Minister outlines construction’s priorities for the year ahead

Construction firms cannot afford to get complacent in their efforts to become safer, greener and more efficient after a year of progress, the government has said.

Construction minister Lee Rowley said the industry had demonstrated its ability to adapt to challenges posed by covid-19 last year and its “willingness to improve”.

But he added: “We can’t rest on our laurels. We will continue to face challenges during 2022. Only by working together collectively, will we continue to meet these challenges, and truly build back better, faster and greener for future generations.”

Rowley’s statement formed part of the latest annual review published by the Construction Leadership Council (CLC), which he co-chairs.

The review outlines the progress made by the industry on a range of issues including net zero and building safety.

Lee Rowley

Lee Rowley said the industry will continue to face challenges in 2022

It also sets out four key priorities for 2022 which the CLC said are in most need of collaborative action from firms in order to succeed.

The group said the industry needs to focus on net zero carbon, building safety, addressing skills shortages and implementing the construction playbook, a government document outlining ways to make the industry more efficient.

CLC co-chair Andy Mitchell said: “We know that some of the threats facing our sector are daunting, but we are now working together as a sector, talking on challenges with a united approach. 

“I hope that when we come to write our Annual Review for 2022 the whole sector will be able to judge us by our successes in delivering real change.”

The group said its work this year will include continuing to publish quarterly data showing the sector’s net zero progress, and helping to roll out frameworks to ensure that those working on buildings have the competence to build and maintain them safely. 

It added that it will continue to monitor the availability of products which need to be retested in the UK to get the new UKCA certification, which will replace the existing CE marking on 1 January next year.

The review included a statement by Construction Products Association chief executive Peter Caplehorn, who sits on the CLC’s product availability group, flagging the lack of testing capacity for some products.

He said that full compliance of the construction products sector after the deadline is now “almost impossible”.