After a year in which the construction industry in Scotland moved from crisis to recovery and rebuilding, members of the Construction Industry Coronavirus (CICV) Forum are looking forward to 2022 in a positive frame of mind.
Asked about their wish-list for the sector for the coming year, its leading members expressed a strong desire for the continuation of the remarkable cooperation and collaboration which has been the organisation’s hallmark since its creation in March 2020.
While supply chain, training and future skills issues were aired, the collective’s wish-list was predominantly focused on how it can consolidate and build on its many successes while making the necessary transformations to continue its momentum.
Alan Wilson, CICV Forum Chair and Managing Director of electrical trade association SELECT, says: “The next 12 months will represent a new chapter and a new identity for the CICV Forum – more of which will be revealed in January.
“Initially set up less than two years ago to deal with the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak, the Forum has quickly established itself as the representative voice of the trade and professional bodies who operate in Scotland and developed its work to deal with other issues, including the low carbon agenda, material shortages and skills.
“It’s great that everyone connected with the Forum wants to see it continue and flourish and my hope for 2022 is that it will go from strength to strength, representing the views of the thousands of businesses, large and small which make up the construction sector.”
Fiona Hodgson, CEO of SNIPEF, echoed his sentiment, saying: “I am hopeful that 2022 will continue to see the CICV Forum collaborate and share constructive and meaningful conversations to further embrace the opportunities that the past two challenging years have brought to the construction sector.
“With longer term strategic thinking and planning, rebuilding the way we work to be both creative and smarter will see us collectively benefit and provide the very best for our stakeholders and customers. Crisis events such as the pandemic can, and should, shape economic thinking and represent a rare but narrow window of opportunity to reflect, reimagine, and readjust priorities.”
Asked for his hopes for the future, Gordon Nelson, Scotland Director of the Federation of Master Builders, comments: “Top of my wish-list is for buoyant workloads for the backbone of our construction industry – SMEs. I would like material prices to stabilise quickly and I would like to see the back of the elongated lead times for the likes of timber, bagged cement and insulation, which have been the bane of builders’ lives for much of 2021. These moves would boost confidence and allow the industry to continue to attract and train the apprentices needed to grow the workforce. For the Forum itself, I wish for a highly successful Green Home Festival in August that will build on the achievements of COP26.”
Fiona Harper, The Secretary of the Scottish Joint Industry Board and Director of Employment & Skills at SELECT, adds: “We have all benefited from collaborating and working together since COVID-19 and I would very much like to see that continue. We all face essentially the same problems and issues, such as a shortage of people and an ageing workforce with an ever-growing workload.
“The future talent pool is critical to the success and sustainability of the construction industry. With that in mind, we are surely stronger together as we address these issues and create the right training environments which are inclusive and train people in the right skills, making the businesses they work for truly competitive and diverse.”
Iain McIlwee, Chief Executive of the Finishes and Interiors Sector, adds: “My New Year’s resolution is to find more time. Modernising methods of construction requires modern methods of procurement, and that means looking at how we allocate and use time more effectively and avoid repetition of mistakes. The Forum is a bastion of hope for me. It exemplifies collaboration and, as it evolves, I am confident it will help us to step out of the chaos of the project and find better ways of working.”
Brett Amphlett, Policy & Public Affairs at the Builders Merchants’ Federation, says: “The past 18 months has cast light on the importance of the property repair, maintenance and improvement (RMI) market. With offices empty and many people working from home, a greater number of leaders can now see the extent of, and need to, repair, adapt and improve homes. My wish for 2022 is that this reaffirmation of the value of the RMI market offers businesses encouragement for future employment, productivity and prosperity in Scotland.
“The work of the CICV Forum has been instrumental in bringing trade and professional bodies together and I’m glad that collaborative effort will be continuing for the benefit of all. BMF members are up to the challenge in 2022 and we can all look forward to better days ahead.”
Iain Mason, Chair of the Forum’s Communications Sub-Group and Director of Communications at SELECT, comments: “It has been a remarkable year and the realisation that, as a sector, we are much stronger together is now firmly embedded as a foundation on which we can build with confidence.
“There are great changes in store for the Forum in 2022 and we can look forward to the same spirit of collaboration and cooperation as we work towards a new, sustainable future for the construction industry in Scotland.”