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Tue, 31 March 2020

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New report highlights the importance of the construction sector to society

New report highlights the importance of the construction sector to society

Chartered Institute of Building

4 min read Member content

This week in Parliament the CIOB launched their new report, showcasing the true value of the construction industry in the UK.

Speaking at the launch of the Chartered Institute of Building’s (CIOB) new report, The Real Face of Construction 2020, Alex Cunningham MP said: “We’ve got to make sure that opportunities that the construction industry can bring forward are spread around the country.

“That’s why getting an accurate picture of the industry in this report is so important, the contribution it makes to our economy, how it can contribute even more so in the future.”

The report, The Real Face of Construction 2020, showcases the true extent of the construction industry in the UK.

The report analyses each economic region of Great Britain, providing a snapshot of the local and regional differences and opportunities, helping to recognise and understand the complexities of the construction industry and what it takes to create our built environment.

Hidden industry

The report also examines how the full role played by the construction sector in society is often overlooked.

Caroline Gumble, Chief Executive Officer of the CIOB, also spoke at the event: “The work the construction industry does can often be taken for granted and diminished, minimised,” she said.

She explained how the current narrow definition of the UK construction industry fails to take into account the significant role played by those in the broader sector, for example, architects, engineers, and quantity surveyors.

Ms Gumble also described how the current definition also does not include those involved increasingly in offsite construction and other technological innovations. These are often defined as manufacturing.

“The construction industry affects everyone, influences productivity and wellbeing, creating homes, hospitals, schools, workplaces and infrastructure essential for a good quality of life,” said Ms Gumble.

She urged MPs to use the data to educate themselves and their constituents.

“We want our report to be seen as an aid and a resource to guide policymakers and those attempting to understand his highly complex but extremely exciting and innovative industry.”

“The construction industry is the hidden industry of this country,” said Lord Stunell.

Citing large infrastructure projects underway in the UK such as HS2, the Liberal Democrat Peer said: “none of those things is deliverable without a functioning and successful construction industry.”


With Brexit on the horizon, the MP for Stockton North addressed the future bearing that this could have on the industry.

New immigration rules, he said will have a “huge impact” on sectors such as construction.

“We can take the challenge and promote construction as a desirable career path for young people of this country to make up for the gap,” he said.

Referring to the recently announced post-Brexit immigration reforms, Lord Stunell said: “If it’s not very strongly associated with a huge increase in skills and in apprenticeships and in developments of our productivity in the construction sector, you are going to find it very difficult to deliver the things you need to do.”

“This report is one brick in the wall of building solutions, but there are many more bricks that are needed before we get to the successful outcoming that we need to have a flourishing construction industry,” he said.

“We need careful, integrated policymaking at a local regional and nation level, because sectors such as construction can have a huge impact,” Alex Cunningham MP said.

 “There are young people out there who desperately need well paid decent jobs, opportunities that the construction industry could well give them.

“Then we can also help tackle some of the greater problems in our society, such as that lack of affordable housing,” he continued.

“CIOB and our sister professional bodies need to make the case for our sector which is often overlooked but is vital to our economy and important to our society,” said Ms Gumble.

“The construction industry has so much to offer.

“I for one look forward to working with the CIOB to further highlight the challenges and the opportunities,” Mr Cunningham concluded.


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