Constructive Voices

Peter Finn, Henry McDonald, Steve Randall, Jackie De Burca

The Constructive Voices Podcast is all about inspiring change within the construction industry. Television builder, Peter Finn, is our man on the ground who injects his decades of construction experience with his unique sense of humour into the topics he covers. Then we have the gritty, investigative journalist, Henry McDonald, who spent over 25 years writing for The Guardian Newspaper in the UK. These days he does podcasts for us and the Sunday Times and is a freelance journalist for a number of top publications. Behind the scenes, we have Jackie De Burca, who is a creative director, author, media consultant, podcast creator and presenter. We focus on finding great stories within the construction industry about organisations and people who are doing something constructive. Topics include but are not limited to inclusivity, mental and physical health, investigating organisations that are ahead of the pack when it comes to sustainability, collaboration and team building, and initiatives that do social good. We also have our eyes and ears alert for cutting edge technologies and new updates on the industry’s economy and outlook. read less
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Episodes

Tony Sheridan on Building a Greener Future with the Revolutionary Cemfree Cement
Feb 20 2024
Tony Sheridan on Building a Greener Future with the Revolutionary Cemfree Cement
Welcome to Constructive Voices. In Episode 1 of Season Three, we explore the urgent shift within the construction industry towards more sustainable practices, particularly in the face of the UK government’s net-zero targets.  The construction industry is seeking environmentally friendly alternatives to traditional cement due to its significant carbon footprint, with the UK government setting net zero targets for the sector. A promising innovation in this field is Cemfree by DB Group, a binder made from waste material through alkali activation, offering an 85% reduction in carbon emissions compared to conventional cement. Jackie De Burca investigates Cemfree with Tony Sheridan.   About Tony Sheridan Tony Sheridan is Group Commercial Manager at DB Group (DBG), the pioneering leaders behind Cemfree, an alternative to traditional cement that offers the construction industry unprecedented savings of up to 85% in carbon emissions. Tony has over 20 years of construction industry experience and has spent the majority of that in management roles within the ready-mix concrete industry. He has remained dedicated to furthering his own knowledge of the industry as well as others, with a degree in civil engineering before completing a further MBA in 2010. Tony remains committed to influencing the industry to work towards a more sustainable future, and through his leadership of the commercial function of all divisions at DBG, he is championing sustainable practices every day in the role.
Yaron Dycian of WINT: AI to the Rescue: Harnessing Smart Water Management to Fight Climate Change
Dec 6 2023
Yaron Dycian of WINT: AI to the Rescue: Harnessing Smart Water Management to Fight Climate Change
This episode features Yaron Dycian, co-founder of WINT, who discusses the integration of AI in water management to combat water scarcity and climate change. WINT employs AI algorithms to monitor water flow patterns in buildings, identifying anomalies that indicate leaks or damage, which can result in substantial water savings and reduced carbon footprints. The system is designed to alert staff to these issues promptly, which is crucial given that about 25% of water in buildings is wasted, contributing to significant carbon emissions and financial losses, such as the $100,000 annual waste at the Empire State Building. Dycian highlights that water damage is now the leading cause of insurance claims, surpassing fire damage, prompting initiatives like the UK’s Joint Code of Practice to enforce Water Leak Mitigation Systems. WINT not only helps in achieving sustainability by reducing water waste and carbon emissions but also offers financial benefits by saving money for its customers. The technology, adaptable to various environments, including construction sites, uses AI to predict potential leaks, although it does not ensure a 100% success rate. The podcast also discusses the cost-effectiveness of implementing WINT, with initial prices ranging from hundreds to thousands of pounds and ongoing fees in the tens per month per system. WINT has a presence in multiple countries and is effective in preventing leaks on construction sites, despite the inherent limitations of AI technologies, which can sometimes produce inaccurate results or “hallucinations.” Overall, WINT is posited as an essential and increasingly standard component in building design, likened to elevators and sprinkler systems, for creating water-sustainable buildings. The adoption of WINT across various projects exemplifies its utility in real-world applications, and the conversation underscores the potential of AI in revolutionising water management in the construction and building management industries.
