New survey shows uplifts in skills, techniques and manufacturing levels

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UK Construction Week opens on Tuesday, and will bring together a wide spectrum of the construction trade together over three days at the NEC Birmingham (10-12 October). Ahead of the event, UK Construction Week conducted a Brexit survey from over 2,500 industry leaders. The survey canvassed architects, contractors, SME builders, surveyors, engineers, local authorities and many more. 

The survey clearly shows the UK Construction industry wants to discuss the positive impacts of Brexit, with the majority of respondents believing it will force us to solve the skills shortage once and for all by investing in younger generations and encouraging them into the sector. This places extra emphasis on making sure the CITB is fit for purpose, and also supports the Farmer Report, Modernise or Die. Mark Farmer will present his view on what needs to be done following on from the report at UK Construction Week on Wednesday 11 October. 

It also points to resurgence in British building materials, as contractors and house builders protect themselves from any tariffs in future, but also to taking advantage of a blossoming UK manufacturing base. This week’s UK Construction Week is a perfect demonstration of this with major British firms taking centre stage, such as Easy-Trim (Roofing and sealants), Forterra (Bricks and Building Materials), Tufeco (Modular Housing), Potterton (Heating), Portakabin (Modular Buildings) and HG Matthews (Bricks). 

Offsite and Modular construction are also cited as a solution to build quicker in post BREXIT Britain. Event director, Nathan Garnett said “Offsite and Modular Construction is a major theme of UK Construction week in 2017 with over 100 manufacturers and suppliers in the sector exhibiting, an increase of 65% on last year. This is a reflection of how Offsite construction has now become accepted as a mainstream method of construction, increasing speed and productivity in the sector.” 

The best possible example of home grown manufacturing and skills can be exemplified by the stunning world premiere of a two-story modular house at the show. Jon Gunn, CEO of Tufeco and a partner at ATELIO, said: “We see tremendous opportunity in the next few years for us as British manufacturers of world class modular buildings. We have worked in collaboration with Grimshaw, so our project is a real testament to UK skills and knowledge, and are confident our product can be a real advantage in the challenge to build the homes we need in the next decade.” 

  One of UK Construction Week and Timber Expo’s partners, Dougal Driver, CEO of Grown in Britain, said:"It is great to hear the UK Construction Week survey indicates support for British made materials. British-grown timber returns social and economic value back to communities here in the UK, supporting rural jobs and local economies." 

Key survey findings: 

•64% believe BREXIT will force us to solve the skills crisis and invest in younger generations 


•Over 50% said it will make us buy British Building Materials 


•43% believe building material costs will stabilise and 10% think materials prices may actually 
go down 


•53% said we will embrace offsite manufacturing as a solution to the challenges ahead 
Whilst leaving the EU poses challenges, the construction industry is already looking ahead to the positives outcomes Brexit could bring. The UKCW survey however has laid down a very clear mandate for the UK Government to invest more in apprenticeships and support British manufacturing. 
All of these topics will be discussed at UK Construction Week in the Development and Regeneration Hub and the UKCW stage, from 10-12 October at the NEC Birmingham. 


@elecreviewmag