Sharing the industry’s success stories from 2014 will be crucial to further improvement next year.
The construction industry has seen a resurgence in workload in 2014 but this has by no means been a universal experience throughout the country.
Activity in the south east and London has been extremely high throughout the year but there are still areas of the UK that have experienced very little growth.
We are all familiar with the challenges of the skills shortage and this is hitting home in some particular trades.
The industry debates this at every opportunity and there is universal agreement that we must all continue to work at improving the image of our industry to attract people in to work and also to attract investment from outside.
For the Considerate Constructors Scheme, improving the image of the industry is our core purpose and we’re delighted to report that 2014 saw some of the highest levels of Site Registrations ever experienced and they continue to increase year on year.
This indicates that not only is image important to the industry but that having an independent organisation benchmarking the performance of sites, companies and now suppliers is also just as important.
The CCS Monitors undertook approximately 14,500 visits in the last twelve months.
Each visit provided an opportunity for a discussion about image and how the site team could go about improving it even further.
It is essential that there is substance and depth to the industry’s improving image.
There is no point in attracting new entrants for them to find an archaic, out of date workplace with employers who do not care about them or the public.
Importantly as a Scheme, we have also seen a continued improvement in performance against our Code of Considerate Practice in the past year.
This was also apparent during the recession as well as during the recovery.
It is most encouraging to see that despite all the other pressures on our site teams there is still a desire to ‘do the right thing’.
However if the public are asked whether they believe the industry has improved its image the answers are mixed.
Perception of our industry is often driven by the ‘cowboy builder’ stereotype that still pervades the TV schedules.
As an industry we need to work out how we can encourage improvement in the domestic builder sector.
At the Scheme we believe that part of the answer is for the industry to identify and share best practice as widely as possible.
To facilitate this, the Scheme is launching a ‘Best Practice Hub’ in January.
This is a repository of examples of the very best of considerate construction.
The hub is free and accessible to everyone, and will be a central resource for the Scheme to signpost during monitor visits, workshops, seminars and other advice and guidance opportunities including work with educational establishments.
For the industry to redress the skills shortage and respond to the infrastructure and house building ambitions of politicians it needs to become a career of choice for a wide range of people of all ages and ethnicity, and equally for men and women.
The Considerate Constructors Scheme will continue to play its part in helping the industry improve its image to achieve this goal and secure its future.
Mike Petter is chairman of the Considerate Constructors Scheme.