BUILD UK Updates

View the latest updates from Build UK, the leading representative organisation for the UK construction industry, on this page.

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: 12/05/2022

Increased Cost Pressures Due to Rising Inflation

Cost inflation is a key issue facing Build UK members across the construction supply chain. After interest rates were increased to 1% last week, the latest Bank of England Monetary Policy Report indicates that inflation will rise to around 10% later this year, and our recent roundtable meeting with the Bank of England identified a number of specific challenges, including:

  • Price volatility ‐ resulting in delays to projects and margins being impacted due to budgets being overrun
  • Availability of materials ‐ causing programmes to be delayed as works cannot be completed due to a lack of materials
  • Skilled labour shortages ‐ projects are being turned down due to the lack of resources available in the market and higher salary expectations amongst some staff.

Build UK is working with the CBI to support its new ‘Cost of Doing Business’ campaign, which provides guidance for businesses to manage rising costs, supply chain disruption and labour shortages.

Journey from Education to Employment

With construction needing to recruit more than 43,000 new entrants every year to maintain output, it is essential to improve the Journey from Education to Employment in the industry. Build UK has identified the first steps on this journey as follows:

  • Clear Routes of Entry ‐ Both employers and those joining the industry understand the different routes of entry and which one is appropriate for them and their occupation
  • Increase in Apprenticeship Numbers ‐ Effective systems to match potential apprentices with suitable employers
  • Sufficient Training Capacity ‐ Appropriate resources to deliver the number of new entrants the sector requires.

Whilst there are a range of initiatives focussed on inspiring young people to choose a career in construction, it is often very difficult for them to find their way into a job. With the new Skills and Post‐16 Education Act aiming to make it easier for people to get the skills they need, we can make sure everyone understands what is required for construction by setting out the Journey from Education to Employment in the industry.

All the latest skills news can be found in our Recruit, Train and Retain update.

Common Assessment Standard Update

Due to the unprecedented situation in Ukraine, which has led to a growing list of sanctions against Russia and Belarus, Build UK will be adding a new question to the Common Assessment Standard to enable the construction supply chain to demonstrate that it is not dealing with any companies or individuals subject to the UK Sanctions List. Version 3.1 will be published on 1 July and suppliers will be required to answer the new question when they next go through the certification process for the Common Assessment Standard.

We are continuing to roll out the Common Assessment Standard across the industry and our new infographic shows how it is improving efficiency and reducing cost in the pre‐qualification (PQ) process.

Changing Legislation in Scotland

Developers in Scotland will be banned from using combustible cladding on high‐rise buildings from 1 June, following the introduction of new building standards legislation. Since 2005, new cladding systems on high‐rise blocks of flats have either had to use non‐combustible materials or pass a large‐scale fire test. However, the new legislation removes the option of the fire test, prohibiting such materials from being used on domestic and other high‐risk buildings above 11 metres. The highest risk metal composite cladding material will be banned from all new buildings whatever their height, with replacement cladding also required to meet the new standards.

Scottish Procurement Policy Note (SPPN) 02/2022 will also be introduced from 1 June, which sets out how public sector bodies are to embed prompt payment performance in the supply chain through procurement processes. Suppliers will have to pay 95% of valid invoices on time, or provide an improvement plan, otherwise they will not be selected to bid

Queen’s Speech

The Prince of Wales delivered the Queen’s Speech this week, setting out the Government’s legislative agenda for the next year. Key bills for construction include Levelling Up and Regeneration, Transport, Energy Security and UK Infrastructure Bank, offering real opportunities for the industry as Government looks to grow the economy.

Elizabeth Line

Transport for London has confirmed that Crossrail will open on Tuesday 24 May, cutting journey times and improving transport links across London and the South East. The Elizabeth line will link Reading and Heathrow to Shenfield and Abbey Wood via central London, although Bond Street station will not open until later this year.

Mental Health in Construction

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week and the focus this year is on loneliness and the practical steps that can be taken to address it, which is particularly relevant for construction with many workers working away from home for long periods of time. The industry has recognised the challenges of mental health amongst its workforce and there are a range of resources available to provide support, such as the Lighthouse Club’s ‘Help Inside the Hard Hat‘ campaign and Movember Conversations.

