Ahead of the COP 26 summit next week, the Government has published a Net Zero Strategy setting out how the UK will reach net zero emissions by 2050.
The Strategy sets out an economy-wide plan for how British businesses and consumers will be assisted in making the transition to clean energy and will support the creation of thousands of high-skilled jobs in new industries across the UK.
Measures in the plan include:
• bringing forward the deadline for decarbonising the UK’s electricity system from 2050 to 2035 to help build a more resilient energy sector that is less reliant on volatile global supply;
• an Industrial and Hydrogen Revenue Support scheme to support industry to invest in cleaner energy and infrastructure; and,
• improving air quality by providing £2bn of investment to enable half of journeys in towns and cities to be cycled or walked by 2050, the removal of all diesel-only trains by 2040 and ending the sale of all new non-zero emission road vehicles from 2040.
Further information is available on the Government’s Net Zero Strategy is available here.
Gov.UK have published the following updates of draft regulation concerning the Building Safety Bill which is currently going through Parliament. These are:
The Construction Products Regulations 2022
- These regulate the safety of construction products being placed on the UK market.
- Part 2 sets out a general safety requirement which all construction products must meet
- Part 3 sets out provisions with respect to safety-critical products, how safety-critical standards may be developed and by whom (BSI) as well as giving the obligations for economic operators
- Part 4 requires economic operators not to make false or misleading claims about construction products
- Part 5 covers enforcement
- Part 6 makes clear that nothing in the regulation will prevent lawfully CE marked construction products from being placed on the NI market
- Part 7 extends to GB only and makes provision for qualifying NI goods to be placed on the GB market.
The Higher-Risk Buildings (Prescribed Principles for Management of Building Safety Risks) Regulations 2022
These regulations set out the principles an accountable person must follow in taking all reasonable steps to prevent a building safety risk materialising or reducing the severity of any incident resulting from a risk materialising.
Other updates can be found in the following documents:
- The Higher-Risk Buildings (Descriptions and Supplementary Provisions) Regulations 2021
- The Buildings (Appointment of Persons, Industry Competence and Duty holders) (England) Regulations 2021
- The Building (Higher-Risk Buildings) (England) Regulations 2022
- The Building (Restricted Activities and Functions)(Engalnd0 Regulations 2022
All these documents are available here.
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Thousands of working adults will be offered free courses to rapidly upskill in STEM sectors including engineering, digital and construction.
65 short and modular courses will start to roll out from later this month at 10 Institutes of Technology (IoTs) across England in sought-after STEM subjects. This will include courses such as Digitisation of Manufacturing and Digital Construction.
The courses will be a blend of classroom and remote online study, and will vary in length from 50 to 138 hours – giving more adults greater flexibility in how and when they learn, so they can fit it around their lives.
The government’s network of Institutes of Technology – collaborations between leading employers, further education colleges and universities – specialise in delivering high-quality Higher Technical Education and training in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects, such as digital, advanced manufacturing and engineering, providing employers with the skilled workforce they need.
A total of £6.4 million is being invested to support IoTs to offer the free courses, which will support up to 4,000 working adults to get on the path to a new, rewarding career and will plug local skills shortages.
Boosting the uptake and quality of Higher Technical Qualifications – that sit between A levels and degrees – and supporting adults to study more flexibly throughout their lives is a key part of the government’s landmark reforms to post-16 education and training.
A major review of higher technical education revealed these qualifications can unlock the skills employers need and lead to well paid jobs. However, it also shows that the quality of qualifications on offer at further and higher education providers can be variable and it can be hard for students and employers to find the ones that are right for them.
From September 2022, the government will start rolling out newly approved Higher Technical Qualifications, beginning with Digital, and followed by Construction and Health in 2023. A full suite of qualifications will be available by 2025.
Higher Technical Qualifications will provide a natural progression route for both young people taking T Levels or A levels, and adults looking to upskill or retrain – enabling them to take the next step up and gain higher technical skills in key subjects like STEM.
Ahead of the UN climate change conference (COP26) hosted in Glasgow later this month, two briefing sessions will take place next week for businesses to hear from senior UK officials on plans for COP, as well as how they can follow and support the activities going on in the blue and green zones and regional activity.
