Build UK sets out action plan

A formal alliance of 27 of construction’s biggest contractors with 40 niche trade associations representing 11,500 specialist contractors is officially launched today.

Build UK claims to provide “for the first time, a single voice for the whole of the contracting supply chain and offers a real opportunity to transform the construction sector”.

It was formed as a result of a merger between UK Contractors Group and the National Specialist Contractors Council (NSCC). It does not replace the 40 constituent organisations of the NSCC.

Build UK’s leadership has set itself five priorities with the focus on the construction industry putting its own house in order rather than lobbying government for change. These are:

•          The image of construction

“Build UK will focus on inspiring young people and those looking for a change of career to choose construction whilst at the same time motivating the workforce to stay within the industry.”

•          The industry’s skills needs

“Build UK will ensure that the outcome of construction training and qualifications delivered by or on behalf of the industry meets the needs of employers and that sufficient employment and apprenticeship opportunities are available to maintain a skilled and professional workforce.”

•          Effective pre-qualification

“Build UK will develop and implement a solution to the current bureaucratic and repetitive process of pre-qualification that meets the needs of clients and other stakeholders and is beneficial to the construction supply chain.”

•          Health and safety performance

“Build UK will identify where common standards would significantly improve health and safety performance and it will take the opportunity to address some long-standing customs to eliminate waste and demonstrate the value of sharing best practice in reducing accidents and ill health.”

•          Fair payment practices.

“Build UK will bring together the contracting supply chain to consider what best payment practice in construction looks like and present appropriate business models that will result  in a thriving construction industry capable of delivering the necessary infrastructure and built environment across the UK.”

Overseeing Build UK’s strategy will be a board with equal representation from main and specialist contractors. Joint chairmen are James Wates from the Wates Group/UKCG and Kevin Louch from Stanford/ The Association of Concrete Industrial Flooring Contractors (ACIFC). Fellow board directors are Paul Abson (Bouygues UK), Mark Castle (Mace Group), Greg Craig (Skanska), Matt Nicholson (Lakesmere/National Federation of Roofing Contractors, Julie White (D-Drill/ Drilling & Sawing Association) and Steve Bratt, CEO of the Electrical Contractors’ Association.

Build UK chief executive is Suzannah Nichol, who previously managed the NSCC. She said: “Today is the culmination of an exciting year bringing two leading organisations together and we are now looking

forward to working with our members and partners to deliver real and lasting change on the issues that matter. By getting the right people around the table and having honest and open debates, we are confident that Build UK will be able to deliver progress, not just for the contracting supply chain but the wider industry and its clients.”