Struggling with Emotional, Physical or Financial Wellbeing? This Episode is for You
Oct 23 2023
Struggling with Emotional, Physical or Financial Wellbeing? This Episode is for You
Tune in to this podcast episode that could be life-changing for you, someone you love, or friends at work or on the next site you go to.  Jackie De Burca talks to Bill Hill, chief executive of the Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity. The charity has been in existence since 1956 and has evolved immensely over the decades. The Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity and its extensive network are doing phenomenal work through a variety of channels and initiatives. This episode investigates their work and how it has resulted in 125 active rescues to date. Active rescues refer to people who were considering suicide and through the charity’s support did not take that route, after all. Bill speaks in depth about #MakeItVisible which is a support tool and portal created by the charity with their partners. #MakeItVisible is a free workforce wellbeing and welfare portal for all in construction The Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity has partnered with CITB and Samaritans to create a wellbeing support tool as part of the industry-wide initiative called Make It Visible. The Make It Visible campaign and portal aim to make welfare and wellbeing support visible on every construction site, helping to reduce the stigma around the subject and increase awareness of the support pathways available. Having secured over £400,000 in funding from CITB, the #MakeItVisible portal was created earlier this year to support the initiative. The portal provides a wide range of resources, covering themes of emotional, physical, and financial wellbeing. It aims to help individuals recognise when they’re struggling and how to cope with the challenges they’re facing. For each area, there is an extensive list of organisations that can provide further in-depth advice and support. Research shows that stress, depression, or anxiety account for 27% of all work-related illnesses in construction. Tragically, the charity also reveals that two construction workers in the UK take their own lives each day. The charity’s mission is to ensure that no construction worker or their family feels alone in a crisis and that they get the support they need before it’s too late. The Make It Visible campaign also has a taskforce of people who are dedicated to visiting construction companies, builders’ merchants, hire centres, and sites across the UK and Ireland to get the conversation started and raise awareness of the free resources. The team has spoken to almost 30,000 people and visited almost 500 sites since the on site tours started in February last year.
Schedule Compression, Technology & More With David Hernandez & Pete The Builder
Sep 25 2023
Schedule Compression, Technology & More With David Hernandez & Pete The Builder
This episode features a really interesting conversation between two construction industry experts. Irish builder and TV star, Peter Finn, talks to David Hernandez, Managing Director of Elecosoft LLC.  Although David is based in America, he also talks to Pete The Builder about how the industry is doing there right now, Elecosoft’s history can actually be traced back to 1895 in Essex, England.   ..”So you have performance and predictive analytics. To me that is the piece that I think could be really transformative for the industry.” David Hernandez, Managing Director, Elecosoft, LLC David Hernandez is the Head of US/Managing Director for Elecosoft, LLC, a provider of Innovative Planning and Scheduling solutions for the construction industry. For over 15 years, David has been involved in virtually all aspects of the commercial construction industry. From Business Development to running his own business, he brings diversified experience to his role at Elecosoft. Previously, he was head of sales at eMOD by BuildSafely LLC, where he helped construction companies digitalize their safety processes, safety plans and inspections, ensuring that crews would come home safely at the end of their shift. He began his construction technology career at Trimble Viewpoint, shortly after leaving his partnership in a commercial construction company in Houston, TX. David understands the pain created by tremendous company growth without proper processes and poor technology in place. Removing that pain is what drives him today, and that is what ultimately brought him to Elecosoft. Based in Austin, Texas, the company provides solutions that are built by construction for construction that revolutionize the way projects are planned, tracked, and delivered. In the world of project management, efficiency, accuracy, and collaboration are paramount to success. At Elecosoft, David is instrumental in delivering one of the premier technology tools to the construction industry. In doing so, he is helping customer companies to achieve these goals.
Focus on Female Engineers with Océane Mbaguta
Sep 18 2023
Focus on Female Engineers with Océane Mbaguta
Constructive Voices, has been inspired by a former guest to create something new and exciting. Thanks to Emma Nicholson, we are collaborating to bring you a number of episodes that Focus on Females in the built environment. So far these have been extremely well received. In the third Focus on Females episode features , Emma Nicholson speaks to Océane Mbaguta, a recent Environmental Engineering graduate. Océane’s interview will be a great inspiration to younger women but for sure, her immense passion and motivation will trigger something in all listeners.   What we talk about In this interview, Océane shares her motivation to study engineering, the challenges she has encountered and her future aspirations as a young female engineer in the sustainability and built environment sectors. In the area of diversity and inclusion she’s hoping to see BAME and people with disability have more opportunities in the engineering sector. She ends with an inspiring quote for young females – “We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained.”~Marie Curie. About Océane Mbaguta Océane Mbaguta is a recent Environmental Engineer Graduate. She graduated from The University of Nottingham with a Masters Degree (MEng) in environmental engineering including an industrial year. She has also received the Nottingham Advantage Award, recognition given to students who have achieved extra-curricular modules. She completed her placement year with an international energy company, where she worked as an Environmental Consultant. She’s excited to soon start her graduate scheme with a multinational infrastructure consulting firm. Océane’s passion to study engineering, came from her desire to develop solutions to tackle climate change. She aspires to become an environmental manager. Océane is a committee member of the WES EDI Special Interest Group. Outside of WES, she is a graduate member of ICheme and IEMA. She’s also a STEM ambassador and she enjoys volunteering. She held several positions at University such as Vice-President of The Sustainability Society and Treasurer for Women’s Engineering Society. Océane enjoys working in teams and has experience in project management, team work, organization and planning. About Emma Nicholson Emma is an award-winning Chartered Construction Manager and Chartered Environmentalist and has been a previous Board Trustee with the Women’s Engineering Society.
