CLC sets out its plans for construction in 2022

CLC sets out its plans for construction in 2022

The Construction Leadership Council has set out four priorities to deliver a better UK construction sector in 2022.

The Council has picked issues where there is the greatest need for collaborative industry action, and the greatest opportunity to deliver positive change. The four priorities for 2022 are:

  • Net Zero Carbon
  • Building Safety
  • Meeting the Skills Challenge
  • Implementing the Construction Playbook

The announcement of the four priority areas comes as the CLC published its Annual Review for 2021.

Having established itself as the leading force for the industry in 2020 with its response to Covid-19, in 2021 the CLC built on this success. It led UK construction’s work ahead of the COP26 climate change summit with CO2nstructZero, while also responding promptly to the emerging threat of materials shortages to improve product availability nationwide. It launched a single hub for all new entrant jobs – TalentView Construction – while setting out the first ever Skills Plan for the whole UK construction industry.

Among its objectives this year it is targeting apprenticeships, aiming to return numbers to pre-Covid levels to meet future skills needs. It will publish quarterly data to show the sector’s journey to zero carbon. On Building Safety, it will work with partners to roll out frameworks to ensure that those working on buildings have the competence to build and maintain them safely. And it will continue its work to promote the Government’s Construction Playbook, boosting awareness and implementation among clients and suppliers.

CLC co-chair Andy Mitchell CBE said:

“Having lit the spark in 2020, and watched it grow last year, the CLC can deliver transformational change for UK construction in 2022. We know that some of the threats facing our sector are daunting, but we are now working together as a sector, talking on challenges with a united approach. I hope that when we come to write our Annual Review for 2022 the whole sector will be able to judge us by our successes in delivering real change”
CLC co-chair and Construction Minister Lee Rowley MP said: During 2021, the industry demonstrated its ability to adapt to manage the ongoing challenge of COVID-19, and also its willingness to improve, and to start to tackle the need to transform the sector so it can consistently deliver better-performing, safer and more sustainable buildings and infrastructure.

However, we can’t rest on our laurels. We will continue to face challenges during 2022. Only by working together collectively, will we continue to meet these challenges, and truly build back better, faster and greener for future generations.

FIS encourages members to take the Pledge to change the training culture

FIS encourages members to take the Pledge to change the training culture

Pledge to #BuildTheFuture

To support the new Interior Systems Installer Apprenticeship Standard, with its pathways for Drylining and Ceiling Fixing and Partitions and to grow support for the existing framework in Wales and the Scottish Modern Apprenticeship, FIS is encouraging members to sign a new Interior Systems Installer Apprenticeship Pledge.

The sector is being hard hit by a skills shortage, with a recent survey highlighting that over 60% of FIS Members are now impacted.  Problems are expected to worsen over the summer and, with new data from the ONS suggesting that the net migration of labour could be worse than many feared, a collective effort from the sector is essential.  In Q1 2019, the finishes and interiors sector was reliant on EU workers for 40% of its workforce – the latest ONS data, indicates that, by the end of Q1 2021, the number of EU construction workers available has fallen by a worrying 46%.

“The sector has relied on a flow of new skilled workers from the EU, but the new immigration rules have well and truly turned this tap off.  Before you factor in those EU workers that have left and may or may not come back, we need to fill the void left by those that would, in the past have come.  This means doubling our numbers for domestic training programmes.  For every 5% of EU Workers that do not return, this number doubles again!  We need to adjust our approach now and ensure that we are doing all we can to attract and train a new army of workers.  The Pledge is very much a rally call to our sector – we need to work together on this one.”

Commenting on the work so far, Damian Treanor of Errigal stated:  “We need to get acknowledgement that Drylining is fully recognised as a professional trade within our industry.  It is time for all contractors within the finishes and interiors sector to take a united approach in the recruiting, training and development of our young people to secure a stable growth for the future.

No matter what size of business, if you are developing your culture with a view to a long term approach we would encourage all to consider taking the pledge.

Like others, we have established a successful 2 year apprenticeship with an additional 2 years CPD programme to further develop skills and knowledge. The Drywall trade is at the forefront of all internal works within the industry and we need all major clients and contractors to recognise the importance of a collective training approach for the future of the trade.”

So far the initiative is off to an encouraging start with signed Pledges received from Errigal Contracts, Measom, Tapper Interiors, Veitchi Group, ATJ Group, Horbury Group, CG Reynolds, SCL Interiors and Platt and Reilly.  Already this collectively amounts to a commitment of over 150 new apprenticeships per year over the next 5 years.

