Guest blog: Influencing the stability of the construction industry
In a world that is aiming for better, faster and greener delivery, the Save Construction Initiative (SCI) is an industry-driven taskforce influencing the stability of the UK construction sector. We represent the people, and act as the voice of the collective.
Why is this important?
The UK construction sector is consistently ranked number one for insolvency, with more than 3,000 firms failing every year. This number is far greater than any other sector, and causes significant economic, social and environmental harm. It is anticipated that this figure will exceed 6,000 organisations in 2023, creating a debt to the country running into the millions.
National skills shortage
We are at crisis point. The construction sector has an aging workforce. The average age of a construction worker is 42.5 years old and young people are not entering at the same rate. The construction industry has been plagued by catastrophic events such as the collapse of big companies, recession, and the pandemic. All of which has had a detrimental effect on the industry’s reputation and discourages applicants.
There is a distinct separation between policy and people. We are attempting to bridge the gap by encouraging collaborative working. The IED’s current work in this area, and its From the Ground Up – Improving the Delivery of Social Value in Construction report, is valuable.
Beyond these three aspects, as a sector, we have the highest number of suicides. There are circa 700 suicides per annum – that is two construction workers per day. Referring to the Greater Manchester Mayoral report, emphasis has been placed on homelessness and mental health. Construction is a breeding ground for both.
So, what is our focus?
The SCI is taking a stand for its people, their livelihoods, and their future. We are here to make the industry and its people resilient and challenge behaviours that make the sector vulnerable.
The construction sector is one of the leaders of the global economy. It is a sector that employs 2.66 million people and a sector considered fundamental for contributing towards economic growth of the nation and delivering the services that society relies upon. Insolvency, skills shortages, and suicide should not be words associated with a sector that is still considered one of the highest paid industries, with an average salary of more than £45,000.
As a taskforce, the SCI is doing great things under our themes.
We are working with industry stakeholders to build a more stable construction industry.
We are supporting research surrounding stability of the industry and the factors that make it more vulnerable to failure than other industries.
We are lobbying government for marketplace stability, through policy development in areas of planning, finance, procurement, research, and innovation.
We are working towards implementing new industry-wide practices that enable the stability of the construction industry.
We are seeking to underpin the stability of the construction industry by improving people outcomes.
To date, we have the backing of reputable government leaders and have forged alliances with key professional bodies, including the Chartered Institute of Building, Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers, National Federation of Builders and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, and the IED is also supportive.
The Save Construction Initiative is positively boosting enthusiasm for a change coalition to challenge behaviours that are consistently causing a decline in our sector. We are supporting Build Back Better aiding professional development of our people to shape people’s life chances and encouraging young people into the sector.
Zoe Brooke is CEO of Save Construction Initiative, a not-for-profit organisation that is steered by a group of volunteers drawn from a mix of industry professionals.
NOT JUST MEN & MUDDY BOOTS
On 16th May 2023, to coincide with UKREiiF 2003, the SCI is launching its campaign “Not Just Men & Muddy Boots”. This campaign aligns perfectly to its manifesto to create a resilient workforce under its People theme, and the Construction Leadership Council’s People & Skills Network Industry Initiative. Promotional videos starring Tik Tok sensation, Jacob Paski, and a wide variety of young northwest professionals have been funded by SCI event ticket sales.
How you can get involved?
On 16th May, the first video will be circulated to every Greater Manchester Combined Authority and Liverpool City Region Combined Authority school and college.
Running parallel with the release of these videos, the SCI will be encouraging industry participation to: