Northern Ireland’s elections an opportunity to support the construction sector, says CIOB
With the Northern Ireland Assembly elections due to take place on 5 May 2022, CIOB (the Chartered Institute of Building) has published a comprehensive manifesto, calling on the new MLAs (Members of the Legislative Assembly) to work with the construction sector.
The Institute is making the case that, fundamentally, the quality of our built environment affects every member of society, influencing productivity and well-being at home and at work. Furthermore, given the circumstances of the past couple of years, the construction sector has demonstrated its strengths and resilience and was crucial in supporting the economy throughout lockdown. Supporting the construction sector presents an opportunity to “build back and shape a Northern Ireland that is fit for future generations”.
The key priorities as outlined in the CIOB’s manifesto include:
• Create a stable policy environment for the construction sector with long-term strategies for housing and retrofit, a national development plan, and accompanying financial commitments
• Ringfence funding for the development of an A-level in construction and help support the pipeline of talent coming into the sector
• Introduce public procurement measures that require employers to sign-up to sector-led Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Charters
• Develop retrofit education and training to support construction technicians and professionals in developing the skills they will need to decarbonise the existing building stock
The manifesto also calls for a commitment to adopt a Wellbeing of Future Generations Bill in Northern Ireland, based on the Welsh Wellbeing of Future Generations Act (2015). The Act in Wales, the first of its kind, looks to combat the short-termism inherent in modern democracies and has the potential to ensure that policy is joined up and works for the long-term, particularly when it comes to the built environment.
CIOB’s manifesto has been researched and written by the Institute’s Hub members, many of whom are key players in the industry in Northern Ireland, along with Joseph Kilroy, the CIOB’s Policy and Public Affairs Manager for Ireland.
Joseph Kilroy said: “The last two years have seen the launch of a Skills Strategy for Northern Ireland, a Housing Supply Strategy, a Programme for Government Framework, a Climate Change Bill, and a series of reforms to public procurement, all of which directly impact the built environment.
CIOB has contributed to each of these initiatives through consultation responses and direct engagement with public bodies. With this upcoming election, 2022 is the time to drive each of these policy areas forward, and to equip Northern Ireland to deal with the challenges that will face its built environment for the remainder of this decade. It is with this in mind that we are setting out CIOB’s vision for the future of Northern Ireland’s built environment in this manifesto.”
You can read CIOB’s Northern Ireland manifesto on their website: www.ciob.org/industry/politics-government/campaigns/NI-elections