As part of the work of the Competence Steering Group, Working Group 12 – Construction Products Competence led by CPA presents an innovative white paper, which proposes the built environment industry unite behind a single approach to construction product competence. You can download the white paper here.
The Cabinet Office has now published the first revision of the Construction Playbook. The Playbook captures commercial best practices and specific sector reforms outlining the government’s expectations of how contracting authorities and suppliers, including the supply chain, should engage with each other.
These are set out in 14 key policies for how the government should assess, procure and deliver public works projects and programmes which all central government departments and their arms length bodies are expected to follow on a ‘comply or explain’ basis.
This is the culmination of 6 months work, which has involved people from across Whitehall and the construction sector, and to which BEIS has made a significant contribution, particularly in relation to the enhanced content in the Playbook and associated guidance on net zero carbon and environmental performance as a key component of a strategic approach to ensuring the sustainability of infrastructure and construction projects. The key points about the substance of these changes are:
- a clearer statement that whole life carbon assessments should be undertaken for all HMG construction projects and programmes, and that these should be consistent with strategic organisational objectives for decarbonising estates and improving carbon performance;
- further guidance on what action contracting authorities should be undertaking at each stage of the process for implementing these projects, from market engagement through to handover and operation, to deliver improved carbon outcomes, with an emphasis on benchmarking, monitoring and reporting these;
- pointing contracting authorities to a much wider range of external resources (toolkits, advice and guidance, promoting the circular economy and contractual clauses – the CIH Value Toolkit is regularly referenced, and we also cite Construct Zero in the Guidance Note) to support their efforts and enable them to embed a more comprehensive approach;
- incorporation of the need to address the provisions of the Environment Act 2021 (e.g. biodiversity net gain), and also emphasising the importance of wider considerations such as air and water quality; and
- additional and comprehensive guidance on Net Zero and Sustainability, including a set of case studies of best practice. We highly recommend the Foleshill Health Centre one as an example of what can be achieved – but we have also managed to include case studies from HS2, the Environment Agency, and also the product platform developed through the TCC with CIH involvement.
Comment of the revised launch of the Construction Playbook FIS CEO, Iain McIlwee stated:
“The Construction Playbook sets its stall out in the first line – the focus is getting projects and programmes right from the start. Nothing really is more important than this, as per our own research on procurment – the best form of dispute resolution is effective procurement in the first place. It is imperitive as the biggest client of construction in the UK that Government is an exemplar client and that the principles outlined in here extend to the wider public sector procurement and into institutional investors.”
Public consultation launched by the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IfATE) on planned new employer-focused approvals system for level 3 technical qualifications.
IfATE want to hear from employers on their proposals to approve the next generation of technical qualifications. The consultation runs from 30 June until midnight on 10 August.
Why employer views matter
A truly integrated skills system brings employers (or their representatives) into the heart of product design, ensuring that employers’ skill needs, across occupations, can be fully understood and met. IfATE share the Department for Education’s (DfE’s) ambition that, in future, the qualifications landscape should be streamlined, offering clear career progression opportunities and giving confidence that qualifications are high quality.
A fundamental part of this will be IfATE’s employer-led occupational standards, alignment to which ensures that students are gaining the knowledge, skills and behaviours employers tell us are needed to be competent in an occupation. The occupational standards are presented in the IfATE occupational maps; these underpin their work, setting out the occupations that can be accessed through technical education. This is an opportunity to share your views and support IfATE to achieve their ambitious plans by helping them shape the approvals process for qualifications submitted as part of the revitalised technical education landscape.
You can access the consultation via this link: https://www.instituteforapprenticeships.org/reviews-and-consultations/consultations/post-16-consultation/. For any questions in relation to this consultation, please contact Ifate.POST16@education.gov.uk
The statutory review of the Duty to Report regulations published in April highlighted the ‘positive impact’ that Build UK’s benchmarking of payment performance has had across the sector, with Build UK contractor members now taking an average of just 32 days to pay invoices. Ahead of the Building Safety Act coming into force this week,the Working Group 2 report was delivered, benchmarking the competence requirements for six occupations identified as priorities for ensuring fire safety in buildings. Along with the CSCS Smart Check app launched in April, this represents a major step towards ensuring that individuals deemed competent have the appropriate knowledge, skills and training to undertake their role.