- Wednesday 20 October 09:00-10:00 BST. Link to join is here
- Thursday 21 October 16:30-17:30 BST. Link to join is here
Small businesses from across the UK are invited to join the green business revolution and commit to becoming more sustainable. By November, the aim is for as many UK small businesses as possible to join the UN’s ‘Race to Zero’, a global effort to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases we all generate to zero by 2050.
Small businesses can sign up to the Race to Zero by visiting the new Business Climate Hub which is an official UK Government site offering practical steps on cutting emissions and inspiring success stories from other businesses. Taking action on climate change will help businesses to grow, seize new opportunities and adapt against the challenges of a changing planet. Reducing emissions can lower running costs, save money, attract new customers and help to start a green business movement.
Has your business or project created a more open and inclusive culture where everyone feels valued?
• Attracted new employees from a wider talent pool?
• Helped address gender or racial inequality in the industry?
• Removed barriers to inclusion, enabling all employees and potential employees to have the same opportunities?
• Increased employability rates in the community?
• Helped tackle issues in today’s society?
• Built collaborative relationships with stakeholders and suppliers?N
Now in its fifth year, the Inspiring Change Awards and Conference highlight and reward organisations within the construction and infrastructure sector that have created a more inclusive culture. Creating open and inclusive workplace cultures in which everyone feels valued, and respects colleagues, is recognised as key to business success. Increasingly, employees want to work in companies that recognise the importance of fairness, inclusion and respect and clients are focussing on diversity and inclusion within their procurement policies.
Submissions to the 2021 Awards are asked to provide evidence that the organisation recognises the value of employee and/or community engagement and that they have introduced initiatives that have achieved benefits for both the business and the community. Entries needed to show how initiatives are aligned to company goals, made a sustainable and positive impact on the workforce or community in which it operates and have delivered positive results.
Judges are looking for innovative interventions that are aligned to company strategy and will inspire other employers to follow their lead. The awards recognise businesses that improve the quality of life of the workforce and their families as well as of the local community and society at large.
The following categories will be awarded:
• Inspiring Change in the Workplace – Company and Project
• Inspiring Change in the Community – Company and Project
• Inspiring Change in Education – Company and Project
• The FIR Inspiration Award
• Inspiring Change SME Award – SMEs entering one of the three main categories will automatically be entered for this Award
The Inspiring Change 2021 Awards are eligible for all those working in the construction industry and build environment in the UK. There are awards for SMEs and project-based initiatives. The deadline for entry is 22 October 2021. For more information visit www.inspiringchangeawards.com or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Construction T-Levels are now available for the following areras of our sector:
- Design, surveying and planning
- Onsite construction with an occupational specialism in plastering which includes drylining
T-Levels are two-year courses with a 45 day industrial placement for 16 to 19 year olds. Designed with employers, each T-Level is an alternative to three A levels, and can lead to an accelerated apprenticeship. They also help young people develop the knowledge, attitude and practical skills to thrive in the workplace.
At the heart of each course, a 45-day industry placement will give you early access to the brightest talent entering your market. Employers that are interested in offering an industry placement, can get help to find a local college, school or training provider to partner with. They will support you at every stage of the industry placement so you can focus on getting the most out of your placement student.
Over the autumn, the Department for Education and SDN are hosting a series of online sessions to help employers explore, plan for, and host T-Level industry placements. They’ve started a new series to give employers a more in-depth understanding of placements for particular T-Levels. They’re also covering specific topics to support employers and their teams. Topics covered include:
- The role of the line manager and mentor in industry placements (27 October)
- Introduction to industry placements – supporting your workforce development (9 November)
- Hosting industry placements in construction roles (18 November)
- A longer two-hour industry placement workshop, to start planning for industry placements and talk with other like-minded employers (30 November)
You can find out more and register here
Candidates are available for work placement now, if you would like more information please see: https://www.tlevels.gov.uk/ If you need information, advice and/or guidance please call FIS on 0121 707 0077 or email email@example.com
Certificates were presented to Sandwell College adult learners to mark their successful completion of the FIS BuildBack Drylining Programme. The learners received training in drylining fixer boarder and finisher across a six week programme.
