Future of construction News

The CIOB Policy Team Newsletter - May 2021

Our May edition includes an overview of the key pieces of legislation announced in the recent Queen’s Speech, as well as a look ahead at our planned action on sustainability and research agenda for the coming year.

Felicity Handley

Public Affairs Officer

Last updated: 4th June 2021

Welcome to this month’s CIOB policy team newsletter. Our May edition includes an overview of the key pieces of legislation announced in the recent Queen’s Speech, as well as a look ahead at our planned action on sustainability and research agenda for the coming year. 

We would love to hear from you, so please do get in touch at policy@ciob.org.uk. 

One thing you need to do... submit your views on the Construction Leadership Council’s C02nstruct Zero consultation

The Construction Leadership Council’s (CLC) Net Zero workstream, CO2nstruct Zero is seeking views on how the industry should demonstrate progress on its collective net zero journey. 

The findings will feed into the creation of a performance framework – a suite of metrics, targets, milestones and commitments – that the industry can use to measure impact and understand when and where further action needs to be taken. 

The overarching framework will amplify many of the goals and initiatives already shared in this space, and ensure industry speaks with a single and unified voice.

A copy of the planned metrics and the accompanying survey can be accessed below. Please note, the closing date is 17:00 on 11 June.

1. Queen’s Speech

On 11 May, the Queen officially opened Parliament, setting out the Government’s priorities for the coming term and introducing thirty pieces of legislation for consideration in the coming year. 

CIOB issued a press release and briefed parliamentarians following the speech, highlighting the key role that the construction industry and wider built environment is set to play in the legislative plans – notably the introduction of the Building Safety Bill, the Planning Bill, Procurement Bill and the Skills and Post-16 Education Bill. 

In summary, these Bills will seek to:

  • Building Safety Bill: Create a new system for regulating the safety of high-rise buildings and inspecting construction sites.
  • Planning Bill: Introduce changes to the planning system in England. 
  • Procurement Bill: Replace EU rules on how the Government buys services from the private sector.
  • Skills and Post-16 Education Bill: Introduce a new ‘flexible loan system’ designed to promote wider participation in further education in England.

The policy and public affairs team will be tracking the passage of these bills in Parliament and providing input where necessary. The team have already provided substantial feedback on the draft Building Safety Bill and the Planning White Paper. Should you have any thoughts or concerns about these bills, or the others announced, please contact policy@ciob.org.uk.

2. CIOB on sustainability

With the UK set to host the 26th UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in November, CIOB has renewed its efforts to address sustainability of the built environment. 

CIOB has joined the Construction Industry Council’s (CIC) Climate Change Panel which comprises ten workstreams, contributing to the development of a climate action plan. This plan brings together work that is already underway, as well as setting out actions that the CIC and its members believe need to be taken by the professional institutes over the next 10 years to achieve the 2050 net zero target. The committee intends to present the plan at COP26, during the Built Environment Day. CIOB has taken on leadership of the one of the panel’s ten workstreams – Competence, Ethics and Advocacy. 

CIOB also sits on the RICS Carbon Database steering group, set up to oversee work on a database for use by all built environment professional institutes. This group is time limited, with the specific purpose of guiding work ahead of COP26. Finally, in relation to COP26, CIOB is participating in the UK Green Building Council’s (UKGBC) Built Environment Virtual Pavilion at COP26. The Pavilion will use virtual reality to showcase some of the most outstanding examples of sustainable building from around the world, providing a focal point for the property and construction sectors at the event. 

If you have any thoughts on how CIOB can take further action on climate change, or would like to be involved, please get in touch.


3. Government launches BB100 consultation 

On 27 May, the Department for Education published its latest consultation on Building Bulletin 100: Fire Safety Design for Schools. 

First published in 2007, Building Bulletin 100 (BB100) is the non-statutory guidance on fire safety for schools. It is supported by Approved Document B, which forms the statutory guidance to the 2010 Building Regulations on fire safety. 

