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10 NOV 2021


Laurence Brett explores how ACE will continue to support members as the industry emerges from an uncertain period post-pandemic


ncertainty would be my one word takeaway from the pandemic and its aftermath. It is  something we have all sadly become accustomed to, but the reality is that business planning within this context can be – to put it mildly – challenging.

Thankfully ACE and EIC members have a dedicated team helping them through these difficult times, which I’ve been lucky enough to work with over these last few months. I know from first-hand experience that members always come first in everything we do.

When COVID hit, it meant producing regular and timely advice, support and guidance on issues such as business finance, redundancy, wellbeing, and test and trace. It also meant championing member interests through forums such as the Construction Leadership Council (CLC), helping to influence our industry’s response on issues such as furlough, loans, prompt payment, and contract disputes.

For ACE members this was also the case in our weekly calls with the construction minister and for ACE and EIC members, in our regular engagement with officials and policymakers across Whitehall.

Our member-first approach, which ran across all of our pandemic support and activity in 2020 and 2021, will be applied in new areas next year and beyond – whether supporting members to seize new opportunities to shape economic recovery, helping them adapt to a digital-first world, or meeting society’s aspirations for a Net Zero future.

Our member-first approach, which ran across all of our pandemic support and activity in 2020 and 2021, will be applied in new areas next year and beyond Laurence Brett, Interim CEO

The Government has made much of “Building Back Better”, and it is clear that members have a crucial role to play in delivering political ambitions around Levelling Up. Wherever you are based, we are proactively engaging on your behalf with recent member wins on key issues such as the National Infrastructure Bank (NIB), Levelling Up Fund, the Construction and Consultancy Playbooks, Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects, and, most recently, the Construction Pipeline.

The very nature of uncertainty means it will continue, albeit in a different form. Looking ahead and it feels as if business leaders will need to navigate a post-pandemic recovery in the construction sector which is clearly being affected by a squeeze on materials and skills in 2022.

The challenge for our industry, of course, is how we adapt to meet both these immediate needs and the longer-term, structural skills issues facing our industry. This is why our work around the future of consultancy is so important, notably the activity of the Future Skills, Digital Transformation and Future Markets groups. Three areas where, once again ACE is on hand to help all members, no matter their size, adapt to a rapidly changing world.

Laurence Brett is interim CEO of the Association for Consultancy and Engineering (ACE). This blog appears as an article in the upcoming edition of Infrastructure Intelligence.

Laurence  Brett

Laurence Brett

Interim CEO, ACE

Laurence is interim CEO of ACE and comes from AECOM.



October 2021

How ACE has delivered for members over the last 18 months.