Last year’s construction industry report ‘Modernise or Die,’ penned by Mark Farmer, was a damning and honest breakdown of the contemporary issues affecting UK construction. Referenced generously in our blog in the last 12 months, the ominous title suggests that it’s time for the UK industry to embrace change quickly or face inevitable and devastating consequences.
During his talk at the CENE (Constructing Excellence in the North East) Construction Summit, Mark indicates that integration is key to a more productive and sustainable industry. The UK government and clients must take more responsibility in ensuring a more integrated industry, with an emphasis on leadership.
“If necessity is the mother of invention, discontent is the father of progress”
There’s plenty of discontent in certain areas of the UK construction industry at present. Mark puts particular stress on the negative media coverage of certain housebuilders and the quality of their work which has attracted national attention in recent months, looking also at the Grenfell tragedy as an extreme example of the incompetence and negligence which haunts certain sections of the industry. As inquiries continue, so should questions about what is being done to resolve systemic failures resulting in a multitude of issues highlighted in the farmer report last year which resurface again and again, including a lack of productivity and innovation, poor investment, skills shortages and dogged profit margins.
Discontent is a means for change, and the full impact of the scathing Farmer remains to be seen. However, within the last 12 months of its publication, we’ve seen changes in legislation and multiple government body publications encouraging larger businesses to promote innovative behaviours. Mark has recently returned from Melbourne, Australia where increased standardisation and offsite manufacturing are rife; the Australian construction should be seen as a shining example of an industry ready and willing to embrace change quickly, who’s practices would indelibly help to pull UK Construction from the brink.
Mark’s final note was that regional bodies play a tangible role in the industry’s endeavor for progress. Construction bodies such as the CENE, local authorities, clients and main contractors are all responsible in driving this overdue change.