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Boris’ Recovery Plan Must Deliver Jobs and Cash, says BESA

Boris’ Recovery Plan Must Deliver Jobs and Cash, says BESA
07 July 2020

The Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) is promoting a three-stage plan to ensure construction can play a major role in the UK’s economic recovery.

The Association believes the strategy drawn up by the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) could pave the way for a more productive and profitable sector that is better able to meet the Prime Minister’s ambition for the country to “build back better”.

In a public address on 30 June 2020, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson revealed his “New Deal” for post-COVID economic recovery, stressing plans to " build fantastic new homes on brownfield sites and other areas with better transport." 

BESA and the CLC want to promote their three-phase process of maximising employment and strengthening supply chains, culminating in “digital and off-site manufacturing techniques, delivering better value and working in long-term collaborative teams.”


“90 per cent of people spend 90 per cent of their time in buildings…so if we succeed there will be huge societal benefits”

–David Frise

Chief Executive, BESA

Pipeline, Productivity and Cash


BESA has joined one of the key working groups charged with developing the CLC strategy and believes there must be an urgent focus on protecting jobs and improving business confidence.

Chief Executive David Frise commented: “The government has some huge plans for infrastructure work and for building new schools and hospitals. However, the main priorities for our members right now are: pipeline, productivity and cash.

“This is a very uncertain time so they are, rightly, nervous and that makes it hard for them to make investment decisions that will be critical to delivering the recovery strategy. They will need to see evidence that the pipeline of work is flowing.”

A representative from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) agreed, commenting that construction would play a crucial part in the country’s economic recovery, but that the industry’s capacity “is a concern”.


Retaining Talent, Res-Skilling and Re-Deploying


The representative told a webinar hosted by BESA that more than 500,000 people left the sector during the last recession, and stressed the importance of retaining talent, re-skilling and re-deploying skilled people to stop it happening again.” 

The BEIS spokesman also noted the need for “massive culture change”.

“The industry must recognise that post-COVID, we will not be going to back to where we were before. We must have better partnerships and improved efficiency to deliver better value to clients…we must avoid a race to the bottom [on quality and price].”

Frise said the two-year CLC roadmap should take its inspiration from the best examples seen during the Covid-19 crisis including instances of better collaboration between supply chains.

“90 per cent of people spend 90 per cent of their time in buildings…so if we succeed there will be huge societal benefits,” he added.


Three Month Restart Phase


The CLC envisages a three-month “restart” phase where output grows, employment is maximised and disruption to projects is minimised by the avoidance of damaging disputes.

This would lead onto a “reset” period during the following ten months where demand is driven, there is a fresh approach to compensate for loss of productivity created by the new safe working practices and supply chains are strengthened.

The strategy culminates with a 12-month “reinvent” period when the industry is transformed by the greater adoption of digital and off-site manufacturing techniques, delivering better value and working in long-term collaborative teams.

The CLC’s objective is to transform the construction sector and drive industry improvement.  It draws together business leaders from across the sector to identify how to promote solutions to meet Construction 2025’s ambition of 33 per cent reduction in cost, 50 per cent reduction in project time, 50 per cent reduction in carbon emissions and 50% reduction in the trade gap.

Picture: A photograph of two people examining some building plans on a desk

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 07 July 2020


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