• 25 Sep 2019 4:19 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    On a sunny evening on the 18th September,  Oxford Constructing Excellence Club members undertook an informative site visit to the £82million redevelopment of the shopping area in West Way, Botley.

    This development is being undertaken by Mace and is being constructed by SDC.  Its mixed use design is already making a significant impression to the West Oxford skyline.

    The buildings incorporate a new 123 bed hotel, 277 student residential units, a community building, private sale apartments and a significant amount of retail space and car parking.

    An introductory presentation was made by SDC before the group was spit into two parties to undertake a site tour.

    This is a busy compact site but all of the attendees commented on its organised, tidy appearance, which isn’t easy to achieve when you have close residential and retail neighbours with 350 operatives going back and forth to their working areas.

    We look forward to a repeat visit next year, when it will be nearing completion.

  • 10 Jul 2019 2:24 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Not everyone knows about Bicester Heritage – it’s a gem of a place sitting quietly on the outskirts of Bicester and was the location for our amazing 2019 Summer Event!


    On Thursday 4th July 2019 our members and their guests met at the Bicester Heritage site. The weather was amazing, topping 27 degrees and everyone was geared up for the most memorable afternoon

    Bicester Heritage is essentially a business campus dedicated to historic motoring, based at the UK’s best-preserved WW2 RAF bomber station, the former RAF Bicester. Over four years it has been rejuvenated and is a unique architectural survivor, restoring the RAF’s Technical Site for modern purpose and creating not just a destination, but a thriving hub of industry geared to supporting the wider motoring community and especially those with vintage vehicles

    After reception drinks in the Club Room and Roof Terrace, we were very fortunate to have the fabulous Mike Lousada as our Tour Guide for the afternoon. Mike provided an insight into how this site was brought back to life. Mike talked about the refurbished and restored red brick buildings, hangars, tree-lined avenues and airfield that provide an authentic period setting for specialists, vehicle owners, enthusiasts and visitors to meet, share their passions and immerse themselves in a classic age. We were fortunate to be able to go inside some of the workshops to see and breathe the vintage cars (along with a peek at some beautiful Porches’ and AC Cobras for sale!)

    We heard about how the site is used as a film set and was most recently seen in The Imitation Game.  In fact, Mike himself is often seen in films and TV programmes such as Willy Wonka and Peaky Blinders, driving vintage vehicles

    After our superb tour, we all headed back to 123 Station Armoury Building for some great networking and a fabulous meal with Three Bean Chilli & Thai Chicken on the menu, topped off by a mouth-watering lemon tart and scrumptious brownies!  Both the Club room and the Roof Terrace proved a fantastic back-drop to our evening meal and drinks...

    ... and if this wasn’t enough, just as we were all leaving we were treated to an acrobatic display by a Tiger Moth … all in a day’s life at Bicester Heritage and one we won’t forget in a hurry!

  • 9 Mar 2019 2:00 PM | Anonymous

    Constructing Excellence’s young professional body, Generation for Change, met on the evening of Thursday 7th March 2019 at the St Aldates Tavern for their annual pub quiz. Mixed teams of attendees put together from our varied range of participating organisations took on five rounds of questions with a sixth picture round. The decision to mix up attendees has become an annual tradition and helps transform the evening from an office social to an opportunity to connect and interact with new people.

    It was a delight to welcome several new faces as we continue to extend our reach across the local construction industry. Individuals from a few organisations took the offer to trial the event free of charge and we hope we made a significantly lasting impression to encourage a few new individual or corporate members.

    Our next event is scheduled for Thursday 4th April 2019 at Oxford Brookes’ Headington campus. The evening will be a great opportunity to speak with ambitious firms who will be showcasing the latest technological advancements in the industry.

    Further details available: 

  • 2 Jan 2019 8:14 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    A packed theatre at St. Antony’s College Oxford listened as David Evans, Legal Director at Blake Morgan LLP, welcomed the delegates and gave a brief introduction to the day.

    The keynote address by Councillor Barry Wood, Chair of the Corridor Councils’ Leaders Group was titled ‘What does Government want the private sector to do?’

    This was followed by a full programme including Bridget Rosewell OBE of the National Infrastructure Commission with a talk entitled ‘One year on: Maintaining momentum for the Growth Arc’. The arc, we discovered was the new name for the corridor.

    Wendy Wilson of the House of Commons Library was next to speak on ‘New Build Housing: construction defects – issues and solutions. David Bainbridge a Partner and Head of Planning at Bidwells was next at the podium to talk about ‘Planning challenges – how do we make the planning system work for the private sector?

