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“How do we want to be remembered by the next generation?”   

The Transforming Infrastructure Performance (TIP) Live conference, which took place on Wednesday 19 April at the Vox in Birmingham, successfully brought together leaders from across government and industry, who discussed how we can accelerate change through prioritising the TIP principles. Ultimately, this means a step change in the way we plan, design, manufacture, construct and operate infrastructure. 

It was brilliant to see so many people in attendance, with key leaders from across the construction industry coming together with the shared objective of driving transformation. The following blog shares our reflections and the key insights gathered from three TIP Live speakers. 

It’s time to make a change 

TIP Live kicked off with opening remarks from Nick Smallwood, Chief Executive Officer at the IPA. Nick emphasised the importance of the TIP programme and implementing its principles, saying that “this is a call to arms - it is so important”. TIP is the IPA’s flagship change programme in the way we deliver infrastructure. Whether that is considering net zero in all infrastructure build, using modern methods of construction or embracing digital. 

Nick announced that the IPA’s ambition is to fast-track TIP into mainstream project delivery, sharing that we are proudly and necessarily accelerating its implementation, with the plan “to get to a point in 2025 where everything we do has TIP embedded into it as business as usual (BAU)”.

Panel: implementing TIP against a challenging economic backdrop
Picture: Mark Hansford (Director of Engineering Knowledge, Institution of Civil Engineers), Mark Reynolds (Chair, Construction Leadership Council and Group Chair, Mace), Nick Smallwood (Chief Executive, Infrastructure & Projects Authority), Professor Anusha Shah (Senior Director Resilient Cities, Arcadis and Senior Vice President, ICE), Mark Thurston (Chair, Infrastructure Client Group and Chief Executive, HS2)
Credit: Vicki Sharp

Dr Jo Jolly, IPA Deputy Director for Project Futures, conducted a session on Environmental Transformation that focused on how to embed outcomes for people and the planet in our wider decision-making.

Jo highlighted the need “to connect, operate and collaborate differently” in order to achieve the best outcomes for the environment and meet our ambition of TIP BAU 2025. She stated that “the climate emergency is a systemic problem, and it requires a systemic solution”, expressing the power project delivery professionals hold in making a profound difference. 

Drawing her session to a close, she inspired the audience to choose to make a difference, as embedding environmental transformation centrally in infrastructure plans is the key to leveraging better outcomes. Jo added that “we can make a massive, massive difference - I know we can”. 

Talk on Environmental Transformation by speaker Dr Jo Jolly (Head of Project Futures, Infrastructure and Projects Authority)

Delivering better outcomes for future generations 

The conference was full of collaborative, innovative and progressive thoughts. Many experts shared their insights - among them was Sirish Parekh, Head of Benchmarking and Data at the IPA. Sirish took part in a fireside chat on improving productivity. He started by introducing the IPA’s new Benchmarking Hub for government departments and public bodies, saying that it will be ‘open and organic, eventually getting to a place of greater granularity so we can drive project outcomes’. 

The Benchmarking Hub is a cloud based platform that facilitates data sharing across government, it aims to achieve better project outcomes with a primary focus on project data, that can be used to develop effective benchmarks. Sirish highlighted the value of the TIP principles and the central role they play in the art of benchmarking, explaining that “with the TIP principles, you can understand the ‘why?’ around costs and estimating”. To hear more about the power of benchmarking, read an interview with Sirish here

Sirish’s powerful words concluded the TIP Live event by encouraging attendees to be collaborative, positive, and forward thinking to achieve better infrastructure outcomes for society. He affirmed, “we’re playing an infinite game - it’s about all of us - and if we kick the ball just a little bit further, we may not score, but we’ll be in a better place”. 

Panel: Improving productivity fireside chat Picture: Ed McCann (Senior Director Expedition Engineering; Immediate Past President, Institution of Civil Engineers), Dr Janet Young (Director General, Institution of Civil Engineers), Sirish Parekh (Head of Estimating Performance, Benchmarking and Data, IPA) Credit: Vicki Sharp

Messages of overwhelming ambition and motivation ran throughout the day. One message, which resonated with many and resurfaced in following talks, were the wise words of Hiro Aso, Transit Hubs Sector Lead, Jacobs. He captured the sentiment of the day perfectly by calling on pioneering engineers who are celebrated for their profound impact on our built environment. He said, “Brunel and Telford were remembered for iconic structures, but the next generation is going to remember us for how we gave back to nature”. 

Opportunities such as TIP Live are the perfect setting to drive the pioneering step change that our construction industry needs. As we move forwards, we must integrate the lessons shared at TIP Live into our jobs, projects and programmes, where we can motivate real world impact and make future generations proud. 

The IPA is already in discussion about the next TIP Live in Autumn 2023. We look forward to seeing many of you there, and hope that you enjoyed the event as much as we did. 

If you would like to get in touch in the meantime, you can contact the IPA Project Futures Team at

Read more about the IPA here. 

Read the Transforming Infrastructure Performance: Roadmap to 2030 here.

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