Scottish Construction Accord officially launched with the aim of transforming sector

L-R: Ron Fraser, Peter Reekie, Ivan McKee MSP, James McQueer

THE Scottish Construction Accord has officially been launched in a move designed to help businesses thrive, enhance working conditions for employees, improve the delivery of construction quality, and assist with net zero goals.

The Accord – described as the first of its kind in the UK – also highlights the need to improve the ‘capability and diversity’ of the construction workforce, reform procurement practices, and increase the use of digital technology and modern methods of construction.

The Accord sets out collaborative working arrangements to develop and deliver a transformation plan for the sector, setting the industry on a pathway to net zero.

The potential for an Accord between the construction industry and the public sector to improve outcomes was identified by the Infrastructure Commission for Scotland in its Delivery Findings Report, presented to Scottish Government in July 2020.

Following a consultation period, the Scottish Construction Accord was officially launched by business minister Ivan McKee and industry leaders acting through the Construction Leadership Forum (CLF).

Its implementation will be driven by a Transformation Action Plan with working groups focusing on key priorities. In launching the Accord, the CLF called on industry stakeholders with ideas and capacity to participate in working groups to get in touch through its website, and for anyone interested in updates on the activity to register as a network member.

Ivan McKee, who is also chair of the CLF, said, “The construction sector is vital for Scotland’s economy, employing more than 130,000 people and playing a key role in delivering Scotland’s just transition to net zero. This industry-wide Accord contains a real commitment to ensuring construction remains a valuable contributor to the economy, while delivering change aligned with our National Strategy for Economic Transformation. As a major investor in infrastructure, the Scottish Government has a strategic and important role to play in ensuring the industry is fit for the future.

“The Construction Accord heralds a new shared commitment from industry and the public sector to work together to transform the construction sector, for the good of the industry, the economy and the country.”

Peter Reekie, chief executive of infrastructure body the Scottish Futures Trust, and chair of the executive group of the CLF, added, “The Scottish Construction Accord and the forthcoming Transformation Action Plan recognises that change is needed and we can only deliver it by working together. We need to bring in new and diverse talent and ensure the whole workforce has the competencies to support the future of the industry and we need to build and maintain assets in different ways using different materials to deliver a net zero, carbon-built environment.

“These changes must be underpinned by procurement and commercial arrangements which support sustainable and profitable businesses throughout the supply chain, investing in the future and delivering fair work for all.”

Ron Fraser, chair of Construction Scotland Industry Leadership Group and co-chair of the CLF’s Transformation subgroup, commented, “The construction sector encompasses the design, manufacture, construction and maintenance of the built environment that supports us all and offers an incredibly varied, satisfying and rewarding career to people of many different backgrounds and talents. Those who work in it know that it could achieve much more for all its stakeholders if some things were done differently – not least the ways in which we do business together – and the Accord is an opportunity for the industry, its public sector customers and the Scottish Government, to work together to discuss and agree the nature of those changes and to see them through to implementation.

“I would encourage all who have a keen interest in the future development and transformation of the sector, and who can bring their experience and knowledge to the dialogue process, to register an interest in getting involved.”