18th September Journal Column

Web-LogoBy Catriona Lingwood, Chief Executive of Constructing Excellence in the North East

The Construction Leadership Council (CLC) was created in 2013 to work between industry and government to identify and deliver actions supporting UK construction in building greater efficiency, skills and growth.

The Conservative government slimmed down the CLC in July, more than halving members from 30 to 12. The plan was to replace those with personal interests in the industry for genuine leaders, which turned out to be bosses of foreign-owned contractors.

Needless to say this hasn’t gone down well with the majority of the industry who all felt uninvolved, and rightly so.

However, the government may have redeemed themselves by restructuring the council once again, suddenly finding space around the table for industry professionals and suppliers.

They have announced six ‘work streams’, which will involve an industry expert taking charge of different sectors within the industry. Laing O’Rourke chief executive, Anna Stewart, will be in charge of ‘people and skills’, whilst Skanska chief executive, Mike Putnam, will deliver work on all things green and sustainable. Crossrail chairman Andrew Wolstenholme will focus on ‘smart and innovation’ which is likely to include Building Information Modelling, and BDP’s David Cash will concentrate on ‘exports and trade’. Strategic Forum for Construction representative, Simon Rawlinson, will be in charge of ‘industry communication’ and Bouygues’ chief executive, Madani Sow, has been given the task of improving ‘supply chain and business models’.

From contractors to suppliers, architects consultants and house builders, the council now includes a representative for everyone. Involving some of the industry’s leading figures will provide more, much needed, business-focused changes.

The ‘leaders’ of the work streams have been tasked with getting the whole industry involved in decision-making and changes, which won’t be an easy job, but it’s significant in ensuring the industry goes from strength to strength. It’s not all as doom and gloom as we thought earlier in the year when CLC members were cut, this is a huge opportunity for more people to be involved, not less.

The update came at this week’s Construction Industry Summit, which is organised by the Construction Industry Council to mark progress on the industry’s journey to the goals set out in the 2012 industrial strategy, Construction 2025.

There was a noticeable absence of government ministers, which was a shame; it would have been nice to see some government support there. The newly formed council may have the potential to impact the industry but without the government behind them many of their decisions or changes will be limited.

The newly-formed CLC will meet for the first time next month and I’m excited to see what they bring to the table.