Collaboration has never been more important for the construction industry according to national framework provider Pagabo, which is leading a call-to-arms for all companies to work together in order to drive real change and tackle long-term industry issues.
Pagabo executive chairman Gerard Toplass launched the company’s Future of Construction campaign at a seminar, and said: “Realistically, the future of construction starts today, so the sooner we can begin collaborating for wider industry change, the sooner we will be reaping the benefits.
“One of the biggest drivers in everything we do at Pagabo is to do things better, to do better things. But this is not just in relation to the work we do with our clients and ecosystem, but all work within the industry. We are launching this campaign to drive towards the industry we want and need in the coming years.
“Lots of challenges lie in societal shifts – whether this is changing attitudes towards mental health within the sector, practice changes to protect the environment or changes in political policies. The role of social value is also set to play an even bigger part in the picture, as it will help demonstrate how absolutely crucial the work we all do is to improving the country and the economy.”
Toplass was joined in the launch seminar by C4DI managing director John Connolly, 54 Degrees North director Rob Lewis, and Lord Bob Kerslake, who was recently appointed Pagabo non-executive chairman.
Connolly said: “Over the next few years, and crucially in the wake of the current pandemic, the companies that will be truly successful are those that are able to collaborate. The exciting point lies in the middle – where small and large tech and construction organisations can work hand in hand to create something really innovative and special.”
Lewis added: “The construction industry can learn from the disruption we are seeing in other sectors like health. Here we are seeing shifting attitudes in terms of what people expect from their health, and this is leading to technology applications, such as measures to personalise health interventions. Mixed reality is also proving incredibly valuable as a learning tool – and these technologies could find wide application in construction too.”
As part of its ongoing work, Pagabo will also be carrying out research and work into fuelling skills and training.
Toplass continued: “Another big pressure on the industry we have to consider is the ageing workforce. We could lose up to 25% of our existing workforce by 2030 as people reach retirement age or are no longer able to work due to health reasons. The workforce of tomorrow will want – and expect – things such as technology-driven practices and improved work life balance. This means that it has never been more crucial to ensure that construction is seen not just as a job, but an enticing career option.
“We must ensure that the skills gap we are currently facing doesn’t widen, and that training is fit for the new practices that digital transformation will bring. We are looking forward to working with our collaborators across the industry to identify and develop new training programmes, as well as ensuring that the existing workforce is able to upskill and reskill where appropriate.”
Speaking about the key pressures on the sector, Lord Kerslake said: “The construction industry was already facing a number of challenges before the Covid-19 pandemic came about, and these challenges will remain when the pandemic is over. What we do about issues such as sustainability as well as skills and training will shape what the industry will look like in the coming decades.
“The current pandemic has simply enhanced the need to focus on these long-term issues, so it is critical that we must not lose sight of them or miss the opportunity to drive for change.”
Toplass concluded: “Every organisation needs a USP today, but this does not mean that we cannot create industry-wide collaboration to get to where we need to be. There are big things to come, and we are welcoming any and all organisations in the construction sector to join us and play a part in building a better tomorrow for us all.”