Plans for a post-Covid revival of the UK construction sector have been published today by the Construction Leadership Council’s (CLC) Covid-19 task force. They have set out proposals to secure the future of construction businesses nationwide, while setting the industry on a three-stage sustainable path towards recovery.
The three-pronged plan – restart, reset and reinvention – outlines a roadmap to recovery for the industry as it emerges from the Covid-19 crisis and the CLC task force is now engaging with the government to test how the plan’s proposals might be delivered.
The plan, entitled Roadmap to Recovery: An Industry Recovery Plan for the UK Construction Sector, puts forward a strategy to drive the recovery of the construction and built environment sectors and through them the wider UK economy, following the Covid-19 pandemic and economic downturn. The CLC make the point that construction is uniquely placed to drive the national economic recovery as it operates throughout the UK, employs 3.1 million workers, and exports billions of pounds of products and services.
The recovery strategy aims to increase the level of activity across the construction ecosystem, accelerate the process of industry adjustment to the new normal and build capacity in the industry to deliver strategic priorities, including increasing prosperity across the UK, decarbonisation, modernisation through digital and manufacturing technologies and by delivering better, safer buildings.
There are three phases to the plan, which is expected to be delivered over two years:
- Restart: increase output, maximise employment and minimise disruption (0-3 months);
- Reset: drive demand, increase productivity, strengthen capability in the supply chain (3-12 months);
- Reinvent: transform the industry, deliver better value, collaboration and partnership (12-24 months).
Key outcomes, the CLC say, will be a more capable, professional, productive and profitable sector, which delivers better value to clients, better performing infrastructure and buildings and competes successfully in global markets.
The CLC says that failure to act by the government will miss an opportunity to deliver this and risks the industry lapsing into a longer term recession, which erodes capability and skills, and leaves a smaller, weaker sector as a legacy. They outline some key deliverables and benefits from the plan as follows.
- Valuable investment outcomes including essential social and economic infrastructure, driving long-term productivity improvement across the economy and supporting the delivery of public services. Delivering the national strategic infrastructure priorities identified by the National Infrastructure Commission, and a better co-ordinated approach to the planning and delivery of infrastructure.
- Reducing carbon emissions and improving the sustainability and resource efficiency of the construction and built environment sectors and making measurable progress towards delivering net zero carbon.
- Meeting societal needs, including more and better residential accommodation and safer buildings.
- Direct contribution to regional economic recovery and prosperity, through high multiplier investments, relatively high earnings, fast cashflow and local supply-chains.
- Transforming the business model of the sector to create a more collaborative, fairer and resilient industry, supporting firms in the supply chain to succeed and maintain the workforce at all levels.
- Create an innovation culture that delivers efficient products, processes and built assets, to improve productivity, quality and increase output, including through embedding digital and offsite manufacturing technologies.
- Increased investment in skills and training, a at professional level, through vocational education and apprenticeships and improving occupational health and safety for the workforce.
- Building on UK strengths in digital design and systems, manufacturing and materials to increase UK exports of products and professional services, targeting a global infrastructure market worth US $2.5 trillion per year.
Four industry working groups have been set up to help deliver the recovery plan and liaise with government. The groups are infrastructure, housing, domestic renovation, maintenance and improvement and local, social and commercial construction.