Roadmap for recovery brings out best in our industry

"For perhaps the first time since I can remember, every major group along our diverse supply chain is speaking as one." - ACE chief executive Hannah Vickers.

The Construction Leadership Council’s industry plan for recovery demonstrates an unprecedented show of unity, argues Hannah Vickers.

Last week’s publication of the Construction Leadership Council’s (CLC) Roadmap for Recovery was remarkable for a number of reasons, but perhaps most of all in the unity it demonstrated. For perhaps the first time since I can remember, every major group along our diverse supply chain is speaking as one.

This has also been the case in the daily CLC Taskforce meetings I have been attending on behalf of ACE members. In fact, the level of support, encouragement and agreement between the industry groups has - quite frankly - been refreshing and this won’t have been missed by government and civil servants who have also been in attendance.

Through the roadmap’s restart, reset, reinvent framework, the organisations that form part of the CLC taskforce have created hooks from which a suite of recommendations can be hung. These will oil the wheels as the whole supply chain emerges from its current economic hibernation and help to kickstart broader economic recovery. Most importantly, every idea that has been put forward so far is something that can have a real impact which will make a difference in the coming weeks and months.

The plan outlines proposals in a number of areas. Some of these recommendations, such as delaying the introduction of reverse-charge VAT, have already been actioned by the government. Others, such as greater flexibility for the apprenticeship levy, increased investment in regeneration and infrastructure investment, backing for “fairer payments”, increased offsite manufacturing, digital processes, and support for new business models are being worked on. There is far more in the roadmap and I encourage you to download the document and explore it for yourself.

The government will be pleased that the outcomes help to level up the regions, meet net zero aspirations, and create jobs. While we await a formal response from them, the CLC is wasting no time and taking things forward through four industry working groups which will explore infrastructure, housing, domestic RMI (repair, maintenance and improvement) and local, social and commercial construction. ACE will be inputting into all of them, but is leading activity on the local, social and commercial group where there is a great opportunity to share your ideas and help shape the recovery.

In previous articles, I’ve outlined how the world has already changed and that our response cannot be one which returns to “business as usual”. Through its singular voice, this plan is unprecedented and, for this reason alone, cannot be ignored by government. All that is needed now is for the diverse and brilliant minds across our industry and the wider supply chain – from the pragmatic problem solvers to the creative utopians – to input into the roadmap to ensure that we truly can help society “build back better”.

Hannah Vickers is chief executive of the Association for Consultancy and Engineering.