There needs to be an ‘urgent and collaborative response’ from Government and the industry if UK construction is to face up to its challenges and become a world class market in the next decade. That is the key message from Speedy in the company’s first ever pre-election manifesto – ‘Positive change through leadership’.
Launched on Monday 22nd March, the document outlines a package of what it calls ‘priority measures’ designed to fuel future growth, while delivering on the ‘biggest industry challenges in a generation’ such as low carbon and skills development.
Amongst the measures is a call to sustain investment in the built environment across all key government departments, echoing recent remarks by the CBI’s Construction Council and UKCG.
On health and safety, the company said it supported the Government’s current targets for reductions in fatal and major incidents work related illness but ‘strongly opposed’ any reduction in funding for the Health and Safety Executive or diluting of its role, calling instead for additional front line inspectors to improve compliance.
Speaking on skills development, Speedy calls for a cross-industry ‘skills map’ to enable employers to quickly access available labour when the recovery is secured, arguing this should form part of ConstructionSkills’ national and regional skills strategies.
The company also outlines a range of solutions designed to help the industry tackle the low carbon agenda. Its proposals include a new government-endorsed ‘green labelling code’ requiring all tools, plant and equipment to carry independent data on their energy efficiency and emissions, similar to schemes in the automotive industry and for white goods. Any equipment which fails to meet the minimum standard should, it argues, be decommissioned.
Taking a lead from the 2012 Olympics Games site, where Speedy is part of the Construction Site Solutions consortium, it claims emissions caused by site deliveries could be dramatically reduced by with shared on-site facilities for projects over an agreed contract value threshold, as well as mandatory use of low-emission electric vehicles for the movement of goods and equipment – a move pioneered by Speedy in 2007.
Commenting on the manifesto, Steve Corcoran, Speedy’s chief executive officer, said: “We need to create a world-class society. To do this we need the best road and rail networks, the greenest power supply, the fastest communications infrastructure, the most inspiring schools for our children, the most modern hospitals and the highest quality housing. What’s more, we need to deliver them cost-effectively and safely, with a healthy and proud workforce, using methods and materials which minimise environmental impact.”
“If that’s the vision, then creating a world-class built environment industry, whose skills, technologies, standards and services can be delivered domestically and exported globally, has to be the solution.”
“What is required is an urgent, concerted and creative response to encourage commercial investment while promoting and protecting these industries’ contribution to social improvement, to economic prosperity, to regeneration and to environmental protection.”
He added: “Tackling these challenges against the current economic backdrop won’t be easy, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try. It will require a new era of partnership between client and supplier, based on collaborative leadership, shared responsibility and a combined commitment to innovation. At Speedy, we’re ready to play our part.”