With the war in Ukraine six weeks old, the Association for Consultancy and Engineering (ACE) convened a special industry roundtable on Monday 28 March 2022 to discuss the implications of the conflict on the sector and the potential impact on wider industry and longer-term government spending plans and policy aims.
Held under Chatham House Rules, the online meeting brought together representatives from ACE’s larger member firms and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). Sharing the results of a pulse survey of members, ACE highlighted a number of concerns over possible delays to net zero ambitions, government spending and levelling up, the broader economic impact that a prolonged conflict might bring and potential changes to the government’s pipeline of projects announced to date.
Discussions followed around the impact inflation is already having on salary, retention and skills, whether there was a way the industry could provide jobs to migrants fleeing the conflict and how to ensure as much certainty as possible throughout the supply chain in what are extremely challenging times.
Commenting on the roundtable, Stephen Marcos Jones, CEO of ACE, said: “The main take-away was the message that industry will need to build on the collaboration that helped see us through the first two years of the pandemic.
“It is clear that 2022 is already shaping up to be another challenging year, but I was pleased to hear that the construction sector is still seen as one of the major drivers for medium-to-long-term recovery and that there was a clear commitment to the pipeline of projects previously announced and confirmation that ambitions around net zero and levelling up remain unchanged at this moment in time.
“Collaboration, dialogue and transparency – both along the supply chain and between our sector and government – will ensure we are all in the best possible position to deal with ongoing uncertainty over the weeks and, potentially, months ahead.
“With this in mind, and depending on how the conflict develops, the participants agreed to meet again soon, and we will continue with similar discussions with stakeholders at the Construction Leadership Council (CLC).”
The CLC has also published a new guidance note on the crisis in Ukraine. The note provides expert guidance to outline the practical steps that all parts of the industry can take to mitigate the market impacts.