Focus on Female Engineers with Jo Parker
Sep 11 2023
Focus on Female Engineers with Jo Parker
In the second Focus on Females episode features , Emma Nicholson speaks to a trailblazing female engineer, Jo Parker. Jo Parker is a chartered civil engineer who was awarded an MBE by the Queen, in 1994, for her services to the water industry. What we talk about Jo has had a fascinating career. She was originally inspired to be a civil engineer when she was only around 14 years of age. It was the idea of being able to build dams and bridges that did this. And you can only begin to imagine where she has done this and under what circumstances. Jo has had a remarkable career so this interview is one not to miss. The interview also delves into the challenges women currently face as engineers in the built environment. Jo also discusses biodiversity and sustainability with us.  About Jo Parker Jo Parker is a chartered civil engineer, who works as an independent consultant having worked in the water industry for over 40 years. She has held senior roles with UK water companies up to Director level and has also worked in a variety of other countries as varied as Afghanistan and Australia. She was awarded the MBE by the Queen in 1994 for services to the water industry and is an Honorary Life Member of the Pipeline Industries Guild.  She is also Chair of the Water and Sanitation Community Advisory Board for the Institution of Civil Engineers, Vice-President Engineering of the Institute of Water and a fellow of the International Water Association. She was voted one of the UK’s top 50 women engineers in 2020
Focus on Female Engineers with Kat Draper
Sep 4 2023
Focus on Female Engineers with Kat Draper
Once again, Constructive Voices, has been inspired by a former guest to create something new and exciting. Thanks to Emma Nicholson, we are collaborating to bring you a number of episodes that Focus on Females in the built environment. This very first Focus on Females episode features Emma Nicholson interviewing Kat Draper. Kat is a Chartered Civil Engineer and has been working in the construction industry for more than 15 years.   What we talk about We cover why Kat chose engineering as a career in the first place, what motivates her and what special skills she feels are important to being an engineer. Emma asks her about some of the most interesting engineering projects she has been involved in. We talk about some work she has done that really helped a community. The interview also delves into the challenges women currently face as engineers in the built environment. Kat also discussing biodiversity and sustainability with us.  About Kat Draper Kat is a Chartered Civil Engineer and has been working in the construction industry for more than 15 years. She completed a Master’s degree (MEng) in Civil Engineering at the University of Southampton and has completed the APM Project Fundamentals Qualification. Kat first became Incorporated (IEng) before later becoming Chartered (CEng). Her latest roles focus on management and co-ordination of design teams; roles include Team Leader, Project Manager and Design Manager. The projects she’s worked on range from early feasibility studies, preliminary design and detailed design, with extensive collaboration with Contractors, Clients and various third parties and Stakeholders. Kat is keen to encourage others into the construction industry and is passionate about creating a diverse, equitable and inclusive industry. She promotes engineering to others through mentoring, by being a STEM Ambassador and facilitating student work placements and attending career events.
Could This Heating Solution Reduce Carbon Emissions By 80%?
Jun 13 2023
Could This Heating Solution Reduce Carbon Emissions By 80%?
