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CIOB gets its Wikis in a twist over CM definition

The Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) has launched a campaign to change the definition of construction management on Wikipedia, arguing the current version is too narrow and US-focused.

The online encyclopaedia, which attracted 414 million unique visitors in January, currently uses a description from the Construction Management Association of America, which says that the responsibilities of the profession fall into seven broad categories - project management planning; cost, time and quality management; contract administration; safety management and CM professional practice.

According to the CIOB, the job has a much wider remit that goes beyond purely site-based issues.

It has drawn up its own definition, which says construction management covers the development, conservation and improvement of the built environment; embraces the "entire construction value stream" and a commitment to sustainable development; incorporates a range of specialist services; and is guided by values "demonstrating responsibility to humanity and the future of our planet".

Explaining the need for a Wikipedia campaign, CIOB chief executive Michael Brown said: "The industry suffers from a poor image and this is compounded by a reluctance to challenge those misconceptions. Too often we let others inaccurately describe us when we should be setting them straight."

Wikipedia's Mike Peel told Housing Excellence that the site's articles do not directly include original research but there could be space for the CIOB's definition if it can show that it is widely accepted.

He added: "A Wikipedia article is as broad as it possibly can be. It should cover all of the different viewpoints, all the different aspects of the topic.

"Wikipedia has a principle called neutral point of view, which every Wikipedia article should aspire to, so all different views are covered to an appropriate depth without going too far into one at the exclusion of another."

The CIOB is now asking for construction management professionals to give their thoughts on both definitions.

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