Category Archives: News

Strategic Forum backs Government Construction Strategy

Industry leaders have called for rapid action to enhance public sector construction following today’s publication of the Government Construction Strategy 2016-20.

The Strategic Forum for Construction welcomed the publication of the Strategy, with its commitment to Building Information Modelling, collaborative working, new models of procurement and better client capability.

The Forum also welcomed the Strategy’s backing for whole-life value to play a greater role in investment decision making, ensuring that the buildings and infrastructure we construct are fit for the future as well as the present.

It said that the report made a strong case for reform, and called for a prompt response from public sector customers to implement its actions.

Current Strategic Forum chairman John Sinfield said: “The Government is the industry’s largest customer. In this role it can lead changes to the procurement and delivery of work that will strengthen the UK’s position as a global leader of best practice for construction, promoting innovation and driving better performance

“But these gains will only be unlocked if the report’s recommendations are adopted by our public sector customers

“Too often reports such as this one have promised much but failed to deliver. It is time to turn this strategy into a reality for the industry’s customers and suppliers”

 

For further details please contact Alasdair Reisner on 0207 340 0454 or alasdairreisner@ceca.co.uk

Skills gap targeted as guide to employing next generation published

Construction leaders are smashing the barriers that block young people from entering the industry as part of plans to attract a new generation into the sector.

The Strategic Forum for Construction, working with the Construction Leadership Council, today publishes comprehensive guidance for companies who want to give under 18s their first step in the industry.

Currently many businesses that want to provide jobs and work experience to under 18s face difficulties due to perceived issues including safety regulations, insurances and safeguarding. This is stopping young people from getting a foothold in the sector at precisely the time when many are making their career choices.

The Strategic Forum Guidance for Employing Young People provides clear information on how under 18s should be introduced to the industry and managed once employed, as well as a sample risk assessment to help employers.

The guidance, which was an agreed action within Construction 2025 and has been developed by Build UK, is available on the Strategic Forum’s website at www.strategicforum.org.uk

Build UK chief executive Suzannah Nichol said: “in the race for talent our industry faces significant recruitment challenges over the next decade. There is a generation that is ready to meet our needs, yet we may miss them if we make it difficult for them to get a taste of our sector through a first job or work experience. We hope that this guidance will give employers the confidence to give young people, under the age of 18, an opportunity to see the broad range of careers construction offers”.

 

For further details please contact Alasdair Reisner on 0207 340 0454 or alasdairreisner@ceca.co.uk

Strategic Forum for Construction Relaunches for 2016

Industry leaders have set ambitious plans to drive improvement across the sector with the relaunch of the Strategic Forum for Construction.

In 2016 the Forum will be targeting delivery of four cross-industry work streams covering payment, pre-qualification, procurement models, and industry Commitments. The Forum will soon publish further details of each, along with details of how companies can get involved in each work stream.

The Strategic Forum was formed in 2001 to bring together representatives from the industry’s customers, contractors, specialists, professionals and products companies. Since 2013 it has been working with the Government to support delivery of the recommendations of Construction 2025, the industrial strategy for construction.

The reformation of the Construction Leadership Council, and merger of the National Specialist Contractors Council with the UK Contractors Group to form Build UK has seen a refresh of the Strategic Forum, making it more representative of industry while focussing on the delivery of key improvements for industry.

The Strategic Forum’s members are:

Build UK

Construction Alliance

Construction Clients Group

Construction Industry Council

Construction Products Association

Specialist Engineering Contractors Group

 

The Forum is chaired on a rotating basis by representatives from each of its six members. The Home Builders Federation and CBI also attend Forum meetings

Construction Products Association chairman John Sinfield said: “The Strategic Forum provides the whole industry with the opportunity to work together to tackle some of the major challenges that stand in the way of better, more efficient delivery for our customers. We are looking forward to pushing ahead with the Strategic Forum’s agenda in 2016, driving improvements across the sector”

Construction Industry Council chairman Tony Burton said: “As the only body that represents the whole of the construction sector, the Strategic Forum is perfectly placed to work collaboratively on major industry issues. Our members have agreed four key work streams for 2016, and we expect to see substantial activities this year in each area. In doing so we will help make life better for companies across the country”.

 

For further details please contact Alasdair Reisner on 0207 340 0454 or alasdairreisner@ceca.co.uk

New Integrated Collaborative Working Toolkit

Collab toolkitThis useful new guide to understanding integrated collaborative working in construction provides information, advice, guidance as well as training signposts and pointers on delivering high performance construction outcomes which meet organisational needs and delight clients, customers and end users – from faster delivery to improved project profitability.

The new Integrated Collaborative Working Toolkit is available from www.icwtoolkit.com

CIC announces the names of its new BIM2050 Group members

The new members of the BIM2050 Group met each other and some of the out-going group members for the first time yesterday, at an event that marked the start of the new group’s two year tenure.

Made up of 14 young professionals representing most corners of the industry from a broad cross section of specialisms, the group includes architects, engineers, contractors, legal professionals and surveyors, all representing their respective professional institutions.

The members of the new (and second only) BIM2050 Group are: Tom Bartley (ICE); Sarah Birchall (BSRIA); Bobby Chakravarthy (APS); Henry Fenby-Taylor (LI); Adam Golden (ICES); David Knight (IstructE), Alex Lubbock (CIOB), Alex MacLaren (RIBA), Mac Muzvimwe (RICS), Charlie Murray (CIBSE); Daniel Rossiter (BRE); Ryan Tennyson(CIAT); with Will Hackney (CIOB) and Dwight Wilson (CIBSE) as acting stand-ins.

