The wide-ranging questionnaire is designed to address multiple issues that have not gone away during the pandemic and suggests that the sector cannot realistically go back to the way it was. Companies in Scotland are now beginning a phased return to work.
The consultation is the latest in a series of initiatives from the forum, which is made up of trade associations, professional services bodies, companies and individuals. It has been disseminating information to the sector throughout the crisis.
“All too often we are told that a body or organisation is the ‘voice’ of a sector but to be the voice, first of all you must listen to what members are saying,” said forum chair Alan Wilson, who is also managing director of Scottish electrical trade body Select. “Being the ‘ears of the industry’ is a concept often sadly forgotten and this piece of work aims do just that – listening to what the industry wants before suggesting options for change.”
The consultation is led by consultant Len Bunton and has been compiled with the input of four lequantity surveying firms, as well as Ian Honeyman, commercial director of the Scottish Building Federation, and Ken Lewandowski, former local chairman of Clydesdale Bank.
Bunton said that, for everyone involved in construction, the ultimate objective for the post-pandemic future must be an industry which is not only fair and transparent but allows contractors and the supply chain to operate profitable businesses.
He said: “The questions in the consultation will be put to the many trade and professional bodies in the forum, as well as their members. The aim is to focus on the step changes which are necessary, the main problems and the potential solutions.
“We want to look at the endemic problems of low tendering, no margins and the lack of regard for competency and experience. Serious cashflow and payment issues, poor quality and health and safety problems are also consistent concerns for the industry.
“We also need to consult with public and private sector clients who are the lifeblood of the industry, as their investment creates employment for the construction sector in Scotland.”
He added: “The consultation makes the point that the CICV Forum, which was quickly and efficiently assembled to deal with the ongoing effects of the shutdown, has demonstrated the desirability of disparate parties coming together to work for the mutual benefit of the sector.”
he Forum, made up of trade associations, professional services bodies, companies and individuals, stepped into the fray immediately in March with advice on how to operate safely while carrying out emergency or essential work.