July 14, 2020

Construction industry sets out plan for recovery

Plans for a post-Covid-19 revival of the UK construction sector have been published today (Monday 1st June) by the Construction Leadership Council’s Covid-19 Task Force.

The Task Force, which represents the entire construction supply chain from product manufacturers and merchants to contractors, housebuilders and specialists, has laid out proposals to secure the future of construction businesses nationwide, while setting the industry on a sustainable path towards recovery.

The proposals, which have been developed and agreed by the sector’s leading trade bodies, include recommendations to:

·       Get industry back to work wherever it is safe to do so;

·       Maximise employment and retain key skills;

·       Ensure a pipeline of future workload for all parts of the sector;

·       Boost productivity to secure improved value;

·      Transform the industry through technology & digitalisation.

The task force was established as the crisis took hold to provide focus on industry efforts to combat the impact of coronavirus. In the early days of the crisis it tackled immediate issues such as development of Site Operating Procedures to safeguard workers and addressing shortages of product availability.

With the UK Government encouraging businesses to return to work wherever possible, the task force examined the challenges that would arise as the industry entered the recovery phase of the crisis. Today’s report looks at the short, medium and long-term actions that will be required to overcome these problems, while grasping the opportunities to build a better industry in the future.  

Industry bodies will work together to develop four sector specific plans that align to the CLC’s overarching recovery plan. The Builders Merchant Federation will work with others to progress detailed plans for the Housing and RMI sectors. 

The task force is now engaging with Government to test how the plans proposals might be delivered.

Housing Secretary, Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP, said: “Our commitment to get Britain building is central to the mission of this government, which is why last month I ensured home building can restart in a way that is safe. We are a pro-development government that wants to build houses of all types in all parts of the country, so that people have the homes that they need. I welcome the CLC’s Roadmap to Recovery and I will be continuing to work closely with the industry to ensure we’re backing the success of our construction sector.”

Builders Merchants Federation, Chief Executive Officer, John Newcomb said: “Since its formation at the start of the crisis the CLC’s Covid-19 Taskforce has shown how effective the industry can be when it works towards a common goal. As we enter the recovery phase we have a real opportunity to deliver a coordinated programme that will benefit the whole industry and support the UK economy.”

Construction Leadership Council joint chair, Andy Mitchell, said: “The unprecedented challenge of coronavirus calls for unprecedented solutions. I am delighted by the way that the industry has collaborated at pace to develop this plan, targeting those interventions that will help the industry get back on its feet as quickly as possible. We hope that everyone will take the opportunity to read the plan and consider the part you can play in its delivery.”

Responding to the launch, Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the FMB, which is sitting on the housing working group, said: “I am determined that we build back better with small, local builders at the heart of the recovery, following the unprecedented shock of the coronavirus. I celebrate the fact that the UK construction industry is speaking with one voice, and that voice is calling for a sustainable future for construction, with a mandate to develop initiatives on energy retrofit to fix our leaky homes.” 

“If we are to reach the net zero carbon target, tackle fuel poverty, and improve health we need a national retrofit strategy, and local builders are the ones to deliver this. The domestic RMI market collapsed overnight as lockdown measures were introduced. I want to see it reopened in every community, helping to level up as we bounce back from the pandemic. As we tackle our ongoing housing crisis, small builders must also be central to delivering more, better quality homes for all those who need them, including our keyworkers.” 

The CLC Roadmap to Recovery can be viewed online at the CLC website.