THE Construction Industry Collective Voice (CICV) has welcomed the launch of the new Scottish Construction Accord but warns the industry to build on the opportunity.
Launched last week by Scottish Government Minister Ivan McKee, the new initiative is a collaboration between the industry and the public sector.
As the first of its kind in the UK, the CICV said the Accord was “a significant step forward.”
But to make it work, adherents would have to exhibit the same spirit of collaboration, cooperation and commitment that helped steer the sector through the coronavirus pandemic.
Alan Wilson, Managing Director of SELECT and chair of the CICV, said: “A lot of work has gone into this plan, including significant input from the industry itself.
“This is the first really concrete sign of a serious inclination to change our ways of working for the better.
“Importantly, the Accord acknowledges that there are real and longstanding issues which urgently need to be addressed.
“Equally importantly, it also recognises that time is running out if we are to achieve net zero targets.
“However, there have been a number of false starts before, so we must all embrace this opportunity in a positive manner and demonstrate willingness to square up to the challenges that we face collectively as an industry.”
The Accord sets out collaborative working arrangements to develop and deliver a transformation plan for the sector.
Setting the industry on a pathway to net zero and focusing on building the capability and diversity of the workforce, reforming procurement practices and increasing the use of digital technology and modern methods of construction.
At the launch, Ivan McKee, the Minister for Business, Trade, Tourism and Enterprise, called on industry stakeholders with ideas and capacity to participate in working groups within the Accord.
He said: “The Accord heralds a new shared commitment from industry and the public sector to work together to transform the construction sector, for the good of the industry, the economy and the country.”
Len Bunton a construction consultant who recently received a Lifetime Achievement Award from SELECT, said he welcomed the Accord but would like to see it go even further and address issues which he has been campaigning to improve for decades.
He said: “If the Accord is to work, there must be buy-in from everyone in the industry.
“It is the only way to tackle issues such as late and withheld payments that continue to blight the sector.
“I welcome its recommendations but would like to go even further, getting rid of onerous amendments to building contracts, cutting out the ‘dumping’ risk on contractors and increasing professional fees so that designers can fully design buildings at tender stage.
“I’d also like to see prompter payments, an improvement in cashflow and quality, the threshold on project bank accounts cut to £500,000 and universal adoption of the Conflict Avoidance Process.
“It remains to be seen if all this will happen but at least we have taken the first step.
“It is now up to the industry to demonstrate if it really does want to change.”
Made up of 28 trade associations, professional services bodies and companies, the CICV evolved out of the Construction Industry Coronavirus Forum, which was created in March 2020 to help steer the sector through the pandemic.
Over the past two years it has maintained a steady supply of information and practical advice as well as carrying out surveys, producing animations and posters, hosting webinars and maintaining close dialogue with Scottish Government.