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Construction industry sets out plan for recovery

Plans for a post-Covid-19 revival of the UK construction sector have been published by the Construction Leadership Council’s Covid-19 Task Force.

The proposals 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.

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.”

Trussed Rafter Association chief executive Nick Boulton said:? “As part of the essential supply chain for housebuilders, housing associations, general builders and other parts of the construction industry, TRA members are fully supportive of the recovery plan published by the CLC this week.

“Technology, quality, safety and sustainability are key principles in the trussed rafter sector and so TRA members are well placed within the housebuilding and domestic RMI sectors to help deliver the plan’s objectives.

“The TRA and its members welcome the demand-side measures proposed for the ‘reset’ phase in the housing sector. This includes the extension of the Help to Buy scheme and delivering commitments under the housing guarantees programme to support social housing, build-to-rent and SME housing delivery.

“The TRA has long advocated a more collaborative approach through technology in the housing sector. A more collaborative, fairer and resilient industry is within our gift if we all choose to work in this way.

“As a sector we also place a high priority on professionalism and strongly support all the measures proposed for the ‘reinvent’ phase related to training and apprenticeships, including the development of an overarching competency framework for industry.

“The TRA will seek to contribute to the future development of the plan via the forthcoming sector groups, such as through the Construction Products Association and Home Builders Federation.”

Source: TTJ Online

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UK construction sector shrinks again amid election uncertainty

The UK construction sector contracted for the seventh month running in November as new work fell sharply amid yet more political uncertainty, survey data has shown.

The poor performance of the sector led firms to lay off workers for the eighth month in a row, in the latest sign that Britain’s jobs boom is slowing.

The IHS Markit/Cips UK construction purchasing managers’ index came in at 45.3 in November, compared to 44.2 in October. A figure below 50 indicates contraction.

Economists had predicted a score of 44.5, meaning November’s figure beat expectations and was the slowest drop in overall construction for four months.

Nonetheless, the UK’s building sector showed no signs of escaping its recent recession ahead of the 12 December General Election.

Both Labour and the Conservatives have promised to ramp up spending on infrastructure should they win power, which could boost the construction sector.

Duncan Brock, group director at Cips – the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply – said: “Brexit uncertainty, an impending General Election and wet weather all combined to keep the construction sector firmly in its contraction hole last month.”

All three main areas of construction contracted in November. Civil engineering was the worst-performing category, followed by commercial building. There was a much slower decline in housing activity.

On top of the political uncertainty that has dragged on UK economic growth in 2019, respondents reported that a lack of new work to replace old contracts and the unusually wet weather weighed on the sector in November.

Tim Moore, economics associate director at data firm IHS Markit, said: “The forthcoming General Election continued to send a chill breeze across the sector.”

He added: “House-building has been the most resilient category of construction output in 2019. However, it remains a concern that overall volumes of residential building work have dropped in each month since June.”

By Harry Robertson

Source: City AM