FIS Competency Passport
FIS has partnered with My Professional Pass to provide a platform where an individual’s competence can be stored digitally all in one place, and shared with employers or others that require proof of competence. The FIS Competency Passport is free to individuals and FIS members receive a substantial discount off the cost of the platform.
The Construction Innovation Hub is celebrating the completion of the Value Toolkit, following a successful development programme with over 200 industry partners. The announcements include the launch of a new BSI flex standard to underpin value-based decisions making in the sector.
Bringing together those who have contributed to its journey, including government, clients and industry partners, the Hub is now sharing the transition phase to adoption.
The Value Toolkit is a pioneering suite of tools that will be used by industry to embed value-based decision making in the built environment sector. It is a government funded industry-led initiative – with roots in the Construction Leadership Council’s Procuring for Value report and set to deliver on the ambitions of the Construction Playbook and the IPA’s Transforming Infrastructure Performance Roadmap.
The Toolkit has been developed to reframe the definition of value, and how it can be evaluated and measured, capturing wider, whole-life considerations around net-zero, user experience, productivity and social impact.
Working with partners and collaborating has been critical to the success and there are few corners of the sector that the Value Toolkit has not touched – from local authorities to central government departments, consultancies, contractors and specialist SMEs. The ambition is now for widespread adoption, driven by government and underpinned by industry.
Keith Waller, Programme Director at the Construction Innovation Hub, said:
This is a landmark moment for the Hub and our industry partners, and a gamechanger for construction and the built environment.
Decision making in construction has been historically driven by how much something cost, or how long it took to build. The Toolkit delivers a laser-like focus on project outcomes that delivers value beyond the bottom line, and positively affect communities and those who live in them for decades to come. It will ensure a more collaborative relationship between clients and suppliers throughout the whole life of a project”.
Construction Minister Lee Rowley MP said:
It’s good to see this new initiative come to fruition after a successful pilot. The Toolkit reflects the Government’s desire to ensure we embrace a construction procurement process that has clean, green innovation at its heart.
It complements our commitment to boost the productivity of this vital industry as part of our plans to grow the economy and create good quality jobs. I look forward to continuing to work with the Construction Leadership Council to realise this ambition.”
Rory Kennedy, Value Toolkit Strategy Board Chair and Director of Capital, Department for Education said:
This is a proud day for the many individuals, businesses and organisations who have worked tirelessly through huge collaborative effort to develop, evolve and shape the Value Toolkit.
The Value Toolkit is a powerful initiative that enables value-based decision-making – that best reflect the full range of commonly desired benefits, including better social, environmental and economic outcomes. Government, clients, and the industry all agree that a different approach to value is needed. An approach that reflects a shared ambition for a built environment that delivers more – one that provides a springboard for economic growth, enhances communities, and sustains the environment. The Value Toolkit is this new approach.
I look forward to seeing the Value Toolkit go from strength to strength as Government and industry drive wider adoption”.
Andy Mitchell, Co-Chair of the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) commented:
For far too long now we have talked cost with little or no reference to value; we have talked outputs not outcomes. The Value Toolkit seeks to see an end to this by providing a comprehensive suite of tools that will help clients and suppliers alike develop a real understanding of what is actually important as we specify, design and deliver infrastructure for people and society.
I would like to thank everyone involved in getting us to this point, and encourage everyone else to understand, use and help develop this Toolkit going forward”
More information about the Value Toolkit and how to get involved is available here.
LEXiCON project takes a significant step toward a common approach to construction product information
The conclusion of LEXiCON’s first phase is a major step toward creating trustworthy and reliable, digital structured product information in a standardised way across the industry.
Developed by the Construction Innovation Hub (the Hub), in partnership with the Construction Products Association (CPA), the LEXiCON project is seeking to standardise construction product information and support manufacturers in sharing product information freely across the industry.
Detailed in a report published today, the first phase of LEXiCON sets out a methodology for the creation and ongoing management of ‘Product Data Templates’. By creating a consistent approach across the building industry, LEXiCON will make it easier for people to upload, categorise and compare data between products. You can find out more information about this latest step from LEXiCON here.