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The Constructing Excellence Midland and South West regions have recently launched an updated Clients Best Practice Guide, the first update since 2014.

The Clients Best Practice Guide can be downloaded HERE

This update like its predecessor has been developed by clients for clients and is aligned to goals and aspirations of the wider construction industry, such as the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) and the Governments Construction Playbook. Consequently, we are seeking the views of the wider Constructing Excellence community on how they currently procure construction services in relation to the updated best practice guidance.

The survey can be found HERE

Please follow the link to complete the survey, which is completely anonymous and will only take only 10 minutes of your time. This will enable us to gain an understanding of the pattern of procurement throughout the membership and help us to develop knowledge and tools for the future.

As the United Kingdom recovers from the pandemic, it is more important than ever that construction clients are ready to engage with industry in a meaningful way to bring about change.

Thank you for helping us to improve construction.

Spring has sprung, meteorologically-speaking, and I am sure we are all enjoying the recent warmer weather and sunshine.  Spring promotes feelings of positivity and hope and is the season of new growth.  Whilst the unseasonably good weather may not last long, let’s hope that we are indeed turning a corner and that those very important “green shoots of recovery” continue to grow.

Times have been tough and for many, still are, but as an industry we have shown resilience, adaptability and transformation.  Let’s continue to build on this and work together to improve industry performance and each play our part in tackling the challenges faced by the sector, including the supply of high-quality new homes, construction skills and innovation, and action on climate change.

Homes England – the Government’s housing accelerator, tasked with Making Homes Happen – is focussed on increasing the supply of high-quality new homes and supporting the Government’s ambitions to Build Back Better.  We will continue to build our capability to provide our partners with the certainty they need to keep building and growing their development pipelines, ensuring more people can access high quality new homes for rent and for homeownership.

We will soon be opening bidding on the £7.4bn portion of the £12.2bn affordable homes fund we are responsible for.  Partners can now bid for funding on a scheme by scheme basis.  This is the first fund to have been designed and launched since Homes England was created and a significant opportunity to explore new partnerships.  We are keen to enter into new strategic relationships with housing associations and affordable housing organisations of all sizes, to maximise the impact of the fund but also to support our partners’ delivery objectives across the full breadth of our business.

As part of our commitment to promoting innovation and boosting productivity we continue to leverage and finance the use of MMC to improve productivity and help the sector reduce its carbon footprint.  We are also ensuring developers consider health and active travel in their bids for our land and meet higher design standards.  By focusing on design, innovation and sustainability, we are working to improve the built environment and drive better outcomes for communities.

We are continuing the transformation of Homes England to make our services more usable for our partners. Adapting and innovating ourselves is essential if we are to achieve our ambitions and transform the housing market. By improving our processes and streamlining our work, our transformation work is freeing us up to focus more of our time on the ground alongside local partners.

In July 2020 we published our first Equality Diversity and Inclusion report setting out the steps we will take as an agency to be the change we want to see in the sector.  We want to be more inclusive and representative of the communities we serve and can only truly achieve that by creating a workplace – and an industry – where everyone is able to be themselves.

In November 2020, we updated the Homes England Land Hub – Land Hub (arcgis.com).  Our Land Hub presents development sites that we plan to bring to market, unlocking the construction of thousands of new homes across the country.

In December 2020, we announced a new Dynamic Purchasing System (DPS).  From July 2021 the DPS will replace the current Delivery Partner Panel (DPP3), changing how Homes England procures housebuilders, increasing flexibility and introducing a new more proportionate approach to ensuring partners’ ability to deliver homes on sites. Housebuilders will have the option to apply to join the DPS at any time as our pipeline of sites coming to market are publicised on the Homes England Land Hub or are brought forward by public sector landowners.

Although, as individuals and organisations, we all face different challenges; one thing is certain, we are all part of an exciting industry and through working in partnership and collaboration, we will Build Back Better.  As a CESW Board member and Treasurer I would encourage you to make the most of CESW’s opportunities for influencing, networking and sharing.  CESW is a not-for-profit membership organisation and I would take this opportunity to call on member organisations with overdue subscriptions to settle their accounts, so that CESW can continue to drive the change agenda and deliver excellence.  Finally, a call to all non-members to join CESW, to participate, lead and benefit from CESW’s mission to deliver an industry of opportunity for all.

Kind regards,

Lisa

 

Lisa Broom BSc(Hons), MCIOB, AssocRICS

Senior Development Manager

Disposals – Central & West Development

(Pronouns: she/her)

Cornwall Council invite you to put forward proposals to build affordable homes on small sites in Cornwall.

Cornwall Council has been successful in a bid to take part in a new initiative with government agency Local Partnerships to help smaller local house builders develop sites across Cornwall.

They want to increase the supply of affordable housing for local people by working with small and medium sized construction and development firms to build homes on small sites.

Under this initiative the Council would enter into a contract to buy newly constructed homes off-plan from SME construction firms, which we would then rent out to families with a connection to Cornwall as affordable housing. It is intended a fixed price will be agreed with the house builder with financial support (such as stage payments) available from the Council to facilitate the build process.

The Council will evaluate proposals on sites put forward by reputable developers and builders that are already accredited by NHBC or LABC (or an equivalent body) or who would be willing to work towards gaining accreditation.

