The Construction Leadership Council’s (CLC) Covid-19 Taskforce has released a Roadmap to Recovery outlining its strategy to drive the recovery of the construction industry over the next two years following the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and economic downturn. The plan is divided into three phases:
1. Restart (months 1-3)
During which the emphasis is on:
- restarting work on existing projects and increasing work to the highest level possible consistent with government guidance;
- maximising employment; and
- minimising disruption due to contractual disputes.
The proposals include encouraging the government to provide specific test, track and trace services for the construction workforce and encouraging both public and private sector clients to be open about their anticipated workloads over the next 24 months and share information about material and product supply and demand.
The CLC is also encouraging a more flexible job retention scheme to enable continued support during a phased return to work up to the end of 2020.
2. Reset (months 3-12)
During which the emphasis will be on:
- demand and supply-side measures to increase workloads across infrastructure, construction, housing and domestic new build and RMI, and developing a robust pipeline of work across the entire sector;
- new measures to compensate for loss of productivity due to the requirement to implement government guidelines; and
- strengthening capability in the supply chain through investing in training, collaborative business models, fairer contracts and payment.
Of note is the fact that the CLC is encouraging the government to delay the implementation of the new Reverse Charge VAT rules for a further year until 1 October 2021. To date the government has only agreed to delay implementation until 1 March 2021
They will also be urging the government to accelerate the existing ACM cladding remediation programme and new £1bn non-ACM Building Safety Fund to provide a pipeline of early work.
They are also encouraging a “flexible” approach to apprenticeship levy contributions during this period.
3. Reinvent (month 12 onwards) during which the emphasis will be on:
- transformation through adopting digital and manufacturing technologies (including offsite materials) to consistently deliver low carbon, sustainable and better quality outputs and outcomes;
- delivering better value through adopting procurement models and approaches; and
- collaboration and partnership between the industry and its clients and supply chain firms.
It remains to be seen how the government will respond to these proposals. The industry is already making its own progress in terms of increased activity levels. In the meantime the CLC intends to publish sub-sector recovery plans for RMI, infrastructure, construction, and housing. It will then review and adapt its overarching plan in September 2020, which will mark the end of the "restart" phase. Whilst the restart and reset phases are direct responses to the pandemic and the need to reinvigorate activity, the reinvent phase includes more ambitious goals. It remains to be seen how government and the industry address these elements of the plan.
The full CLC document is available here.