Vice Presidents Message

February 2021


Dear Colleagues,

If I might be permitted to take a short reflection, I can only trust that 2021 will be a better year for us all than the 2020 year that we have just left behind us. I have just taken a quick look at Angela’s message of one year ago. In it she states that we were having a conference and that I was its lead. Shortly afterwards COVID-19 put paid to any such plan for 2020. But we have hope that it will be rescheduled for similar dates, 7 & 8 July 2021, same location – Birmingham City University, and theme ‘The Future of Cost Engineering in a Modern Industrial Setting’. Again, looking back at 2020 we sadly said goodbye to Angela who, for personal reasons, found it necessary to stand down as our President. We should thank her for her years of service.

The 1st of January 2021 sees a new international trading relationship for the United Kingdom and the European Community. The event is likely to impact every sector of industry served by the ACostE and around the Global community. As I draft this message in the middle of December 2020 with only days of the working year available to us, we in the UK still do not know the ‘Rules of Engagement’ that will underpin the new relationship. I recall that, at the start of the Brexit journey, I was asked by one body to present my view of Brexit’s impact. My advice then was to spend your time getting to understand the cost drivers of your business, their impacts and interactions, and their relative order of magnitude. Back in 2016 there was a groundswell about international migration also related to Brexit and I needed to look at the planned growth of UK PLC and its birth rate to determine the answer. UK PLC needs international migration to service its needs for a workforce, as the indigenous UK population at that time had a reproductive rate of about 1.6. Not enough to sustain its own workforce where the historical investment meant that it is workforce-dependent. My advice, by the way, remains the same: understand your businesses cost drivers and, as Cost Engineers and Project Controllers across all sectors of industry, you will be in a better situation to answer even the toughest of business-driven questions.

Back in November 2020 I stated in my monthly newsletters the ACostE has to give service to its members. The ACostE Board and I have pushed to achieve greater communication and listening skills. We are now ‘pushing’ developments out to ACostE Members rather than waiting for you to come to us. But we can always do with your help. We need feedback to improve the ACostE for you. We need material that we can use in the Project Control Professional Journal and material that we can turn into Webinar, etc.

I hope and trust that we will all have a much brighter 2021 and that as many as can make it will be able to meet and network in Birmingham, UK, come July 2021.


Best wishes for 2021.

Dr Robert Mills, President ACostE (