Last Updated: 11/05/2022

CLC Industry Skills Plan Update

The CLC has published an update to its Industry Skills Plan, which highlights the industry’s successes over the last year in tackling the skills challenges facing construction. It also sets out four priorities for the next 12 months to improve access to opportunities in construction, increase apprenticeship starts and completions, shift the focus from qualifications to competence, and prepare for future skills needs. There are a number of ‘calls to action’, which reflect Build UK’s activities within our strategic priority of Recruiting, Training and Retaining Talent, including:

The industry’s plan will be supported by the Skills and Post‐16 Education Act which aims to make it easier for people to get the skills they need and for employers to find qualified employees. The new Act underpins the Government’s transformation of post‐16 education and skills to help level up and drive growth across the whole country.

Journey from Education to Employment

With construction needing to recruit more than 43,000 new entrants every year to maintain output, it is essential to improve the Journey from Education to Employment in the industry. Build UK has identified the first steps on this journey as follows:

  • Clear Routes of Entry ‐ Both employers and those joining the industry understand the different routes of entry and which one is appropriate for them and their occupation
  • Increase in Apprenticeship Numbers ‐ Effective systems to match potential apprentices with suitable employers
  • Sufficient Training Capacity ‐ Appropriate resources to deliver the number of new entrants the sector requires.

Whilst there are a range of initiatives focussed on inspiring young people to choose a career in construction, it is often very difficult for them to find their way into a job. By clearly setting out the Journey from Education to Employment, we will make it easier for everyone to achieve the qualifications, skills and experience required.

CITB Levy Update

The Levy Order 2022 has now been approved by Government, which means the CITB Levy returns to its pre‐pandemic rates of 0.35% for PAYE and 1.25% for Net CIS. CITB has confirmed that it will be issuing Levy Assessment Notices in June and the last date for employers to submit their completed 2021 Levy Return is 22 May 2022. If a Levy Return is not submitted by this date, the amount due will be estimated. Payment is due from July 2022 and employers will have the option to pay by direct debit over 10 months until March 2023.

Looking ahead, employers should submit their completed 2022 Levy Return by 30 June 2022 and any grant claims will be withheld until it is received. Failure to submit a completed 2022 Levy Return by 30 November 2022 will mean eligibility for all grant claims will be lost.

Latest Immigration Guidance

The Home Office has introduced a new immigration route, Global Business Mobility, to support companies expanding their presence in the UK. It includes a number of new visa options for foreign workers ‐ Senior or Specialist Worker, Graduate Trainee, Secondment Worker, Service Supplier, and UK Expansion Worker ‐ who will not need to prove their knowledge of English when applying.

Most foreign workers in construction are likely to be ‘skilled workers’ and will require a Skilled Worker visa to work in an eligible occupation. The Build UK flowchart providing an overview of the process of employing a foreign worker, along with our detailed guidance on How to Get a Sponsor Licence and How to Apply for a Skilled Worker Visa, have been updated to reflect the latest requirements.

There is currently a range of visa support available for Ukrainian nationals and their family members ‐ Ukraine Extension Scheme, Ukraine Family Scheme and Homes for Ukraine ‐ which enables them to stay in the UK for up to three years.

Smart Check App

There have been over 15,000 downloads of the new CSCS Smart Check App since its launch on 1 April. Build UK’s How to be a Smart Site guide includes information on the app to support members to check that everyone on site has the right qualifications and training for the job they do.

Open Doors 2023

The next Open Doors will take place from Monday 13 ‐ Saturday 18 March 2023 to inspire the next generation to choose a career in construction. We have published a Countdown to Open Doors 2023, and please make sure your Open Doors Coordinator attends the meeting on 16 June.

Inspiring Change 2022

The CLC is supporting this year’s Inspiring Change Conference and Awards on Wednesday 6 July to raise awareness of the value of more inclusive workplace cultures in construction. Sponsored by CITB, the event is free to attend and will feature a range of speakers from across construction and other sectors who have helped to attract and retain diverse talent within their organisations.

