Goodbye and good luck from Doug Waters


Ex-CIRIA Member Council Chair Doug Waters, the outgoing Chairman of CIRIA’s member council, reflects on some of the success and challenges of his four year tenure.

After four years as Chair of CIRIA’s member council it is time for me to step down; I will be leaving Gatwick Airport in April next year. I have greatly enjoyed my time as Chair of Council and whilst I am sad to go, I am pleased to be handing over the role to Jonathan Simm of HR Wallingford, who is an ideal replacement having stepped in for me on a number of occasions.

Championing industry improvement
The last four years have been particularly challenging for the sector, with the construction industry budgets tighter than ever. Despite the challenges, CIRIA has continued to address common industry issues, deliver best practice guidance, training and events that have enabled member organisations such as mine to improve our business performance and encourage learning across our staff. It has been a great pleasure to work so closely with CIRIA in a uniquely collaborative spirit.

As I am sure many of you already know CIRIA introduced their new Member Brand and values, developed with Council and wider membership, as well as the Knowledge Hub and Member showcase last year, helping to support members in leading the industry in raising professional standards. If you haven’t already I encourage you all to visit and contribute to these pages.

CIRIA highlights
My highlights must include the BIG Biodiversity Awards, which have shown a fantastic response from the industry and continue to go from strength to strength each year - not forgetting that Gatwick Airport also won the Client Award category in 2016! Keep an eye out for details on the launch of the 2018 challenge which will take place in London on February 28.

Another one of my highlights is the National Infrastructure Client Leadership Group, which came out of a discussion between myself and Bill Healy before I took on the role of Chair. The group has grown and developed and some excellent projects have been commissioned including the work on resilience and response to flooding events.

It has also been really rewarding to see Council and the Executive Board working more closely together, with Council now having a more active role in shaping CIRIA’s work within industry.

The final word
CIRIA is a great organisation and remains one of the industry’s best kept secrets, which I will continue to help them try and change. As I have said on a number of occasions; CIRIA has access to a wealth of knowledge, experience and expertise through its varied membership and it plays a unique role in bringing together different disciplines and stakeholders, which has proven invaluable in helping to achieve improvement in performance across the sector. If there is one thing you take away from this article please let it be this; CIRIA’s value as an organisation that can work with you, as CIRIA members, to address the pertinent challenges you are facing. So, my final request to you is to engage, contribute and get involved in whatever way you can to ensure you are making the most of both your membership and CIRIA.

Whilst I am not sure where I will end up when I leave Gatwick in April I do hope that I will be able to continue my involvement with CIRIA and I will of course continue to raise its profile wherever I go.

Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to thank CIRIA for all their support during my time as chair and I wish Jonathan every success with the role and continued success and growth for CIRIA.

Good Luck! Doug Waters.