Construction industry urged to ’embrace’ new Scottish Building Deal

The construction industry must “embrace” Scotland’s new construction agreement in order to make it effective, the Construction Industry Collective Voice (CICV) has said.

Launched last week by Scottish Government Minister Ivan McKee, the new initiative is a collaboration between industry and the public sector designed to create successful businesses, improve working conditions, improve delivery and transition to net zero. .

As the first of its kind in the UK, the CICV said the Agreement was “a significant step forward” but that to make it work, adherents would need to show the same spirit of collaboration, cooperation and commitment that has helped lead the industry through the coronavirus pandemic.

Alan Wilson, CEO of SELECT and Chairman of the CICV, said: “A lot of work has gone into this plan, including significant input from the industry itself, and this is the first really concrete sign of a serious desire to change our habits. to work for the best.

“Importantly, the Accord recognizes that there are real, long-standing issues that need to be addressed urgently and, just as importantly, it also recognizes that time is running out if we are to achieve net zero goals. .

“However, there have been a number of false starts before, so we must all seize this opportunity in a positive way and demonstrate our resolve to meet the challenges that we collectively face as an industry.”

Fiona Hodgson, Chief Executive of the Plumbing Employers Federation of Scotland and Northern Ireland (SNIPEF) and Vice-Chair of the CICV, said: “The agreement is a significant step forward and an opportunity to make real, practical changes that will benefit everyone. who works in the construction industry.

“The past two years have proven that the three Cs – collaboration, cooperation and engagement – ​​are the key to any success, so we must work together if we are to achieve meaningful change through his recommendations.”

The Agreement establishes modalities for working collaboratively to develop and implement a transformation plan for the sector, setting the industry on a path to net elimination and focusing on capacity building and workforce diversity. work, reforming procurement practices and increasing the use of digital technology and modern construction methods.

At the launch, Mr McKee, Minister for Business, Trade, Tourism and Business and Chairman of the Construction Leadership Forum (CLF), called on industry stakeholders with ideas and capabilities to participate in groups work within the Agreement.

He said: “The Accord heralds a new shared commitment from industry and the public sector to work together to transform the construction sector, for the good of the industry, the economy and the country.”

Vaughan Hart, chief executive of the Scottish Building Federation and chair of the CICV Employment sub-group, said: ‘It is hugely encouraging to see that the issues that the industry has been talking about for years are being taken seriously at the highest levels of government. Scottish and local. government.

“We look forward to working with all parties involved to make this agreement a success and I urge my fellow CICV members and the industry at large to explore the possibility of joining the working groups and helping others. ‘inside.’

Gordon Nelson, Scottish Director of the Federation of Master Builders, added: “The Agreement has the potential to help create entrepreneurs, create new market opportunities, support businesses and productive regions, build a skilled labor and to create a fairer and more equal society.

“But like any construction project, all elements must be strong and cohesive, working in harmony and showing equal levels of commitment to ensure we are building a long-standing legacy for generations to come.”

Len Bunton, a construction consultant who recently received a Lifetime Achievement Award from SELECT, said he welcomes the Accord but would like to see it go even further and address the issues it has been working to improve for the past decades.

He said: “For the Accord to work, there needs to be buy-in from all industry players. This is the only way to tackle issues such as late payments and holdbacks that continue to plague the industry.

“I welcome his recommendations, but would like to go even further, removing onerous amendments to construction contracts, removing the risk of ‘dumping’ for contractors and increasing professional fees so that designers can fully design the buildings at the tender stage.

“I would also like to see faster payments, improved cash flow and quality, the threshold for project bank accounts reduced to £500,000 and universal adoption of the dispute avoidance process. It remains to be seen if all of this will happen but at least we have taken the first step. It is now up to the industry to demonstrate whether it really wants to change.

Made up of 28 trade associations, professional service organizations and companies, the CICV grew out of the Construction Industry Coronavirus Forum, created in March 2020 to help guide the sector during the pandemic.

Over the past two years, he has maintained a constant flow of information and practical advice as well as carrying out surveys, producing animations and posters, organizing webinars and maintaining a dialogue closely with the Scottish Government.