The event will also include the Inspiring Change Awards to celebrate organisations across the industry that have created a more inclusive culture. Entries are open across five categories, and the deadline for submissions is this Friday 13 May

last Updated: 05/05/2022

Building Safety Act 2022

The Building Safety Bill has now received Royal Assent and become law, paving the way for the most significant changes to building safety regulation in a generation. Whilst the final text of the Building Safety Act is yet to be published, it is expected to incorporate a number of key changes reflecting the Government’s approach to the remediation of unsafe cladding, focussed on protecting leaseholders and ensuring the ‘polluter pays’.

The Act introduces the Building Safety Regulator and Construction Products Regulator, as well as a gateway system to ensure building safety regulatory requirements are met at different stages of the planning and construction process. The majority of the provisions will not come into effect for another 12 to 18 months until the secondary legislation is developed. Along with the Fire Safety Act introduced in 2021, there is now a new building safety regime and the Government has published a series of factsheets to help dutyholders and the wider industry understand the new requirements.

Members Debate Key Issues

Thanks to all those members who joined our Forum meetings earlier this week. Contractor and Client members heard from the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) on the latest cyber security guidance for construction. Over 60% of large companies in the UK reported having cyber security breaches or attacks in 2020/21 and the construction sector is particularly vulnerable due to its complex supply chains and high cash flow. Contractor members interested in discussing their experiences and learning from others are invited to nominate a representative to Build UK.

Trade Association and Professional Services members were joined by the Department for Education for an update on the rollout of T Levels. Members across the supply chain are encouraged to consider offering work placements for T Levels, and Build UK’s work experience guide contains useful information on providing placements for those of school age, as well as internships and work experience for career changers.

The next Forum meetings will take place on Tuesday 5 July and details of all upcoming Build UK meetings can be found in our schedule of meetings and events.

Decline in Construction Activity

The latest information from Builders’ Conference shows that 318 contracts worth £5.2 billion were awarded in April. The number of contracts fell to its lowest level in more than five years and the value of contracts was down on the first three months of this year despite the awarding of four large infrastructure projects worth a combined total of £1.9 billion. 57% of all the contracts awarded by value were in the private sector. Overall, there were 19 road projects worth £2.1 billion (41%); 90 housing projects totalling £1.1 billion (22%); and 30 office projects worth £276 million (5%).

The number of tender opportunities was 9% lower than the previous month and 46% below the monthly average for the past year.

Visa Support for Ukrainian Nationals

Ukraine Extension Scheme ‐ New scheme allowing Ukrainian nationals and their immediate family in the UK who already had permission to stay on or before 18 March 2022, or those whose permission to stay has expired since 1 January 2022, to extend their stay for up to three years, even if their visa does not normally allow them to do so.

Ukraine Family Scheme ‐ Allows family members of British nationals, UK settled persons and certain others to apply to join or accompany their UK‐based family member for up to three years.

Homes for Ukraine ‐ Enables those without family in the UK to apply to come and stay in the UK for up to three years if they have a named eligible sponsor who can provide accommodation.

CLC Industry Skills Plan

The CLC has published an update to its Industry Skills Plan, which sets out how to tackle the skills challenges facing construction through to 2025. The report highlights the industry’s successes over the last year and provides updates on the four priority areas of Culture, Routes into Industry, Competence and Future Skills.

Mast Climber Safety Alert

The HSE has issued a safety alert following the discovery of a serious technical fault in the drive units of some mast climbing work platforms (MCWPs) which means they could fall from height. All Build UK members using this type of equipment are advised to read the information from HSE and take action where required.

An Infrastructure Revolution

The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) has published its second report on the delivery of infrastructure projects focussed on how professionals can become better at planning, constructing and integrating the complex systems installed across the UK. A Systems Approach to Infrastructure Delivery outlines eight principles that should be adopted to deliver projects effectively and reflects Build UK’s position that collaboration and an integrated supply chain is key, stating that “owners need to create an integrated and collaborative enterprise that embraces all of the key organisations working on a project”. Case studies include Tideway, HS2 and East West Rail.

Build UK’s series of factsheets covers a range of national and local infrastructure projects across the UK to help everyone in the industry explain what they are and why they are being built in Britain today.

