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ECA experts comment on industry recovery plan

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ECA’s professional team comment on the key features of the CLC Roadmap to Recovery, published on 1 June.

The CLC recovery plan has three stages – restart, reset and reinvent – which aim to kickstart and modernise the industry over the next two years.

Rob Driscoll, ECA director of legal and business, backed the plans to reform industry procurement: “It’s positive to see CLC acknowledge the financial and legal cliff-edge that the industry could face, and that it offers a plan to steer away from this, towards growth and prosperity. ECA has continually supported and influenced CLC’s work on whole life procurement, together with fairer contracts and payment systems. With a predictive pipeline of demand, industry has a greater opportunity to re-invent itself, placing less focus on construction costs and more focus on the total value of assets in the built environment.”

Mike Smith, ECA director of technical, backed the focus on digitalisation and building safety: “ECA supports the CLC’s emphasis on digitalisation to transform the industry. However, adoption of digital technologies, such as BIM, has been mixed within construction so far. Changes in procurement models, alongside greater collaboration, will be required to deliver these changes.

“Building safety is rightly another crucial element of the recovery plan. ECA are actively engaged in industry working groups to set the standards and ensure that competency levels meet the high expectations of employers, Government and the public”.

Paul Reeve, ECA director of CSR, welcomed the CLC’s support for higher standards of health and safety, which he says are, “essential to protect the industry’s workforce and to underpin a viable way forward. There will be considerable challenges – and opportunities – in the health and safety area, notably as we engage with the ‘new normal’.

“It’s encouraging that the Roadmap mentions mental health, and we need to address the issues that affect far too many, from site employee through to top manager. For example, the mental distress to owners, employees and families when companies are not paid fairly, or on time, has been well documented.”

Andrew Eldred, ECA director of employment and skills, said plans for direct employment and modernised training were positive developments: “ECA backs the CLC’s support for direct employment, net zero carbon and digital upskilling, and apprenticeships. Above all, by working swiftly and decisively on direct employment, Government and industry can radically improve the UK’s prospects of developing a qualified, competent, committed and technologically literate workforce.

“Possessing such a workforce is a necessary pre-condition if we are to have any hope of achieving other Roadmap objectives, including better site safety performance, safer and more environmentally sustainable buildings, a stronger culture of innovation, and improved workforce wellbeing.”

Luke Osborne, ECA energy advisor, added that plans for a green recovery were vitally important: “ECA welcomes CLC’s recognition of the importance of a ‘green recovery’, both for our industry and society. Bringing sustainable and ‘low-to-no-carbon’ solutions forward will help to increase jobs, productivity and economic growth, and give the UK a fighting chance of meeting its net zero carbon commitment.

“Additionally, modern off-site manufacturing offers the potential for quicker recovery, with considerable savings in cost, time and carbon emissions – notably for repeatable projects such as housing.”

The recovery plan has been developed by participants on the CLC’s coronavirus industry taskforce, which includes ECA CEO Steve Bratt, as well as representatives of BEIS and other trade bodies.

To read the full CLC recovery plan, please click here.

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