BSRIA is calling for the findings of the Farmer Review of the UK Construction Labour Model to be put into action wherein developers have been told to ‘support innovation in construction’. A private report by Mark Farmer, founding director and chief executive of Cast Consultancy – in response to a commission by the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) – into the state of the construction industry, was released last week.
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) originally called for the report to carried out.
The report warns that the industry faces “terminal decline” unless it takes radical action and calls for: an overhaul of workforce training; government intervention to encourage modern construction methods; and a culture change to boost collaboration and innovation.
It states: “In the medium to longer-term, and in particular if a voluntary approach does not achieve the step-change necessary, government should consider introducing a charge on business clients of the construction industry to further influence commissioning behaviour and to supplement funding for skills and innovation.”
Farmer argues that large companies should pay up to 0.5 per cent of the cost of a scheme’s construction into a government pot, which would then be used to help drive innovation and modernisation in the industry.
Julia Evans, Chief Executive, BSRIA said: “BSRIA acknowledges the work that went into this report but the recommendations are nothing new and action rather than yet more words is crucial. The key issue here is industry’s willingness to act in light of the findings.
Indeed, on behalf of our members, we should be wary of such levies as we already have the apprenticeship levy on the horizon. Too many levies could be the final straw. It isn’t the money that’s the issue per se – it’s more about the thought process and approach.”
The Farmer Review: 10 key action points
- Reform Construction Leadership Council around tripartite government, industry and client covenant in order to drive recommendations.
- Reform Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) to be more efficient, fund innovation, and include related sectors.
- Government, industry and clients to work together to reform industry business models around value for building end users.
- Institute innovation programme with residential focus.
- CITB to align grant funding to a reformed industry.
- CITB or purpose made vehicle to specifically work on improving public image of construction.
- Government to re-engineer further education sector, planning and tax/employment policies to produce right skills.
- Government to use existing funding streams and policy to stimulate pre-manufacture.
- Government to publish a pipeline of housing developments.
- Government to impose client levy if above measures shown not to be working.
The Farmer Review of the UK Construction Labour Model