Stuart Smith Project Manager for HSS Tool Hire presented each learner with a set of tools, and in addition to the tools, each candidate is equipped for the workplace with a full set of PPE and a CSCS card. Four candidates have acquired work placements with local finishes and interiors companies and four are looking for an opportunity to demonstrate their capabilities to potential employers.
If you are interested in taking on a candidate or would like to explore how this project can help your own recruitment please contact Catherine Bullough by calling 07900 083325 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Marie Flinter on 07799 903103 or email email@example.com
Funded through CITB, BuildBack is a collaborative recruitment and induction programme facilitated by FIS. You can find out more information at https://www.thefis.org/skills-hub/recruitment-induction/buildback/
The latest information from Builders’ Conference
shows that there were 441 contracts worth £7.5 billion
awarded in September. Whilst the value was 60% higher than the previous month (£4.7 billion), it did include a £2.2 billion contract for the Colne Valley Viaduct which is part of HS2, underlining the importance of the Government’s investment in infrastructure. For the first time since December 2020, the public sector outperformed the private sector, recording 51% of the value. There were 165 housing projects worth £2.5 billion (33%) and 55 office projects with a total value of £561 million (8%).
The number of tender opportunities was 24% down on August and remained 53% below the monthly average for the past year.
FIS is proud to partner with the first ever Workspace Design Show which will take place on 4-5 November 2021 at the Business Design Centre in London. This event is a must-attend for anyone in the sector – and it is free to attend!
After all the recent disruption to the workspace industry, there is huge change underway in how we are designing our office interiors to improve the employee experience. The Workspace Design Show will be a great chance to listen to the latest thought leadership, check out the newest and most innovative interiors products, and network with your industry peers again.
The Workspace Design Talks conference will feature top level A&D speakers from Gensler, Grimshaw, Perkins&Will, AECOM, Arup, Areen, MCM, tp bennett, MF Design Studio, BDP Architecture, and end-user clients such as HMRC, PwC, BBC, McCann, Aviva, The Office Group, Co-space, DLA Piper and more. Panel discussions will open up challenging debates to uncover the latest thinking in how design can influence employee wellbeing, engagement, creativity & productivity, as well as the latest workspace design trends in sustainability, flexibility and inclusivity.
The attendee list includes delegates confirmed from Government Property Agency, Oktra, Unispace, Vodafone, Barclays Bank, NHS Property Services, Crown Commercial Service, Faith and Gould, We Work, CBRE, British Land, Morgan Lovell.
Your complimentary guest pass will give you access to the exhibition as well as all the talks featuring the above speakers, the Leisure Area to use as a co-working space or a meeting space or just a place to relax/ work from during the two days as well as free coffee, tea, hot chocolate throughout the 2 days at 3 dedicated coffee stations.
The Show floor will also feature re-creations of commercial interiors such as the Design Talks Lounge designed and curated by The Furniture Practice, The VIP Lounge designed by Rainlight Studio, built by AASK US and curated by Obolife. Spaces Taylored and Seven Hills Workspace collaboratively designed and curated the leisure area and the exhibition area will include leading brands such as Humanscale, Spacestor, Tarkett, Interface, Actiu, Zumtobel, Andreu World, Benchmark Furniture, Buzzispace, and many more.
Register now for your complimentary tickets > https://bit.ly/37HrsM9
At this week’s Conservative Party Conference there was a clear focus on skills, with the Chancellor announcing a £500 million expansion to the Plan for Jobs. This includes extending the £3,000 incentive payment for businesses hiring an apprentice until 31 January 2022, as well as extending the Kickstart Scheme to March 2022, with applications remaining open from employers and gateways until 17 December 2021.
Businesses can now also benefit from over £1 million funding that has been pledged to support apprenticeships in other businesses.
Since 13 September, levy paying employers have been able to create a pledge of up to 25% of their annual levy funds to support apprenticeships in other businesses. They can select how much funding they want to transfer and set optional criteria for the types of businesses and apprenticeships they would like to support.