Speaking at the event two of the new members had this to say:

“CIC BIM 2050 Group offers an opportunity to make a change in the construction industry. We need to deliver better assets that are energy efficient, effective and reduce the amount of CO2 emissions we are emitting into the environment. Being part of this group is an exciting challenge for me and I look forward to getting started.” Dr Sarah Birchall, Senior Consultant, BSRIA.

“The thing that particularly struck a chord with me from the BIM2050 group 2014 report was Neil Thompson’s statement on attracting the best people into the industry. As a university tutor I see young people full of inspiration and aspiration, being taught the ‘same old same old’ techniques in artificial silos of specialist courses. Their enthusiasm is dulled and they inherit protectionist ideas about defending their professional group. I want to see us educating teams, together, across disciplines, allowing students to learn from each other and building trust and cross-competencies for our future industry. And for me this change of perspective is essential to the success of UK plc in 2050. I think change will come very fast when we educate well. Those entering the industry with enthusiasm and the right tools for collaboration, will be able to work with experienced senior colleagues to format existing knowledge in new shared-platform ways- and suddenly there we are- level 3.” Alex MacLaren, RIBA/RIAS Chartered Architect and fellow of the RSA.

Also at the launch were David Philp, Chair of the out-going group who encouraged the new members to “challenge everything that’s out there and especially the current behaviours”; Neil Thompson, former Vice Chair, and now Chair of the new group; and Louise Clarke, Chair of the 2050 Group which will be working collaboratively with its BIM2050 colleagues.

The group will meet in the coming weeks to plan its strategy and priorities going forward.

Association Notes 2015 Budget Support for Construction and Manufacturing

The last Budget of this Parliament held few surprises for construction products manufacturers and distributors, though a number of initiatives will be welcomed.

Dr Diana Montgomery, Chief Executive of the Construction Products Association, commented on today’s Budget Announcement: “First, as we have continued to highlight the need for government to clarify its plans to support house building, we are pleased with the innovative ‘Help to Buy ISA’ scheme. This should stimulate home-buyers’ interest in the near term and house builders’ confidence in the medium term – a tonic to the flattening demand we forecast for the private housing sector after the uncertainty of the General Election.

“Second, many of our members, including the steel sector, are energy intensive manufacturers. The plans announced today to bring forward from 2016 to 2015 the compensation for the indirect costs of small-scale feed-in-tariffs are a step in the right direction to improving their competitiveness with European neighbours and levelling that playing field. We only note that a sizeable number of our manufacturers will remain outside this plan and will not see any alleviation of their high energy costs.

“As one of the largest users of the nation’s road network, the construction industry will certainly benefit from today’s cancellation to this year’s expected fuel duty increase. Not highlighted by the Chancellor is the encouraging plan to work with road haulage firms, many supporting our industry, to address the shortage of qualified drivers.

“Finally, the wider industry, particularly SME’s, will recognise the impact of the government’s plans to abolish Class 2 NICs in the next Parliament. The real improvement in this case is not the nominal contribution amount – £137 per annum – but rather the savings by removing another regulatory burden and overhead, which is likely thousands of pounds and many hours of time which SME’s can focus elsewhere.”

Dr Montgomery concluded, “Frankly, in this last year of the Parliament we did not expect any major revelations, though some of what we’ve heard will certainly benefit our members and the wider construction industry. Of particular interest to us will be the review of business rates flagged by the Chancellor today and the related issues of capital allowances for plant and machinery, all of which has a very real effect on inward investment.

“More to the point, policy works best when industry is consulted early and often to help identify problems, review measures, provide solutions and evaluate results. With this in mind, we’re looking forward to working with the parties after the General Election so that they can provide long-term clarity and certainty on the issues affecting our business.”

Increased Tender Prices for Specialist Contractors

The number of Specialist Contractors benefiting from increased tender prices is at its highest for eight years according to the latest NSCC State of Trade Survey.

Figures for the fourth quarter of 2014 show that 44% of Specialist Contractors have increased tender prices compared to just 11% who decreased prices in the same period. The balance of tender prices, which is the difference between respondents reporting an increase and a decrease in prices, is the highest since the pre-recession days of late 2006. This has been driven by a combination of increased demand and the rising cost of materials, with 82% of Specialist Contractors reporting an increase in suppliers’ prices in the last quarter.

In what many in the industry are now calling a ‘sellers’ market’, eight out of 10 Specialist Contractors report working at over 75% capacity with almost half at over 90% capacity. Capacity levels look set to be maintained over the next year with more than half of respondents anticipating that their workload will
increase during this period.

However, continued growth within the industry could be undermined by skills shortages with 43% of Specialist Contractors reporting more difficulty in recruiting skilled labour in the last quarter. The balance of recruitment difficulty remains at its highest level for 10 years. Late payment also remains an issue with 20% waiting on average more than 60 days to get paid.

NSCC Chief Executive Suzannah Nichol said:

“Increasing workloads and higher tender prices are both good news for Specialist Contractors but the difficulty in recruiting skilled labour is a reflection of the skills crisis facing the industry. The only way to ensure continued growth in our sector is by sustained investment in training and apprenticeships.”

NSCC contributes its findings to the State of Trade Survey published by the Construction Products Association, enabling the experiences of the specialist sector to be compared with the wider industry.