Under construction: the building industry sets out its priorities for the next government
Following one of the most unpredictable and surprising general elections in recent years, building industry representatives give their reaction and set out their priorities for the next government.
As the Conservative party prepares to begin its second term, the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) is keen to engage MPs on the issues facing the construction industry.
The organisation, which represents construction management professionals who work within the built environment, is committed to briefing new parliamentarians on the importance of the sector.
According to CIOB’s Policy & Public Affairs Manager, Eddie Tuttle: “The quality of the built environment affects every aspect of society. This presents the industry with a number of challenges, and a number of opportunities to deliver real, long lasting change.
“What is clear is the sector’s contribution to the economy. Here in the UK, the construction industry officially accounts for around 6.3% of GDP and 10% of total employment – although we believe these figures under-represent the true reach of the industry.
“With a shrinking skills base, the sector is facing a number of challenges – not least the challenge to deliver more homes and infrastructure than we have witnessed previously.”
Boosting the construction workforce and addressing the skills shortage through greater support for apprenticeships, training and mentoring schemes is crucial, the CIOB insists.
However, Mr Tuttle warns that “whilst pledges that detail a commitment to the number of apprenticeships and graduates represent a significant shift in the right direction - and will undoubtedly help the industry with its response to the current skills shortage, there is a pressing need to change the image of the construction industry in order to attract the best, and the most skilled individuals.
“To achieve this, the industry needs strong leadership and greater recognition - across the political spectrum - of its strategic importance. By establishing a close dialogue with industry professionals the next government has the potential to raise the profile of construction and alter the public persona of a career in construction.”
After election campaigning in which pledges on house-building featured heavily the CIOB would like to see at least 200,000 new homes built annually, with added emphasis on quality.
The organisation is also calling for smarter regulation of the building industry in the wake of fewer minimum standards as well as greater investment in R&D and digital technologies, such as Building Information Modelling (BIM).
Looking ahead Tuttle concludes that “the success of the next government will be measured by its ability to deliver on its pledges and work with industry to deliver real, long lasting change.”
The CIOB will draw further attention to these issues through engagement with stakeholders and attendance at future Party Conferences. It will also use the first few weeks of the new government to brief the new intake of MPs through its ‘Guide to the built environment’, launched at the Political Party Conferences last year.
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