Employers have already pledged over £1 million for the 2021 to 2022 financial year, with many more expected to pledge in the coming weeks. All businesses can now browse these funding opportunities and apply for funding to pay for 100% of their apprenticeship training and assessment costs (up to the funding band maximum). Levy paying employers can use their apprenticeship service accounts to review, approve or reject any pledge applications
George Swann FIS Skills and Training Lead said:
This is good news with labour for the finishes and interiors sector in short supply it will not immediately fix the problem, but if employers invest in new talent now it will reduce future impact by creating a pool of qualified individuals.
Later this month the Chancellor of the Exchequer will set out his Autumn Budget and Spending Review to Parliament.
It should not be underestimated how important this is both to the UK economy, and to companies from across the UK construction industry.
This Spending Review will set the money available to public bodies to deliver their priorities over the coming three years. As such it is the moment at which strategic priorities and budgets are set for government departments. As outlined in the recent construction pipeline publication, many capital programmes are already supported by long-term funding settlements. As a result, the Spending Review can be expected to add further detail to government’s approach to investment paid for by the public purse.
The Construction Leadership Council has written to the Chancellor outlining how the Government can get best return on money committed to construction delivery and maintenance.
We need to be clear on the circumstances in which this letter has been prepared. Last year we all welcomed the enormous and unprecedented financial interventions that the Government delivered to support companies and employees through the biggest crisis in generations. We also welcomed the significant investment commitment in last year’s Spending Review. Inevitably however, the pandemic has left the public finances in an extremely challenging state.
It may surprise people in the industry that this has not led to the preparation of a long list of new projects we want the Government to back. We all know that there is a huge amount to be done, not least in accelerating the decarbonisation of the UK’s existing building stock, and it is clear that construction is a huge driver of economic growth.
Put simply, there is little point in presenting the Government with a further list of works that almost inevitably would have to be ignored, and in the process losing the opportunity to emphasise those things that the government could and should continue to invest in. We should remember that the Government has already displayed its confidence in the industry through its support to building back better including major investments including HS2 and the Health Infrastructure Plan.
We hope and expect that the Chancellor will use the Spending Review to commit to maintaining existing levels of investment beyond the current spending review period. This will sustain employment and growth in a way that few other industries can – levelling up communities large and small across the whole of the UK.
Our second ask is linked to the Government’s commitment to deliver net zero carbon by 2050. We know as an industry that one of the single largest interventions to achieve this would be a programme to retrofit the UK’s existing housing stock, driving carbon out of the heating and running of homes.
We are not asking for money at this stage but instead something that is in the long term more important. In advance of the completion of the Heat and Buildings Strategy, we are calling for the national retrofit programme to become a strategic priority for government in the coming three years. This will mean that it is an area of significant concern for senior ministers to work with industry, developing a fully funded programme paid for both by public and private sector, to secure a step change in the carbon performance of the built environment.
We have welcomed the work that has already been done by the Construction Innovation Hub to improve the productivity of industry. Building on this work will act as an enabler of the retrofit programme, driving the innovation to push down cost. For this reason, our only specific new funding ask is that the Government continues to match industry support for the Hub to develop new and better approaches to retrofit. This support will also underpin ongoing work to develop digital twins of UK built assets, allowing them to be much more effectively managed, securing lower long-term costs and much better carbon performance.
We know that to deliver all this we will need to upgrade our skills. We are not calling for a specific funding intervention for construction but instead have asked that the government sustains its efforts to promote future skills by maintaining existing support for employers to take on apprenticeships and continues to refine the operation of the Apprenticeship Levy.
The CLC’s mission is to support the sector to provide leadership and to collaborate to deliver industry change. The Government plays a huge rule in delivering this change – we hope that the Spending Review will help us take the next big step towards a better industry for everyone.
The Education and Skills Funding Agency have updated the guidance on apprenticeships initial assessment to recognise prior learning. The updated guidance supports providers to tailor apprenticeship programmes to meet apprentices’ needs by establishing the correct starting point for each apprentice. It also contains important information for employers and apprentices about the need for, and importance of, initial assessment and recognition of prior learning.
