Dr Noble Francis – Economics Director, Construction Products Association
Making sense of the UK economy
- There has been economic growth since the referendum, driven by consumers rather than business investment
- For construction, the commercial sector remains the most negatively impacted by Brexit
- Dr Francis presented possible Brexit options and likely outcomes (see slides)
- He highlighted that the carbon economy and sustainability are rising up the political and economic agenda again
Martin Taylor – Director of Regulatory Policy, Local Authority Building Control
A new era of Fire Safety in Construction and the implication of changes drawn from the Hackitt Review on product selection, working practices and wider performance issues.
- The focus on High Risk Residential Buildings has started, but there is more regulatory change to come
- Much of the discussion is focussing on new build, but control will extend to existing HRRB’s.
- A series of ‘gateway points’ are being incorporated into the building safety regime for high-rise residential buildings in England, requiring the responsible dutyholder to demonstrate compliance at set points during design and construction.
- Detailed work is starting on how to structure the Joint Regulator comprising of the HSE, Building Control and the Fire and Rescue Service.
- Skills shortages and resource constraints are a concern in the Building Control sector too.
Fergus Harradence, Deputy Director Construction, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Construction 2025 – a new Industrial Strategy – Payment, Competence, Quality and Safety – the view from Government.
Fergus highlighted the following risks/key impacts on construction from a socio-economic perspective
- Brexit – UK due to leave EU on the 31 January. Withdrawal Agreement, leaving without a WA and a further extension all possibilities. Ongoing uncertainty until after the General Election.
- Insurance – market tightening, especially for PI insurance. Premia increasing, excess levels increasing, and policies covering fewer activities. Driven by Grenfell and Carillion, and the perception that construction is high-risk.
- Building Safety – expect new legislation to be introduced to Parliament to implement the recommendations of the Hackitt Review.
- Reverse Charge VAT – introduction of this will be a challenge for the sector. Significant cash flow implications for firms in the subcontracting chain.
- Competition – series of CMA investigations into demolitions, groundworks, concrete pipework, fit-out contractors. More focus on the sector and a publicity campaign in 2020.
- Fair Payment – Fergus outlined that Government remained concerned about practice in the industry, some action had been taken, but more to be done.
Defect free construction, Martin Adie, MAC Construction
Productivity in construction is not improving, too much time is spent snagging and redoing. How do we move to defect free through quality management and a focus on product, process and people?
- Martin provided some indicative figures on re-work rates in their business and roughly how much this may be costing
- He interrogated the key factors that impact quality in terms of People, The Environment, Cost and Time
- He used the new FIS PPP Quality Management Tool to help drive a PDCA Quality Assuurance Process (Plan Act Check Do)
- Finally he looked at definitions of competence and where to prioritise efforts
Wellbeing and your workforce, Nathan Shearman, Red Umbrella
Attacking the mental health challenge in construction. Red Umbrella looks at underlying issues and finding new ways to support our workforce.
- 4 million days were lost due to mental health, 57% of all absenteeism is due to mental health and the estimated cost to UK employers is £33 – £42 billion per year
- 75% of all suicides are completed by men. Suicide is now the leading cause of death in men under 50.
- Males working in a skilled trade – including building finishing trades – are twice as likely to attempt suicide than the general population
- Nathan went on to interrogate some of the causes and how to develop a Mental Health and Work Plan.
The art of getting paid, David Rintoul, Partner, Clarkslegal
Late payment is a blight on construction, but final account settlement is about so much more. This session focussed on ensuring you get paid on time and manage those dreaded variations.
- It is important to understand what is a variation and what it can cover (from a contractual perspective). David referenced key JCT clauses.
- David explored (using relevant case law) when a notice is a “condition precedent”
- He outlined what must be included in a variation notice
- David underpinned the significance of interim valuation dates and the reciprocal pay-less notices
- The session ended with an open discussion on common disputes
Communication in a changing world, David Ing, Managing Director, Fabrick
With a sector under scrutiny and going through major changes, managing brand reputation and communicating with customers has never been so important. With so many communication tools at your disposal and digital revolutionising the way we interact, what do companies need to do to drive effective brand communications?
- David started to analyse the different channels that we have available (social media, digital, pr etc) and how to prioritise these
- He highlighted the importance of deep content, such as case studies, technical features, interviews, videos, blogs and viewpoints
- He went on to describe how to use content to engage, inform and ultimately influence
- David highlighted that crisis can happen and communication in crisis is critical, he provided some top tips to support this work
Building wellbeing into fit-out, Elina Grigoriou, Grigoriou Interiors
How the design of interior spaces impacts wellbeing. Analysing a variety of factors such as light, biophilia, indoor air quality and colour and the impact they are having on productivity in the UK.
- Elina provided summary of her recently published book, Wellbeing in Interiors, Philosophy, Design and Value in Practice
- She highlighted that wellbeing is achieved when there is harmony between the people and the interior
- She provided insight into the 8 key pillars of wellbeing in a building
- Elina completed the presentation with a number of key case studies that embody the principles of wellbeing
Managing your risks, Gavin Dunn, CEO, CABE
Understanding your risks and the elusive Golden Thread is pivotal in a post Grenfell world. This workshop focussed on competency frameworks and how to ensure that we exchange the right information and manage relationships from design through to construction to reduce risk and improve safety and quality.
- Gavin looked at some of the ground truths that underpin some of the current challenges that lay before our Industry. He interrogated the Building Safety Issues and highlighted that despite reports of skills issues, only 14% of the construction sector workforce and 11% from ethnic minorities.
- Gavin used the Oxgang School Case study to look at some of the quality failings
- He interrogated what The Golden Thread identified in the Hackett Report means and finally how CABE and the wider Construction Engineering Community are rethinking competence and the importance of CPD