The recently published CBI paper, New Foundations, believes that if the industry is to successfully support the country’s long-term net-zero and levelling-up ambitions, then Government and the construction industry must work together to improve construction buying habits. New Foundations calls for reforms outlined in the 2020 Construction Playbook to be accelerated to enable to the construction sector to fulfil its unique role in bringing ‘Build Back Better’ aspirations to life. 

CBI recognises that that construction industry has been “drastically and permanently altered” by the pandemic and now sees spiralling costs and labour shortages adding additional pressures. 

New Foundations contains 17 recommendations for action, including:

  • Enhancing the Cabinet Office’s ability to identify and act on businesses’ reports of poor procurement practices.
  • Using the upcoming Comprehensive Spending Review to ensure rapid rollout of public sector construction training materials and delivery.
  • Driving forward exemplar works under Project Speed to demonstrate how Playbook guidance can shape successful end-to-end construction projects.
  • Requiring public sector contracting authorities to commit to working alongside suppliers to manage risks more equitably.
  • Establishing a client leadership group to support the adoption of Playbook behaviours throughout the private sector.
  • Setting out a Playbook delivery plan at local authority level, including guidance on how rules should dovetail with devolved procurement policies.

The report also includes recommendations on the crucial issue of sustainability and calls for Government to ensure clear and consistent targets and reporting standards to build confidence for the sector and its investors.

Gregor Craig, chair of the CBI Construction Council and President & CEO of Skanska UK, said:

“The construction industry’s make-or-break role in building the foundations of a net-zero economy by 2050 means we must accelerate our response to the climate imperative. The impacts of the pandemic, new political priorities, and policy developments have created a period of disruption, and this change is the catalyst for permanent transformation in the industry’s business model – but we cannot do it alone.

“New Foundations sets clear priorities for action, from rollout of comprehensive public sector training to implementation of procurement reform and collaboration with industry to manage risk. But success relies on Government embedding the reforms detailed in the 2020 Construction Playbook at all levels – from the major departments and arms-length bodies, right through to local authorities.”

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