with new business processes, IT infrastructure and operating procedures. I spoke to the heads of the DIO to find out how they’re going to do it – and the rest of the construction industry to assess their chances of success.