The History of the Norwich Forum for the Construction Industry

The NFCI began in 1991 as a result of an initiative by Christopher Pratt, who was providing some business consultancy advice to Purcell Miller Tritton in Norwich. He was a founder member of the Cambridge Forum and suggested that a similar organisation in Norwich would be a good way to develop the emerging art of networking.

An initial meeting was held at the offices of Davis Langdon and Everest and those invited formed the first Council. A Constitution similar to the Cambridge Forum was adopted and a first programme of meetings was drawn up.

The initial Council reflected a wide range of disciplines and included an Architect, Accountant, Quantity Surveyor, Building Surveyor, Lawyer, Contractor, Builder’s Merchant and an Archaeologist.

Ray Tompson became the first Chair with Bob Lamont as Secretary and Philip Blanchflower as Treasurer. Over time, the Council included Structural and Civil Engineers, Planning Consultants and a Conservation Officer. The aim of a wide and diverse Council membership has been maintained to this day.

The public meetings were initially held at the offices of Norwich Union and this continued for nearly 10 years before moving to the King of Hearts, St Andrews House and more recently at OPEN, the former Barclays Bank on Bank Plain.

The Forum has organised a wide range of activities including the Young Achievers, Housing Awards, Seminars, many site visits and social events such as the Contractor v Consultants cricket match, LEGO competitions, frequent Quizzes and, of course, the very popular annual Norfolk Property Dinner, the 16th of which was held last month attended by 450 local construction professionals.

From the outset, the Forum has regularly supported local charities, including St Martins Trust Night Shelter, the Julian Trust, Leeway, Dragon Hall, Caister Lifeboat, Norwich Historic Churches and the Mancroft Centre . More recently Break, Kidney Research and The Feed, amongst others, have benefitted from the Norfolk Property Dinner’s Members generous donations.

The Forum currently has in excess of 70 Corporate Members and 40 Individual Members.

Past Chairs

Ray Thompson - 1991 to 1992
Brian Ayers – 1992 to 1999
David Bissonnet – 1999 to 2013
Martyn Gibson – 2013 to 2015
Grant Keys - 2015 to 2017
Jonathan Nelson - 2017 to 2019