Construction inquiry recommendations welcomed by Industry Leadership Group



Last week’s report urging construction industry leaders to “take ownership” for driving change in the sector has been welcomed by industry leadership organisation Construction Scotland.

Ken Gillespie

The report, from a committee of MSPs, said more “industry-wide leadership” is needed on the collaboration and coordination required to tackle longstanding challenges around procurement, access to finance, innovation and cultural image.

These are among a range of issues that would encourage growth in a sector that employs 147,000 people in Scotland and which is characterised by a wide diversity of subsectors and outputs, it added.

The inquiry also called on the Scottish Government to continue to work together with the industry to ensure that improvement is made in these key areas.

The economy, energy and fair work committee inquiry into Scotland’s construction sector said it is “essential” that long-term value is the focus of public procurement rather than lowest cost. It also calls on the Scottish Government to consider how public authorities and businesses can be better supported to make this a reality.

Ken Gillespie, chair of Construction Scotland’s Industry Leadership Group, said: “As the voice for Scotland’s construction sector, Construction Scotland welcomed this inquiry and its findings, which highlighted many of the same key issues identified during our strategy consultation process.

“Procurement reform continues to be a key focus for Construction Scotland. The way work is procured and delivered has a massive impact on what proportion of the overall economic benefits of construction – such as workers’ salaries, payments to subcontractors, profits made, tax and dividends paid – stays in Scotland. It is also key to unlocking the sector’s ability to invest in the innovation, skills and new technologies needed to boost productivity.”

Scotland’s construction industry contributes £11.4bn to Scotland’s GVA (8.5% of the total). For every £1 spent on construction output, a total of £2.94 is generated in the economy. 

Ken added: “Our strategy, launched in November last year, focuses on the big issues and game-changers that are affecting our sector: ending lowest cost procurement, increasing skills and diversity, improving quality, supporting reform of planning and building regulations, improving productivity and profitability and facilitating sector growth.

“Each priority will be addressed by an action plan for the industry, coordinated and facilitated by Construction Scotland, with key milestones and timescales for delivery, with the aim of the industry becoming more sustainable, productive, innovative and profitable, enhancing its contribution to Scotland’s economy.

“Construction Scotland is already working with partners and customers in the industry across the public and private sectors to bring about positive change in these six areas, and following on from the inquiry we anticipate building on the valuable discussions already being held with the Scottish Government and across the construction sector.”