What effect will the new Scottish parliament have on construction? Nobody knows. None of the four main parties has a specific construction spokesperson, but all have views on housing, transport, education and health. So, the industry will have to lobby a number of departments and rely on a combination of ministers to fight its cause.
The Scottish construction industry has been quick to start lobbying the main parties on issues such as the private finance initiative, housing and cowboy builders. The RICS, the Scottish Building Employers Federation and the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland see the weeks before the election as their big chance to shape policy affecting construction and influence what, in some cases, are inexperienced candidates.
They have not had to work too hard to get the PFI on the agenda. All parties concede that some form of public-private partnership is needed. But the acknowledged front-runners, Labour and the Scottish National Party, are at loggerheads over the issue.
Labour wants the PFI to continue in its current form and gained some backing for it at the recent Scottish TUC conference. The SNP favours setting up two private trusts to commission and finance projects. One would cover major PFI schemes and infrastructure investment; the other would fund housing. Unlike the current system, the buildings would be held in the "community interest" in perpetuity.
The SNP claims that it will be able to spend £236m more on housing, thanks to the penny it wants to add to income tax.
Liberal Democrats promise to use the parliament's tax varying powers – if necessary – to boost housing investment via a mixture of housing associations and local authority landlords. It also pledges to set up a Scottish housing ministry. Meanwhile, the Tories are pushing the right to buy for council tenants.
Planning is also high on the agenda. The parliament will have the power to change all planning decisions made by Westminster to suit Scottish needs. The Liberal Democrats promise to set up a Scottish parliamentary commission of architects, planners and community leaders to set planning criteria. Labour and the SNP say they are keen to "streamline" the planning process, but details on how this will be done are sketchy.
Similarly, all parties pay lip-service to brownfield development – and none has any specific policies. That is why industry groups say the lobbying work will continue into July and beyond – the parliament's procedural rules allow much longer consultation periods than in Westminster.
The construction industry in Wales is not lobbying political parties with as much vigour as in Scotland. Indeed, the Welsh Society of Architects does not plan to start lobbying until after the elections.
However, changes to the planning appeals system are already causing concern. Appeals are currently made to the secretary of state for Wales. From 1 July, appeals will be heard by the assembly's planning committee. The CBI and the Conservatives are worried that this will lengthen the appeals process. But Plaid Cymru, Labour and the Liberal Democrats are in favour. They say that the new system will be more democratic than its predecessor.
Liberal Democrats are keen to bring environmental issues into the planning process. They want legislation that requires all major planning applications to include a statement on environmental impact. A party spokesman said: "We want to ensure that more comprehensive planning guidance is provided on key environmental issues and on the whole question of sustainability." The PFI is another hot issue. Plaid Cymru says it wants alternative methods of funding projects wherever possible: "While being generally unhappy with the idea of PFI, we would not want to rule it out entirely if alternative routes of funding are not available." This view is echoed by the Liberal Democrats.
Labour remains committed to the PFI and wants to extend it to housing repair.
The Liberal Democrats want to address the high cost of bidding for PFI projects by reducing bureaucracy in the tendering process. The Tories are less concerned. "Unfortunately, that's the way it is in business," a party spokesman said. A Labour representative said the party was not proposing to change the system.