Spotlight: Douglas McCormick – Group Executive Director @ Gleeds

Gleeds is an international property and construction consultancy. With circa 2350 dedicated staff across six continents and 80 offices, Gleeds prides itself on being a worldwide business that is structured to act and think locally. My special interest areas are digital, sustainability and workplace culture – all of which are teeming with innovation and primed to make a long-lasting impact on the built environment.

1. Information Management and Digital Tools

As a consultancy, our ability to help our clients prepare for what is coming next is critical. We have created our own in-house research team, Intelligence, who gather research and data that reveal industry trends and patterns across costs, materials, people, and reveal what might impact future development in different global markets and where the appetite for investment is. Intelligence’s work is proving hugely popular with clients – it helps them prepare for the future. We have also added digital solutions to our roster of services, that enhance our traditional skills in surveying, project controls , programme and project management, advisory, etc. These allow clients to take the best of Gleeds services but do things quicker, faster, and more accurately, with real time data. These digital solutions are already in use with clients like ARCC in Peru, where they are supporting the reconstruction of vital infrastructure. Our ability to use photogrammetry to visualise and create digital twins of physical assets is changing how we survey and manage the built environment. It’s hard now to imagine a future without these vital strands of intelligence and digital solutions boosting what we can offer customers.

2. Sustainability and carbon footprint

Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) is rarely out of the headlines these days and with good reason. At some point soon, investors and residents will simply refuse to engage with high-carbon, unsustainable buildings, and as an industry we must be responsive with solutions. This provides a huge opportunity for innovation. At Gleeds we are proud to be helping clients devise net zero carbon strategies and to have partnered on a growing list of new LEED and BREEAM certified developments around the world; using eco-friendly materials and new ways of heating, hydrating and future-proofing developments. We are also involved in the environmental retrofit of older buildings. Companies need to examine their own internal ESG values too. Proving your credentials is fast becoming an essential component of being an employer who people want to work for. If you want to attract and retain talent in the future, being genuinely environmentally caring may well make the difference in attracting and retaining talent – or not.

3. Diversity and inclusion

A question I like to ask people is: how do you draw your circles? I want them to think bigger and wider than ever, because the richness that lies in diversity leads to so many opportunities – better creativity and innovation, a refreshed and energised workplace culture and improved outcomes for clients. But let’s also talk about gender equality, ethnicity, disability, sexuality, religion, fairness.. For too long construction has been the domain of privileged, able, white men. But others can easily excel in the sector. Our work requires us to think cognitively and exhibit sharp problem-solving, which many groups are equally supremely capable at. And whether working on a construction site, creating blueprints, or budgeting for a new project, a whole range of diverse people can and should bring the robust combination of ideas needed. It is important that we draw our circles to be hugely inclusive and not exclusive. Black Professionals in Construction (BPIC) are just one of the organisations doing brilliant work to move the dial on this, and Gleeds is proud to support them.

Douglas McCormick
Group Executive Director, Gleeds

April 2023

Corina Balaneanu

Founder, Innovation Partnership

IP is a board and C-suite network focused solely on innovation and change. 👉 Matchmaking - sourcing pioneering solutions and connecting corporates with other corporates or startups. 👉 Roundtables - monthly discussions showcasing innovation and change management case studies.