The construction industry will be at the centre of developments over the next generation to combat the climate change emergency; that much must now be clear after the COP26 meeting in Glasgow.
Much is happening on the climate change battle front, and the UK has pitched itself into the front line with wide ranging commitments to achieve net zero carbon by 2050, such as having all of our electricity to be ‘clean’ generated by 2035. This stance will attract worldwide attention with the COP26 United Nations Climate Change Conference heading for Glasgow in November.
Government’s latest National Construction & Infrastructure Pipeline detailing public sector procurement plans for the next ten years was released in September, representing the highest level of public sector infrastructure investment ever.
It would be hard to find evidence of anything good that came out of the collapse of Carillion; it was in fact an unmitigated disaster that will resonate deeply within the construction industry for years to come, and around which legal actions are still in the offing.
The headline news from the most recent Arcadis survey of global disputes is that the sums involved in disputes have more than doubled but the number of disputes has stayed about the same. Disputes are being resolved faster at an average of 13 months compared to 15 last year, and the UK is maintaining its lead in speedy dispute resolution, taking only 10 months on average.
The Times gave more space to construction and its problems in a series spread over three days in May than the industry has probably ever received at one go from a national newspaper. None of it was good.
A great divide exists between those who take proactive action to prevent undesirable events and those who just muddle along and wait until the bad thing happens before belatedly doing anything about it.
One thing that can be confidently said about the newly announced National Infrastructure Bank (NIB) is that it won’t be funding very much of the procurement of the UK’s national infrastructure.
Insurance has never felt cheap to companies in the construction sector, although many or most of them never took the sort of risk management measures highlighted in our regular insurance articles, so to a large extent often had only themselves to blame if they were paying higher premiums than they need have.
Much, if not all, of 2021 will be spent dealing with the fall out of the Covid-19 pandemic, and hopefully learning from the way the UK mobilised its central government procurement systems to combat it. There is much to learn.