    A panel discussion of the above speakers and including Iona Foster and Kieran Perkins of 5th Studio (5th Studio were appointed by the National Infrastructure Commission to make recommendations on the built environment of the Oxford-Milton Keynes-Cambridge Corridor) fielded questions from the audience.

    Lunch was served in the college dining room and then the afternoon chaired By Richard Wade, Partner and Head of Construction at Blake Morgan LLP, began with three presentations on Connectivity. The first by Matt Stafford, Divisional Director of Highways England, responsible for the Oxford to Cambridge Expressway was followed by Rob Brighouse, Chair of the East West Rail Company, presenting the rail perspective and finally Adrian Wooster, Head of Network Strategy at Gigaclear speaking about that all-important role of broadband connectivity.

    Martin Tugwell gave a presentation on ‘Implementation – regional or national policies?’ Martin as Programme Director at England Economic Heartland was well placed to review this.

    The final afternoon session began with Emily Williams, Associate Director at Savills with a talk on ‘The Letwin Review – how can industry develop new strategies to respond to the housing challenge?’ This was followed by three leaders of Local Enterprise Partnerships giving their own perspective on the same subject ‘Industrial Strategy and connectivity and homes’. A lively panel discussion involving these speakers along with Adrian Wooster to provide his expertise on connectivity then took place before the conference broke for networking and pre-dinner drinks.

    Those staying for dinner enjoyed a three course dining experience in the 1950’s styled College dining room.  The three clubs supporting this conference were

    •  Constructing Excellence Oxford Club,
    •  Cambridge Oxford Corridor Constructing Excellence Club,
    •  London Constructing Excellence Club.
  • 19 Dec 2018 5:30 PM | Anonymous

    Our December 2018 social at Junkyard Golf was our fourth event in successive months. With a full calendar scheduled for the first half of 2019 we look forward to maintaining the club’s momentum, increasing levels of attendance to our events, and providing an inclusive, supportive, and welcoming group of young people who share the same city and industry.



    Generation for Change is a subsidiary of the Constructing Excellence networking group. The dedicated committee meet monthly to put together a programme of events for young professionals working in the construction industry. The club is targeted at individuals with less than 10 years’ worth of industry experience. We actively encourage students to participate and have strong connections with Oxford Brookes University. Attendees come from a wide range of consultancies which include, but are not limited to: architects, contractors, environmental consultants, solicitors, structural engineers, surveyors, and transport planners. 

    Thirty-eight young professionals attended our latest social networking event on the Thursday 6th December 2018. The venue, Junkyard Golf Club, is located in the newly developed Westgate Shopping Centre, boasting three indoor miniature golf courses and five cocktail bars. The concept originated in Manchester and is growing in popularity with four exiting locations and plans for future expansion. This latest offering to the Oxford leisure scene is certainly unique yet provided the perfect setting to encourage collaboration and bring people together. The construction industry is social by nature, and the ability to succeed is dependent on an individual’s capability to create strong business relationships, build a good supply chain and base of contacts, and work comfortably in mixed project teams.

    We understand that networking as a concept is extremely daunting during in the early stages of your career. Our events actively cater for this by allowing you to begin establishing relationships in a comfortable environment. The committee agreed that Junkyard Golf provided a great setting for a networking event, putting together groups of people from different firms and centering conversation on an activity – removing the requirement to approach people and initiate introductions in a room full of unfamiliar faces. Our annual pub quiz scheduled for March 2019 will follow a similar format, encouraging attendees to meet new people in mixed teams. 

    Our future pipeline of events include a site visit to an internal refurbishment project at Keble College, an exhibition showcasing the latest technology in the construction industry, and a summer social. Event announcements are made on our website as part of the wider Constructing Excellence annual calendar. If you are interested in becoming a member, attending an event, or being included on our mailing list, please contact me:

    Jack Strickland is a member of the Generation for Change committee, working towards his APC in Building Surveying at Faithful+Gould - a multi-disciplinary, international construction consultancy forming part of the SNC-Lavalin Group.

  • 29 Nov 2018 10:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    A large and attentive audience attended the “Green Roofs in Practice and Gardens in the Sky” CPD Seminar presented by Nick Day of Optigreen and Chris Bridgman of Bridgman & Bridgman LLP on 14th November 2018.

    Nick opened the session by introducing the Company Optigreen with 40 years’ experience of working on Green Roofs in Germany and in the UK since 2004.

