The Specialist Engineering Contractors’ (SEC) Group has produced a list of priorities for the construction industry.
It wants policy makers in the next government to help:
- remove wasteful practices in order to make the industry more efficient;
- enable small and medium-sized businesses to realise their full growth potential; and
- improve standards across the industry as a whole.
It outlined a number of priorities for the construction industry, including improving payment, reducing carbon emissions and overcoming the skills deficit.
According to the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills, “late payment is more of an issue in construction than in other sectors”. The SEC Group said poor visibility of cash flow, under-capitalisation of large companies and lengthy supply chains cultivate payment abuse that often produces unnecessary cost within projects and, thus, waste.
It said that construction industry payment practices could be made more efficient through wider use of project bank accounts and the digitisation of the payment process, using tools to facilitate greater monitoring and auditing of payment processes.
Legislation requires that carbon emissions are reduced by 80% by 2050 and government has targeted a reduction of 50% by 2025. As much as 60% of UK carbon emissions are from buildings. The SEC Group recommended encouraging incentives for carbon efficiency, the adoption a carbon audit of any public-sector estate prior to commencing a programme of retrofit and to make expertise available to property owners by not-for-profit advisory bodies.
It aso urged government to deliver sustained growth by attracting new talent into the sector, ranging from young people and apprentices through to adult trainees and experienced workers who move to construction from other sectors and require re-skilling or training to undertake specialised roles.
SEC Group is an umbrella body comprising the industry’s trade associations, which include Plumbing and Heating Contractors Alliance, British Constructional Steelwork Association, Electrical Contractors’ Association and Building & Engineering Services Association.