The consultation is intended to review the now-14-year-old BB100 to update and simplify it, and to consider whether there is any content that is missing or now defunct. It sets 12 questions relating to 8 topic areas, including: 

  • Fire suppression systems 
  • Fire detection and alarm systems 
  • Vertical means of escape 
  • Compartmentation 
  • Inclusive design for special schools 
  • Boarding accommodation 
  • Cladding 
  • Fire safety management 

Importantly, the consultation will consider the need for automatic fire suppression systems in schools - an issue which CIOB has been campaigning for. In October 2020 we joined leading built environment organisations - including the National Fire Chiefs Council, Royal Institute of British Architects and Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors - in calling for a more consistent approach to life safety, and urging the Government to require the installation of fire sprinklers in schools, including the retrofitting of existing school buildings when relevant refurbishment takes place.

The BB100 consultation will be open until 18 August 2021, and responses can be submitted at www.education.gov.uk/consultations. 

> Find the full consultation document here 
> Read CIOB’s statement on fire sprinklers in schools here 

4.  Devolved news – Northern Ireland  

Following almost a year of engagement between CIOB and the Northern Irish Government, the Permanent Secretary of the Department of Finance in Northern Ireland has written to CIOB confirming that the MCIOB designation will be recognised in public procurement. 

Our influencing activity has enabled CIOB members to be given parity when competing for public sector building projects. It is an important step in showcasing the value of Chartership and the key role that our members play in delivering public construction and infrastructure projects. 

Over the coming years, the policy team will continue to raise awareness of the value and integrity signified by Chartership in the built environment. 

For further information on our work in Northern Ireland please contact jkilroy@ciob.org.uk. 


5. CIOB Research Update

To better understand the challenges affecting the built environment and provide policymakers with evidence-based solutions, the policy team conducts research on a wide range topics. This year, the team is planning to conduct research into the impact of Covid-19 on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the sector.

Two thirds of workers in the UK's construction industry are employed by SMEs. Despite this, there have been long-standing issues with finance and procurement which have hindered the resilience of smaller businesses, leaving them susceptible to the ‘boom and bust’ nature of the industry. 

In England, while construction has been allowed to continue operating throughout the various lockdowns, other industries in the supply chain - for example manufacturing - have not. With construction firms reducing the number of workers on-site to comply with Covid-19 regulations, and adapting to businesses elsewhere in the supply chain being forced to close, many SMEs have been adversely affected. Businesses within the industry have faced delays to projects, contractual disputes and rising material costs due to supply shortages. With SMEs bearing the brunt of this disruption, without support from Government, it is likely that many small businesses will fail from the short and long-term effects of the pandemic. 

CIOB will therefore be investigating these issues further and later this year will publish a report including recommendations to both industry and Government to aid in improving SME resilience.

If you have any thoughts that you wish to share on this research piece, please contact policy@ciob.org.uk.  

Coming up in June

We are expecting the release of the UK Government’s long-awaited Heat and Buildings Strategy. The Strategy will set out the immediate actions to reduce emissions from buildings, including deploying energy-efficient measures and transitioning to low-carbon heating. We are urging the Government to ensure it sets out its plans for the full £9.2 billion promised in the 2019 Conservative manifesto.

Continuing the theme of energy efficiency and sustainability, World Environment Day will be held on 5 June to encourage worldwide awareness and action to protect our environment. Our own Green Committee will also be taking over CIOB’s regular ‘coffee morning’ to raise awareness and find out how we can contribute further as an industry. 

Lastly, CIOB Members’ Forum will take place virtually in June and we will be discussing some of the biggest issues affecting the sector, including quality, sustainability as well as other internal and governance issues for CIOB. 


If you made it this far... latest purchasing mangers’ index data

The latest IHS Markit/CIPS UK construction purchasing managers’ index (PMI) survey showed 47% of respondents reporting higher volumes of new work. Overall, the update has revealed a fourth straight month of growth activity for the sector, with the PMI activity index jumping to 64.2 in May, up from 61.6 in April.

The rapid return of new business, brought about primarily by the residential sector, has led to record numbers of new orders. This has had a knock-on effect on the cost of materials as well as caused suppliers’ delivery times to lengthen. 

A record surge in the cost of timber, bricks and steel sent construction industry costs to rise in May as new orders across the sector grew at the fastest pace in 24 years. 

The full news release can be found here. Do let the policy team know if the survey reflects what is happening on the ground.

Thank you for reading this month’s update from the CIOB policy team. We will be back in your inbox next month with more information about what the team is up to, what is going on in Parliament and built environment news to look out for.  
All the best,  
The CIOB policy team
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