Last Updated: 28/04/2022

Funding for Cladding Remediation

Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, has reached an agreement with developers that will see them commit a minimum of £2 billion to fix fire‐safety issues with their own buildings. To date, 36 of the UK’s largest homebuilders have pledged to fix all buildings over 11 metres that they have played a role in developing over the last 30 years, and Gove has urged other developers to sign up, stating that those who refuse to do so could be prevented from building and selling new homes in the future. Alongside this, the Government has confirmed plans to extend the Building Safety Levy to be paid by developers on all new residential buildings in England, which is expected to raise up to £3 billion over the next decade to support remediation works.

Gove has also written to the product manufacturing sector, expressing his disappointment at its failure to make a public funding commitment and reiterating that the Government will do ‘whatever it takes’ to make sure they are held to account through the powers established in the Building Safety Bill.

All the latest building safety news can be found in Build UK’s Grenfell update.

Impact of War in Ukraine

The Government has announced new measures to support Ukraine under its free trade agreement, which include reducing all tariffs on goods imported to zero and removing all quotas. It has also strengthened sanctions against Russia, with tariffs increased by up to 35 percentage points and the list of products facing import bans expanded to include silver and wood products.

The latest statement issued by the CLC Product Availability Group confirms that ‘the impact of the war in Ukraine is only beginning to be felt by UK construction’. Sanctions against Russia have led to reports of nickel prices doubling, which affects the price of stainless steel, whilst rising energy and raw material costs are continuing to drive up prices, particularly for energy‐intensive products like steel, cement and glass.

Roadmap to Zero Retentions

In light of recent Parliamentary discussions on the use of retentions in construction, Build UK and other members of the CLC have met with Construction Minister Lee Rowley to discuss how Government and industry can work together on this issue, building on the work previously undertaken by Build UK through our Roadmap to Zero Retentions. With any legislation on retentions unlikely during this Parliament, we will be reviewing the milestones in our roadmap over the coming months, including the Minimum Standards on Retentions and the table of public sector retention policies.

Dame Judith Hackitt has also made the case for removing retentions, stating that they are ‘totally inconsistent with collaborative procurement’. Speaking earlier this month at the launch of the Guidance on Collaborative Procurement for Design and Construction to Support Building Safety, she outlined how “suppliers assume they will never receive their retention payments…so therefore from the outset of projects with retentions involved they are looking for other ways to cut costs, cut corners and save money in whatever way possible”.

New Low Carbon Concrete Route Map

The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), a Build UK Alliance member, has published its Low Carbon Concrete Route Map, which explores how the industry can adopt the latest tools, technologies and materials to continue using concrete whilst working towards a zero‐carbon future. The cement used as the active ingredient within concrete produces emissions equivalent to 7.2 million cars each year, and the new route map sets out a number of recommendations for clients and contractors to help reduce emissions and support the Government’s ambition to achieve net zero by 2050.

Supporting the development of low carbon materials is one of the nine priorities within CO2nstruct Zero, the industry‐wide programme to drive carbon out of the sector. Build UK is encouraging members across the supply chain to sign up as a Business Champion by aligning their own business commitments to one or more of the CO2nstruct Zero priorities.

Open Doors 2023

The next Open Doors will take place from Monday 13 ‐ Saturday 18 March 2023 to inspire the next generation to choose a career in construction. We have published a Countdown to Open Doors 2023, supported by our Media Partner Building magazine. Please make sure your Open Doors Coordinator attends the meeting on 16 June.

PI Survey Reminder

The CLC is carrying out an industry‐wide survey on Professional Indemnity (PI) insurance to demonstrate to Government the ongoing challenges in obtaining appropriate cover. The deadline for responses is tomorrow (Friday 29 April) and members will need details of their level of cover and excess when completing it.

Inspiring Change 2022

The CLC is supporting this year’s Inspiring Change Conference and Awards on Wednesday 6 July to raise awareness of the value of more inclusive workplace cultures in construction. Sponsored by CITB, the event is free to attend and will feature a range of speakers from across construction and other sectors who have helped to attract and retain diverse talent within their organisations.

The event will also include the Inspiring Change Awards to celebrate organisations across the industry that have created a more inclusive culture. Entries are open across five categories, and the deadline for submissions is Friday 13 May.

Click here to view the PDA’s archive of Build UK information.