Constructive Voices has recently been listed as one of the UK's Top Sustainability Podcasts on Feedspot According to the World Economic Forum,  Heating and cooling are essential to modern life. This includes comfort control for homes and buildings, and temperature control in industrial processes. It also includes the cold chain that ensures safe delivery of food, medicine and vaccines around the world… Heating and cooling technology for buildings create around 15% of global carbon emissions, while food loss adds 10%, according to research. New technologies that are helping to decarbonize these areas are increasingly being used for industry and transportation. This podcast episode investigates a new heating technology with guest Tom McGee of X-Heat Tom also wrote a short explainer article, which you can begin reading here: As the urgency to combat climate change intensifies, the race towards achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 has become a paramount goal for the United Kingdom. While many industries grapple with finding affordable and sustainable alternatives, the commercial heating sector has found a promising solution: catalytic combustion. This innovative approach not only offers significant advantages over traditional heating methods but also provides a cost-effective pathway towards achieving net-zero targets within the industry. Catalytic combustion, as a highly efficient heating technology, harnesses the power of chemical reactions to produce heat with minimal carbon emissions. Continue reading –
Biodiversity Net Gain With Sustainability Lawyer, Ben Stansfield
May 15 2023
Biodiversity Net Gain With Sustainability Lawyer, Ben Stansfield
Understand more about Biodiversity Net Gain With Sustainability Lawyer, Ben Stansfield of Gowling WLG. Ben specialises in environmental and planning law. BNG – biodiversity net gain is a really positive step. I suspect 10% improvement through development stops the rot, preventing further degradation. But actually, it’s only when we get to 20 to 30% biodiversity net gain that we can start to see some reversal of some of the damage that we’ve done in the last 200 years About Ben Stansfield Ben is a Sustainability Lawyer at Gowling WLG, specialising in planning and environmental law. He is a Trustee of the UK Environmental Law Association and a frequent speaker on nature and climate issues. Ben was part of the inaugural ENDS Report Power List, recognising 100 environmental professionals who had had a significant impact since 2020. Biodiversity Net Gain With Sustainability Lawyer, Ben Stansfield Investigates: The history leading up to this lawBen’s personal perspective which is both interesting and positiveSome of the unknowns and how things need to be organised to avoid issues when the law rolls outBen talks about how he feels his clients will receive the new lawWe look at the opportunities and challengesWe investigate how this law will create a radical shift in the approach to development – both urban and ruralBen speaks about the law and how it will potentially affect players in different roles in the built environment sector And much more besides. Ben is a superb guest and this is one not to miss!
Biodiversity in the Built Environment Roundtable Part 2
Mar 29 2023
Biodiversity in the Built Environment Roundtable Part 2
Learn from some top experts on biodiversity during Part 2, of the Biodiversity in the Built Environment Roundtable. Gain perspective on this topic that is not only vital to understand from an industry perspective but also from a climate change angle. Led by Claire Wansbury, this Roundtable included a superb panel of experts. Claire is an Atkins Fellow and Technical Director Atkins, a world-leading engineering and environmental consultancy. She will share her particular expertise in biodiversity and natural capital. Claire is one of the UK’s top experts on biodiversity net gain, including having co-authored national good practice principles. In 2022, Claire was included in the Ends Director’s Power List of the 100 most influential environmental professionals. With over 30 years of experience as an award-winning ecologist, in the last few years, Claire has been working with environmental economists and others to build a shared understanding of the value of benefits our natural world provides to people. Together with some of her colleagues, Claire produced an excellent short magazine before COP15. This is a very useful resource regardless of what your level of knowledge is as it combines insights and hopes from top experts along with a selection of case studies. “The globally and instantly recognisable WWF panda logo took its inspiration from Chi-Chi, a giant panda that arrived at London Zoo in the late 1950s. The strikingly simple image was drawn by British conservationis
Henry McDonald Podcast Tribute
Feb 28 2023
Henry McDonald Podcast Tribute
Today, Tuesday 28th February 2023, our beloved and esteemed colleague, Henry McDonald will has been laid to rest. This episode is a tribute to Henry, with excerpts of a small selection of some of his excellent interviews for Constructive Voices. Additionally, a few guests and colleagues pay tribute to him. Henry was a talented, prolific, versatile and empathetic journalist, author and broadcaster. He was also a very special, kind human being. He was invited to become part of the team at Constructive Voices by our producer, Jackie De Burca, who had previously interviewed Henry McDonald. There was serendipity in this connection as Henry suggested to Jackie to interview some of the team at Changing Streams.  Constructive Voices had always intended to make a positive difference in the industry. He spoke to Dr. Wendy Jones, the Scientific Lead and Climate Adviser firstly to tee up the hard facts behind the organisation. Then Henry spoke to Neal Maxwell, who set up Changing Streams after a life changing moment on a trip to the Artic. Neal had worked for thirty years in construction. Neal speaks to Jackie about Henry. If you knew Henry McDonald, you knew very well how much he loved football. And Everton and Cliftonville were his teams. He had already covered the story about the then proposed Everton football stadium with the renowned Liverpool expert, Prof. Michael Parkinson. Professor Michael Parkinson C.B.E. also pays tribute to Henry. Henry McDonald often talked to Jackie after his interviews and was almost always delighted with the guests he or we had chose for him to interview. Moving on to an episode that he was especially delighted with was Episode 13 about How Women Can Help Create Sustainable Change. This featured two wonderful women, Emma Nicholso