The pledge is based on a focus on culture, commitment, collaboration and quality.  As part of its own commitment to the Pledge, FIS is working to build a network of Approved Providers, develop resources to support consistent delivery and working closely with individual employers to help align support, funding and structure their apprenticeship programmes.  FIS is also working to support recruitment through the FIS BuildBack programme and through the Government’s Kickstart scheme.  The work is being led by a dedicated Employers Group which is helping to support a collaborative and focussed approach.

Early adopter, Andrew Measom who has played an active role in the employers group leading this work added “Apprenticeships are essential in addressing the labour and skills gap in our industry.  They are a productive and effective way to bring in and grow young talent and develop a motivated, skilled, and qualified workforce. If a fixer has come through the apprenticeship, we can be confident they have been trained to a consistent standard”.

FIS Skills and Training Lead George Swann said, “by taking on an apprentice your organisation is investing in its own future, its own succession plan. There are numerous well documented benefits to investing in apprenticeships including a positive impact on productivity.  There is now no age limit for an apprentice and at this time there are a number of attractive financial incentives for employers.  If you need more information give us a call, FIS can help with recruitment, selection and finding a reliable Training Provider”.

Skills Hub

The Skills Hub brings together details of courses specific to the finishes and interiors sector, making accessing and booking training quick and easy. In addition, it provides information on sector careers, apprenticeships and funding, as well as access to e-learning, CPD and other training.

Late payment: positive steps, but not there yet

Late payment: positive steps, but not there yet

Half of Build UK Contractor members now pay in an average of 30 days or less, according to the latest results published under the Duty to Report on Payment Practices and Performance.

Despite the ongoing challenges presented by the COVID‐19 pandemic, payment performance has improved again over the last six months, underlining how the increased transparency provided by the Build UK table is transforming the industry culture around payment. Contractor members are now reporting an average of 32 days to pay invoices, down from 34 days last July and 45 days when Build UK first published the information in July 2018. On average, they now pay 95% of invoices within 60 days, up from 82% three years ago, and 82% of their invoices are paid within terms, compared to just 61% in 2018.

FIS Chief Executive Iain McIlwee said “There are some good signs here, but let’s not get complacent – we know from our work with the Small Business Commissioner that most complaints against the Prompt Payment Codes still relate to construction and that the payment issue is more nuanced than when the invoice is raised and paid.

Basically these numbers, whilst positive, don’t present the full picture.  We have been working with colleagues in the CLC to highlight this and look at the potential to include value as well as volume of invoice to provide a clearer picture and limit the potential for companies to distort their figures by paying a high volume of small invoices via credit card and also to look at how compliance and the data provided is monitored.”

Build UK’s table features more than 100 of the industry’s largest companies, including contractors, clients and housebuilders, to provide a picture of payment practices across the construction industry.

Framework ‘Gold Standard’ published

Framework ‘Gold Standard’ published

The Cabinet Office has published the independent review of public sector frameworks undertaken by Professor David Mosey, which sets out 24 recommendations for a new ‘Gold Standard’ designed to ‘improve the outcomes delivered by framework strategies procurement, contracting and management and to avoid the pitfalls of bureaucratic and inconsistent practices’. By helping clients and suppliers to create and implement Gold Standard action plans under current frameworks, it is hoped that Government and industry can achieve the objectives of the Construction Playbook to deliver projects ‘faster, better and greener’.

Recommendation 20 promotes the use of the Common Assessment Standard to ‘reduce procurement costs by consistent and proportionate assessment of [suppliers’] economic and financial standing’. The Common Assessment Standard is being rolled out across the industry with a growing list of organisations using it for their PQ requirements, and members of the supply chain can obtain certification from any one of three Recognised Assessment Bodies ‐ Achilles, CHAS or Constructionline.

Webinar: Common Assessment Standard

On 10 February, FIS will be hosting a webinar looking at the benefits and adoption of the Common Assessment Standard.

The construction supply chain has voiced concerns about proliferation of tender management systems and the inefficiency created by producing information for the same purpose in different forms and paying multiple organisations to manage this information. CAS was introduced in 2019 to address these concerns and it is now starting to gain traction.

Attendees will get an update on how the Standard is being adopted by main contractors, insights into how you can start to benefit from the efficiencies that the CAS provides.

Find out how T-Levels can support your business

Find out how T-Levels can support your business

T-Levels are a new approach to sector engagement, designed to develop and secure advanced technical skills aligned to industry standards, and to address the increasing skills shortages and labour costs in industries such as construction, as well as the many benefits (for all parties) of placing committed and motivated students into workplaces, through industrial placements.  Often technical students can make a genuine and lasting contribution and present a valuable new recruitment channel to any business.

