At the end of June, our Chairman Matt Bennion, was invited to take part in a webinar hosted by Mail Manager entitled The Road to Recovery Leadership Panel. We asked him to share his views on how the construction industry can emerge from the current crisis.
Our panel followed the publication of the Construction Leadership Council’s Roadmap to Recovery at the beginning of June, which set out the steps needed to drive how we adjust to a new normal. We explored restarting work onsite and gathering momentum; and ultimately becoming stronger and better than before.
The overwhelming consensus is that we need to start with the right behaviours and attitudes at a time when the pressure is on to survive, let alone thrive. Being supportive, positive, realistic and professional are all critical to avoid the industry taking one step forward and two steps back.
It starts at the top, with Government. We welcome announcements about investment in the built environment, particularly its recent pledge to provide £1 billion funding for 50 major school building projects in England and a further £560m for repairs. We also support its ongoing commitment to off-site modular construction, driving efficiency and speed of delivery.
That said, there are still concerns about allocation of risk and payment moving forward and I look forward to the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) paper coming out shortly to try to address these matters. Whatever happens, for economic stability as well as regrowth, we need to work together to get the pipeline moving, pricing fairly so we can deliver and retain talent, avoiding skills shortages later down the line. It’s about having a short and long-term view simultaneously.
While we’re doing that, we need to reposition how our industry is viewed by the general public. The RICS, with its inaugural Social Impact Awards, is making the right moves – we need to frame construction around the positive impact it has, to people’s lives and our economy. It is an enabler and what we build delivers an outcome, whether that’s educating the next generation, making great places to live or creating green spaces that enliven our spirits. It’s how we add value, fulfil a need by being customer focused, and see space as a service, not the process we follow to get there.
We must embrace this unforeseen and unusual opportunity to do things better, to accelerate change. I have written before about the need to embrace technology and more efficient methods, and off-site construction is definitely one of these. It has vociferous support from all quarters, which is great, but we need to actively repurpose skills in our industry to allow for more capacity so we can deliver what is needed quickly and to the highest quality.
How our industry survives is dependent on how we behave today when things are toughest. We need to protect our industry, support everyone in it, come together to innovate for the future and transform the way our industry works. I’m excited about what we can achieve. I’m all in! If you are too, please get in touch via our website or on email and let’s see how we can partner for positive change.
Watch the webinar below:
The panel comprised of:
Our own Matt Bennion - Chairman at Reds10
Andy Steele – CEO at Osborne
Fergus Harradence – Deputy Director, Construction at Department for Business. Energy, Industrial Strategy (BEIS)
Ann Bentley – Board Director at Rider Levett Bucknall & Member of the Construction Leadership Council