Scottish construction body unveils new strategy

From left: John Swinney MSP, Sawyer the collaborative robot, and Ron Fraser of Construction Scotland. Picture: Whyler Photos of Stirling.
From left: John Swinney MSP, Sawyer the collaborative robot, and Ron Fraser of Construction Scotland. Picture: Whyler Photos of Stirling.
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Construction Scotland, the industry leadership organisation for the sector north of the Border, has launched its new strategy for the next four years, focusing on “big issues and game-changers” to bring about “necessary” change.

The organisation has earmarked six priority areas, to help the industry become more sustainable, productive, innovative and profitable, enhancing its contribution to Scotland’s economy.

The launch took place during Deputy First Minister John Swinney’s visit to St Modan’s Academy in Stirling as part of its week-long Build Your Future event. The latter was facilitated by Construction Scotland as part of its Inspiring Construction programme, and aimed to tell pupils about the wide range of careers available in the sector.

The new strategy was prepared after “extensive” consultation with partner organisations, federations, businesses and government, and details priorities for the sector, for areas most pivotal to industry performance and growth.

Construction Scotland said these comprise procurement reform, increasing skills and diversity, improving quality, supporting reform of planning and building regulations, boosting productivity and profitability and facilitating sector growth.

Ken Gillespie, chair of Construction Scotland’s industry leadership group, said: “Our new strategy focuses on the big issues and game-changers that are affecting our sector. To achieve progress in these six priority areas, the industry must come together collaboratively as never before.

“Construction Scotland will work with partners and customers in the industry across the public and private sectors to bring about positive change in these six areas. Each priority area will be addressed by an action plan for the industry, coordinated and facilitated by Construction Scotland, with key milestones and timescales for delivery.

“We will bring the industry and its customers to the table to address the challenges that face it in a constructive manner, and to facilitate the changes necessary for our industry to grow sustainably and profitably.”

According to Construction Scotland, the industry north of the Border and its supply chain employ more than 170,000 people – 10 per cent of the Scottish workforce – with up to a further 60,000 self-employed workers. It contributes £21.5 billion to Scotland’s gross domestic product, and makes up a tenth of Scotland’s gross value added. For every £1 spent on construction output, a further £2.94 is generated in the economy.

Swinney said Build Your Future shines a spotlight on the many opportunities available. “As we step up our infrastructure investment, continue to deliver more affordable homes towards our 50,000 target and take forward plans for the Scottish National Investment Bank, we are supporting Construction Scotland’s refreshed strategy and fully endorse the ambition of being a more productive, innovative, profitable and sustainable industry.”

The Markit/Cips UK construction purchasing managers’ index published earlier this month found that Britain’s construction sector rebounded in October to 53.2, with the fastest growth in civil engineering.