    He then covered ‘extensive’ green roofs, ‘intensive’ green roofs and touched on ‘blue roofs’ which is the topic of another training session. Nick did however point out that both Green Roofs and Blue Roofs have an important role to play in water management especially on new developments.

    The audience heard that Green Roofs can have environmental and ecological benefits including:-

    • Filtering out particulates
    • Improving the micro-climate
    • Absorbing CO2
    • Enhancing PV panel performance
    • Replacing lost habitat
    • Attracting new wildlife
    • BREEAM points

    Chris Bridgman a specialist Green Roof installer emphasized the importance of using a professional company because of the loading that plants and substrate add to the roof. It is not a cheap option as a recent road closure in London cost £5k per day whilst materials were craned up to the roof level.

    Chris also noted that although Sedums are low maintenance they are not a maintenance free option. Two visits a year usually suffice for the basic green roof and attention must be paid to removing any woody weeds that develop such as Buddleja.

    Nick Day can be contacted at Optigreen on 0203 589 9400 and Chris Bridgman at Bridgman and Bridgman on 01908 579080.



  • 4 Oct 2018 5:04 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Around 20 Constructing Excellence members and guests had a lovely visit to the Bothy Vineyard near Abingdon.  Our host for the afternoon was Sian Liwicki, who along with husband Richard, runs the vineyard.

    The vineyard produces a variety of white and red wines, including an award winning white wine The Doctors Bacchus. 

    We had a tour around the vineyard and fabulous temporary sculpture exhibition of 250 sculptures spread out around the grounds.  Sian explained the type of grapes that they grow and each step of the wine making process.  They even bottle their own wine on site, so the entire process is a real family affair and a great example of a small local business. 


    After the tour, we were treated to wine tasting of a mix of 5 red and white wines followed by an opportunity to network with fellow attendees.  The Vineyard shop was open for business and did a roaring trade after the wine tasting!


    For more information on the Vineyard, check out their website



  • 3 Aug 2018 10:28 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    As we enter our short summer break (we don't have any events in August), I've taken the opportunity to look back over our ever popular networking breakfasts.  Held at Bill's in Oxford every month these are a perennial favourite with our members.

    The format has been unchanged for a while and allows people to attend just for networking purposes.  Bill's put on copious amounts of tea and coffee, together with a selection of breakfast rolls.

    Average attendance at these events is 45 people, so since the beginning of 2018 we have managed to consume over 300 breakfasts and easily 600 cups of tea and coffee! 

    People have exchanged details, talked about new ventures, caught up with old and new friends and generally put the world to right! 

    We look forward to seeing you all again in September when our season starts again.






  • 16 Apr 2018 4:35 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Beecroft building in Parks Road, is Oxford Universities new £40 million Experimental Physics facility and on the cusp of its completion 25 members and guests of the Constructing Excellence Club enjoyed a site tour of this very impressive new facility.

    The tour was hosted by Nick Lawrence of Hoare Lee and David Sharpe, the Universities Experimental Physics Facility Manager and they eloquently explained the forms of experiments and areas of work which would be undertaken in the building, although for some of us it was taking our understanding of Physics to a more challenging level!

    The extensive below ground laboratories provide vibration free and temperature controlled working areas and sit alongside 'clean' room environments, whilst above ground quiet study and theorising rooms surround breakout areas, where free exchange of views are encouraged. 

    With all of these facilities being  together on one site now places Oxford University at the forefront of undertaking experimental physics.

    What is impressive is the design and  quality of the building and the environment both inside and out that this structure provides, including its low carbon impact via the use of combined heat and power units and ground source heat pumps, so without a doubt this is a significant asset to  Oxford and its University.


  • 27 Mar 2018 8:42 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Constructing Excellence & CIOB members were treated to a talk by Mark Farmer this evening at the Said Business School in Oxford.  Mark penned the Farmer Review: Modernise or Die, which focuses on the failings and challenges that the construction labour market is facing.

    The Farmer Review identified 10 critical failings, which include dysfunctional training funding and delivery models and a chronic lack of investment in research and development in innovation.

    Over the next 10 years, the UK could see a 25 per cent decline in available workforce, such a decrease would render the industry incapable of delivering infrastructure and housing.

    The report says that a tipping point is likely to be reached in the next five to 10 years, when the industry’s symptoms will worsen and its decline will become irreversible.

    The major recommendation to resolve this? Industry, government and clients should work together to improve supply chain relationships and increase investment in standardisation of building components and off/on-site manufacturing.

    The talk was very well received by 60 delegates who took the opportunity to enter into a stimulating Q&A period at the end of the meeting. 




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