Construction News

Fri August 14 2020

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Welsh construction forum aims to Build Back Better

8 Jul A new construction forum to help the Welsh economy recovery from the impact of coronavirus met for the first time yesterday.

The forum brings together leading figures from the public and private sectors across Wales’ construction industry. It is chaired by the country’s deputy minister for economy and transport Lee Waters and attended by minister for housing and local government Julie James,

The Wales Construction Federation Alliance (WCFA), comprising six industry trade associations, presented a 12-point recovery plan (see below).

Ed Evans, director of the  Civil Engineering Contractors Association Wales, which is part of the WCFA, said: “Following the devastating impacts of Covid-19 and, before that, a decade of austerity measures, the need for the public and private sectors to work closely together across Wales and to support each other has never been more important than now.

“As an industry which contributes so much to the resilience of Wales’ economy, employing and training thousands of people across the nation, we welcome the establishment of this Forum as a means for the public and private sectors to work closely in partnership. Throughout the pandemic, businesses have worked hard to maintain essential infrastructure and have developed safe working practices to do so.”

Deputy minister for economy and transport Lee Waters said: “Construction is a crucial sector in Wales, employing tens of thousands of people and will be vital in supporting the growth of the economy in the aftermath of this pandemic.

“I am very pleased to be chairing this forum which brings together key figures as we plan for the future success of the industry. Clearly at the forefront of our thinking will be how we support the development of an innovative fit for purpose construction sector over the next few years.

“Decarbonisation must form part of that discussion and is at the very heart of our green recovery plans. This will not only help build a more resilient economy based on the industries we need now and in the future, but also meet the underlying challenges of public health, climate change, and fairness.

“Coronavirus has had an unprecedented impact and we want to not only recover from its effects on our economy, but to build back better and see Wales thriving once again.”

Wales Construction Federation Alliance: Immediate post-Covid19 recovery tasks (Restart phase) – 12-point plan

1. Public sector clients to set out a clear short term (6-12 month) investment programme to build confidence and stimulate immediate public sector infrastructure/construction projects.

2. Public sector clients to expedite design & planning phases of projects in their pipeline to ensure continuity of work to suppliers.

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3. Public sector clients to support contractors to restart and to apply the supplier relief measures set out in PPN02/20.

4. Public sector clients commit to following Welsh government endorsed guidance on responsible contractual behaviour and consider adoption of the Conflict Avoidance Pledge.

5. Industry to share information about material and product supply and demand across construction firms, materials producers, product producers and merchants.

6. Industry and CITB to develop sector specific guidance on safe operating procedures based on good practices.

7. Industry and CITB to provide training on implementing coronavirus guidance in the workplace.

8. CITB to produce distance learning resources for apprentices.

9. Welsh government to encourage all Local Planning Authorities and statutory consultees to adopt a flexible and business focused approach to all planning matters to help facilitate development.

10. Public sector clients to support contractors through prompt/early payment processes as set out in supplier relief measures in PPN02/20.

11. Public sector clients to release retention monies to increase cashflow across the industry as supported by PPN02/20.

12. Welsh government to provide a statement to businesses that future investment in housing assets and infrastructure will be dependent on meeting decarbonisation targets.

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