Interested developers can find more information by registering and searching for DN525199 or entering “Small Site housing Development (the development of affordable homes in Cornwall)” at www.supplyingthesouthwest.org.uk, or by contacting Cornwall Council’s Housing Delivery Team on 01872 324943 or by emailing  housingdelivery@cornwall.gov.uk

Submissions to this Invitation to Submit Proposals should be completed by any developer that wishes for their scheme to be considered and must be received by no later than midnight on 19th March 2021.

Housing Delivery & Development Team, Cornwall Council

With many UK construction workers reaching retirement age in the next few years, enticing young people into the industry has never been more important. For Paul Richards, Managing Director of Aquarian Cladding Systems, who came into the industry from school, the potential is out there. Here, he discusses why the education system needs to do more to help, why the perception of the industry needs to change – and why now could be the best chance the industry has to get young people on board.

The lifeblood of any industry can only be sustained by replenishing it with young people. New blood allows an industry to grow, push boundaries and come up with fresh ideas. And the construction industry is no different.

There are no exact figures for the average age of a construction worker however it is generally estimated that almost 50% are over 45. And that number is rising so if we conservatively guess the average age this year to be 45, it is fair to assume that it will be 46 next year and 47 the following year in the absence of new blood coming through.

The problem will be worse if Brexit shuts the door on the skilled European workers on which the UK construction relies, as it is estimated that almost three-quarters of all non-UK construction workers are under the age of 45.

The Government has announced its intentions to build more affordable housing and improve the nation’s estate of hospitals, schools, etc. But how? Clearly, solutions to the challenge are urgently required if we are to avoid a point where the industry can no longer deliver everything that is asked of it.

And the sad thing is, it really shouldn’t be this way.

Leaving the industry at 12 years old

The most frustrating thing is that we lose our potential to recruit from a very young age. Think about it – pre-school children become interested in the industry whilst watching Bob the Builder, get their hands dirty with LEGO, and become designers with Minecraft.

So, they are influenced from a young age to pick up the tools like a builder and create like an engineer or architect, before leaving the industry whilst barely a teenager!

We must get to the root of it and challenge what so enthralled them to watch it, play at it, and be creative when IT literate, only to then drop it. What is it that prevents them from continuing their journey and, in effect, leave the industry at the age of 12?

It can’t be anything other than the education system because somewhere along the line our potential employees are persuaded to do something else. Perhaps teachers and parents are dismissive of the industry? We must work harder to encourage and entice students of science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM subjects) to put their new-found skills and knowledge into an industry of opportunity.

One which is the second highest-paid industry sector and makes a long-term difference to the way we live like possibly no other industry.

Perception is key

One of the main problems is that young people see construction through a very narrow window – namely that it’s dirty, low paid, ‘outdoorsy’ and for people who don’t go to college. When they see a construction site, they see the muck and the mud but not the huge numbers of people that enable the project to happen. These are perceptions that need to change and it’s fair to say that as an industry our PR could be better.

We need to get the message out to young people and their parents that construction is a highly-skilled and highly-paid industry that offers amazing opportunities for personal development, a lifetime career, and the chance to work with some brilliant people. I have thoroughly enjoyed my career in the construction industry. It came completely by accident, but I have no regrets.

It’s vital that as an industry we pull together to shrug off the negative stereotypes that make it harder to attract young people. We need to demonstrate what the industry’s about through schools and inspire students from an early age so that we grab them when they are deciding their future.

We need to engage with the next generation to not only join the construction industry but also stay and build long and rewarding careers. It’s imperative that we create initiatives to encourage and support youngsters at the earliest opportunity. As an example, Constructing Excellence provides young professionals with the opportunity to network, share best practice and celebrate success through its Generation for Change (G4C) network and are the next generation’s voice of the UK built environment industry.

Construction companies also need to be encouraged to work closer with schools to demonstrate the great work they do and the opportunities for our future workforce.

Never let a good crisis go to waste

Now could be the perfect time to drive the message home. Many young people who are just leaving school, colleges and university are being hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic so a career in a stable industry is surely enticing.

The Government’s New Deal to ‘Build, Build, Build’, the Future Homes Standard 2025 and the UK’s commitment to Net Zero Carbon will only help stimulate the industry to reach new heights.

Ours is a multi-billion-pound industry that is changing rapidly. Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) are on the rise and using a suite of innovative new ideas, from volumetric units produced offsite to digital methods of design and engineering. Sites will be safer & cleaner, hours on site will be reduced and technology such as VR, AR and BIM makes for a very exciting future for the more IT-literate.

We have a once in a generation opportunity to attract more young people into the industry. For the individual, the opportunities for a dynamic career are endless and for the industry we must tackle the skills shortage and safeguard its future. As Winston Churchill famously said “Never let a good crisis go to waste”!

Working with architects, contractors, developers and installation specialists, Aquarian’s cladding systems have been used on many award-winning buildings across a wide range of sectors. Paul has more than 34 years in the industry and is also on the board of directors for Construction Excellence South West.

With Boris Johnson’s announcement that the country may return to pre COVID-19 conditions on Monday 21st June 2021 we, like many others, have been making arranging for our events and activities in the second half of the year.

With that in mind I would like to offer you a series of dates to mark in your diaries in the hope you can join us, and the face-to-face networking can re-commence.

Each of these events brings an opportunity of sponsorship and/or exhibition space availability and anybody interested should contact lynn.broughton@cesw.org.uk.

With all the pent-up frustration of having to work from home for fifteen months we feel the desire to get out and meet people will be massive and we hope and trust this series of events will be eagerly awaited by our members and supporters.

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