In response to industry feedback, they have included more information about how to conduct the initial assessment and assess prior learning and experience in accordance with the policy intent and the apprenticeship funding rules. The update includes:
- expanded content on why it is important to conduct initial assessment
- a new section on the benefits of recognising prior learning
- expanded content on how to conduct initial assessment and how prior learning and experience can be assessed – including a case study
- a new section on what prior learning and experience should not be included
- expanded content on who is responsible for the recognition of prior learning and experience
- a new section on how other technical education programmes that are aligned to occupational standards should be taken account of
This guidance will be kept under review as further training programmes that are aligned to employer designed occupational standards are introduced.
HSE’s inspectors across Great Britain will be targeting construction firms to check that their health standards are up to scratch during a month-long inspection initiative, starting on Monday 4 October 2021.
This year inspections will focus on respiratory risks and occupational lung disease, looking at the control measures businesses have in place to protect their workers’ lungs from construction dust including silica, asbestos and wood dust. This is part of HSE’s longer term health and work strategy to improve health within the construction industry.
While the primary focus will be on health during this programme of inspections, if an inspector identifies any other areas of concern, including immediate safety risks, they will take the necessary action to deal with them.
Inspectors will be looking for evidence of employers and workers knowing the risks, planning their work and using the right controls. If necessary, they will use enforcement to make sure people are protected.
The initiative will be supported by HSE’s WorkRight campaign, aimed at influencing employer behaviour by encouraging builders to download free guidance and advice, increasing knowledge and capability to protect workers’ health.
More than 3,500 builders die each year from cancers related to their work, with thousands more cases of ill-health and working days lost.
HSE’s chief inspector of construction, Sarah Jardine, said:
“Around 100 times as many workers die from diseases caused or made worse by their work than are actually killed in construction accidents.
“Our inspection initiatives ensure that inspectors are able to speak to duty holders and visit sites to look at the kind of action businesses in the construction industry are taking right now to protect their workers’ health, particularly when it comes to exposure to dust and damage to lungs. These are mature health challenges that the industry ought to be managing effectively.
“There are a few simple things that everyone can do to make sure they are protecting their health and their future. Be aware of the risks associated with activities you do every day, recognise the dangers of hazardous dust and consider how it can affect your health. We want businesses and their workers to think of the job from start to finish and avoid creating dust by working in different ways to keep dust down and wear the right protective equipment.”
HSE is being supported by the Health in Construction Leadership Group (HCLG) and Tier 1 industry contractors. Throughout October 2021, HCLG members will carry out more than 1,000 site visits to assess the effectiveness of measures in place to controls workers’ exposure to respiratory risks from dust. Findings from site visits and a survey will allow industry to feed into HSE’s broader commitment to improve the health of construction workers by providing HSE with a wider dataset to evaluate ongoing practices across industry.
HSE and industry Insights will support HSE’s strategic plan to broaden the range and depth of future regulatory health interventions.
For more information on the programme of inspections visit the Work Right campaign website: https://workright.campaign.gov.uk/campaigns/construction-dust/
A new international standard on mental health, ISO 45003, has been published to provide guidance on managing the psychological health of the workforce as part of an occupational H&S management system. It is available free of charge to SMEs and other organisations can purchase it from BSI.
The Government has announced a package of measures to tackle the shortage of HGV drivers, which is causing widespread disruption across supply chains. It includes training 4,000 new drivers, offering 5,000 temporary visas for HGV drivers in the run up to Christmas, and using Ministry of Defence examiners to increase HGV testing capacity.
Build UK continues to work with the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply (CIPS) to publish up‐to‐date information on the availability of key construction materials. For the first time, each material has been RAG‐rated on price as well as availability, and timber and concrete are currently ‘red’ for both. Only cladding and paint are rated ‘green’ on availability and price.
To help members manage the contractual impact of a range of Brexit‐related issues, Build UK has worked with Wedlake Bell LLP to produce guidance on Your Contracts Post‐Brexit, which provides comprehensive advice on dealing with delays to time and programme, price and currency fluctuations, and sourcing materials and legal ownership.