FIS has been offered the opportunity to host an employer support package presentation, providing information on the benefits of T-Level’s and the support available for employers. There will also be opportunity to ask any questions you have. If you are interested in attending, please email by Friday 11 February 2022.

About T-Levels
T-Levels are new courses which follow GCSEs and are deemed to be equivalent to three A levels.  These two year courses, which launched September 2020, are for 16 to 19 year olds and have been developed in collaboration with employers and businesses so that the content meets the needs of industry and prepares students for work, further training or study.

T-Levels offer students a mixture of 80% classroom learning and 20% ‘on-the-job’ experience during an industry placement of at least 45 days.  The placement can take place as a block, day release or a mix of these, and employers receive an incentive payment of £1000 per student.  The scheme is designed for employer to:

  • Grow the talent pipeline
  • Attract a new generation of recruits from new sources
  • Tackle skill shortages
  • A chance to see potential future recruits using their skills and abilities
  • Streamline recruitment processes

For details of the support available for employers please see T Levels and industry placement support for employers

There are currently two Construction T-Levels:

Design, surveying and planning for construction (available now) the course offers a core knowledge of how the construction industry works, the principles of design and the role of technology and sustainability.  Students then have the chance to specialise in either Building services design, Civil engineering, Hazardous materials analysis or surveying.

Onsite construction (started September 2021) learners have the option to cover at least one trade from a choice of bricklaying, carpentry and joinery, painting and decorating or plastering.  FIS are seeking support to develop an occupational specialism in interior systems installation.

There are a number of progression options open to students.  These include skilled employment, an apprenticeship and higher education.  UCAS points are attached to the overall T-Level achievement grade.  If you would like to offer an Industrial Placement for T-Level students, you can register at Employers Next Steps or call 08000 150 600 (choose option 4).

There is a CSCS Card for Industry Placement: specially for T-Level and Traineeship students.


Funding to support your Digital Development

Funding to support your Digital Development

There is little doubt that with escalating costs forcing us to look ever more carefully at productivity, initiatives like the Golden Thread and BIM and basic customer requirements for us to communicate better, share information in a more structured way and streamline processes that the wave of new digital solutions hitting us are part of the solution, but they can feel part of the problem!

The good news is that help is out there.  Following on from developing the Digital Spine in 2021 (a tool to help explain and contextualise technology), FIS have launched a new impartial digital construction helpline and mentoring service in partnership with Digital Construction Skills.  Beyond the advice, guidance and developing case studies we are also looking at opportunities to identify funding to support investment.  Beyond R&D Tax Credits (which can be an excellent way to recoup investment), we have identified two options that may be worth consideration for FIS Members.

The CITB Skills and Training Fund

Get £10 – £25k for digital Skills training including laser scanner, BIM, AutoCAD, 3D mapping and modelling, robotic total station or drones training.

 The criteria for the CITB medium sized Skills and Training Fund has changed. Through this fund, construction companies with between 100 and 250 employees can apply for between £10,000 and £25,000 (depending on their size).  Note: CITB have removed the criteria that the training must be new, therefore allowing businesses to repeat things they have done before or use the funding for skills related training.

The Help to Grow Digital scheme to support smaller businesses in adopting digital technologies is now open for applications.

Under the scheme, eligible businesses can receive discounts of up to £5,000 off the retail price of approved digital accounting and CRM software from leading technology suppliers. This software will assist them in effectively managing finances and building customer relationships, and help them to scale up.

Businesses can also access practical support and advice on how to choose the right digital technologies to boost their growth and productivity through a new online platform.

A toolkit to promote the scheme is available here.

Commenting on these funds, Saffron Grant FIS Digital Champion stated:

“This is another example of the support out there for SMEs to take that giant leap into the digital space that in many cases is only a small step!  Through the FIS free digital helpline we can help to talk you through the options and help you identify how you can make use of funding of this type.  The digital revolution is happening in construction, but it comes with a lot of noise and misinformation.  The work we are doing with FIS is about helping to tap into the right support and to find your digital path.”

More support via the FIS Digital Toolkit

Free digital construction helpline dedicated to FIS members

FIS has partnered with Digital Construction Skills (DCS) to give you free access to the Digital Construction Helpline. This service is fully funded by CITB. There are no forms to fill in, simply book a 15, 30 or 60 minute call with a digital construction specialist.