Build UK is the leading representative organisation for the UK construction industry. By bringing together Clients, Main Contractors, Trade Associations representing over 11,500 Specialist Contractors and other organisations committed to industry collaboration, Build UK represents in excess of 40% of UK construction.
Their regular updates contain important information for our industry.
Last updated: 24 June
The Construction Skills Gap
We are almost halfway through 2021 and the challenges of ensuring the industry has enough people are coming to a head. With the deadline for the EU Settlement Scheme at the end of this month, the construction sector is caught between increased demand for infrastructure, housing and RMI and the new Points‐Based Immigration System which is difficult to navigate and preventing people with the skills we need from entering the country.
Build UK continues to raise this issue which could delay projects at the same time the industry is being asked to drive the economic recovery. Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng and Construction Minister Anne‐Marie Trevelyan have both acknowledged our calls for assistance, and the impact on the industry has been highlighted by Build UK Chief Executive Suzannah Nichol in the Financial Times and on Politics Live over the last week.
With the difficulties in employing foreign workers, there couldn’t be a better time to publish the results of our flexible working project with Timewise which can help to attract and retain a diverse workforce, and we would encourage all our members to have a look and see what is possible within their businesses.
Implementing Flexible Working
Build UK is delighted to launch the results of its project with Timewise to implement flexible working practices on site. Whilst it has long been recognised that flexible working is key to a more diverse workforce, making it work for site‐based roles is often seen as an insurmountable challenge. Our pioneering project, supported by CITB and Barclays LifeSkills, has proved that not only is it possible but that it benefits everyone:
- All four companies involved ‐ BAM Construct, BAM Nuttall, Skanska and Willmott Dixon ‐ reported no negative impact on budgets or timeframes as a result of adopting flexible working practices
- The number of workers who felt they had a good work‐life balance increased from 48% to 84%
- There were increased trust levels in those who work from home and teams reported feeling even closer.
Our industry‐wide toolkit includes a 10‐point action plan that companies of all sizes can follow to implement flexible working practices on their sites and make construction a positive career choice for everyone.
Employing Foreign Workers
Following the delay in the easing of lockdown restrictions, the Government has confirmed that temporary changes to right to work checks will now end on 31 August 2021. After this date, employers must revert to face‐to‐face checks, in place of video calls, and scanned copies will no longer be accepted instead of original documents.
There has been no change to the deadline for the EU Settlement Scheme and applications must be submitted by next Wednesday 30 June. There is a pack for employers containing a range of resources that can be shared with employees from the EU or EEA who were living in the UK before 31 December 2020 to help them apply.
The Home Office is hosting a free industry webinar on the Points‐Based Immigration System next Monday 28 June from 11:00am ‐ 12:00pm which is open to all Build UK members. Build UK has also published an easy‐to‐follow flowchart on employing foreign workers which may be useful.
New Hospital Programme Launched
Over 100 members attended the launch of the New Hospital Programme (NHP) hosted by Build UK earlier this week. Part of the Government’s multi‐billion pound Health Infrastructure Plan, the NHP will develop 48 hospitals by 2030 and Commercial Director of the NHP, Emma‐Jane Houghton, outlined how extensive and early engagement with the full supply chain would support delivery of the ‘biggest hospital programme in a generation’ in line with the principles of the Construction Playbook and the Government’s 2050 net zero target.
Members interested in finding out more about the opportunities available can submit an expression of interest to NHP and any queries should be emailed to the NHP team.
Following the extension of lockdown restrictions, the Government has confirmed that businesses that registered for workplace testing by 12 April can continue to order free LFD tests until Monday 19 July. Build UK has updated its guide on how to set up and run a workplace test site.
Trade Credit Insurance
The Trade Credit Reinsurance Scheme, established to maintain cover for business‐to‐business transactions during coronavirus, will close next Wednesday 30 June, after participating insurers confirmed it is no longer required and they are keen to take back full underwriting control.
Build UK AGM 2021
We are delighted that CBI Director‐General Tony Danker will be our guest speaker at the Build UK AGM 2021 on Wednesday 29 September from 4:00pm ‐ 6:30pm. Following publication of the CBI’s ‘Seize the Moment’ report, Tony will be exploring how the built environment can transform our economy and society for the better, and there will be the opportunity for members to put their questions to him.
The Board for 2021/22 will be elected at the AGM and any Contractor or Trade Association members interested in submitting a nomination should contact us by Friday 2 July.
Depending on Government COVID‐19 restrictions, we are hoping to offer the option of attending in person at The Building Centre (WC1E 7BT) or virtually via Zoom and all members will shortly be receiving their invitation.