To help contractors understand their level of responsibility when it comes to design, the Finishes and Interiors Sector (FIS) has published a new guidance note, How to manage design liability and understand your responsibility
Prepared by construction law specialist Anderson Strathern for the FIS and aimed at contractors who may be assuming design, the new guidance note brings clarity to the risks and liabilities associated with their role in the contract.
The new FIS guidance note will help contractors understand the role of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 Designer, the terms of a contract, how to protect themselves and the importance of adequate and appropriate insurance to cover risk.
Commenting on the launch of the new guidance, Iain McIlwee, Chief Executive of the FIS said:
“We are seeing design liabilities pushed through the supply chain more and more with roles and responsibilities increasingly blurred. The new FIS guidance note will help contractors understand their legal responsibilities, particularly when it comes to design issues apparent during construction.”
This brief guidance also provides information on health and safety issues and why it is important to have a net contribution clause and a cap on liability clause within a contract.
FIS members can access a range of services to support them in managing the complexities of contracting and supplying products into the construction market, this includes template contracts, guidance on standard terms, support in dealing with disputes and a raft of best practice advice.
The guidance note is available from the FIS website at https://www.thefis.org/knowledge-hub/contractual-and-legal/
HSE is continuing to carry out spot checks and inspections on all types of businesses, in all areas, to ensure they are working safely to reduce the risk of COVID.
During the spot checks, HSE provides advice and guidance to manage risk and protect workers, customers and visitors. However, where some businesses are not managing this, we will take immediate action.
This can range from providing specific advice, issuing enforcement notices, and stopping certain work practices until they are made safe. Where businesses fail to comply, this could lead to prosecution.
HSE recently prosecuted a construction contractor following a spot inspection.
Working to manage the transmission of COVID means businesses need to conduct a risk assessment to understand the measures they may require to protect workers and others. Further information is available on working safely during the pandemic.
- Do you have what it takes to help save the world?
- Can you bring your creativity to solve the biggest question faced by the construction sector?
- Are you itching to be at the heart of efforts to deliver net zero carbon?
If you can answer ‘yes’ to all of these questions, and you are a young professional working in construction then you are invited to take part in the Construction Leadership Council’s Dragons’ Den competition for proposals to crack down on carbon.
Your ideas are needed for how the industry can make a step change in its carbon performance. All proposals are welcome and encouraged.
If you have a proposal that is developed to the point where it could potentially be rolled out with industry with the right backing, then the CLC can bring that. The Construction Leadership Council (CLC) reaches into every part of our great industry, and it can leverage its power to make your proposal a reality.
To secure this support, you are invited to step into the CLC’s Dragons’ Den where shortlisted applicants will be able to present their proposals to industry leaders.
Alongside support to get your idea off the ground the winning proposal will also bag a £1000 cash award donated by the Builders Merchants Federation, and mentoring with a CLC Business Leader.
Are you ready to that enter the CLC Dragons’ Den? If so, please go here for more details. Closing date midday 8 October.
On 29 September 2021, the UK government updated its information on Parallel Trade Between the UK and the EEA with regards to Intellectual Property. This can be viewed here.
The IP rights in goods placed on the UK market by, or with the consent of the right holder after the transition period may no longer be considered exhausted in the EEA. This means that businesses parallel exporting these IP-protected goods from the UK to the EEA might need the right holder’s consent.
The IP rights in goods placed on the EEA market by, or with the consent of the right holder after the transition period will continue to be considered exhausted in the UK. This means that parallel imports into the UK from the EEA will be unaffected.
The UK government is currently considering what the UK’s future IP exhaustion regime should be. The government ran a consultation for 12 weeks from June to August 2021 and is now carefully considering consultation responses. Once the analysis of consultation responses is complete, the government will make a decision and choose the option which best serves the UK economy, the UK public and the UK as a whole. We are aware that many businesses and consumers are interested on this matter so when that decision is made, we will work as quickly as possible to make an announcement.
We need an extra 217,000 workers over the next five years to ensure construction can continue to thrive and apprenticeships will help futureproof the industry and provide an excellent route to secure a skilled, diverse future workforce.
There are a number of schemes that are supported by Levy and are free to access, and with your involvement will help bring new talent into the industry.
Here you can find out the support available from CITB and the UK Government to take on an apprentice.