Why we can all do better

s you will read in our News section, SELECT launched its Scottish Parliamentary Manifesto a few weeks ago, stressing what needs to be done

to improve the sector. Our main messages were:

Introducing regulation for the industry via protection of title As we increasingly move towards an electrically-driven economy, it is vital that the next government uses the power which parliament has to introduce protection of title, thereby ensuring that all electrical work will be carried out by properly qualifi ed and competent electricians.

Improving the procurement landscape The procurement model which is used by most of Scotland’s public sector, and which still accounts for nearly 50 per cent of our construction spend, is fatally fl awed as it often means clients gravitate towards accepting bids based on lowest price, not quality. While we must all seek value for

money, the current process benefi ts no one. Clients who think they have a good deal on an initial low cost often suff er from short-term gain versus long-term pain as the true costs of ‘savings’ begins to bite after occupancy and use.

Play fair – pay fair Tied into a better procurement model is a need to make sure that all businesses are paid on time and in full. This means that a method must be found to ensure that payments are monitored down the

“A method must be found to ensure that payments are monitored down the construction chain”

construction chain. On the subject of payment, we can’t ignore the spectre of retention. This deduction of sums has eff ectively become another form of taxation on the sector and must be phased out.

Building a greener future As we move towards a net-zero carbon economy, it’s vital that we support businesses to take advantage of the opportunities. To deliver on the challenges of the government’s renewables target, it will be vital to train and upskill the existing workforce and ensure that new entrants are trained on both the core skills needed to be a qualifi ed electrician and the skills that will help the nation achieve its net-zero carbon goals.

T e big picture – food for thought When speaking to politicians and mentioning

construction, they often fi nd it hard to look beyond

construction sites with scores of cranes or new roads. However, a recent report, carried out by the

Fraser of Allander Institute at the University of Strathclyde, showed how investment in construction activity creates multiplier eff ects across social, economic, and

environmental impact measures. This report also highlighted the fact that the construction sector is an important contributor to the Scottish economy, supporting almost £16 billion in Scottish gross value added (GVA) and almost 300,000 full-time equivalent jobs across the Scottish economy through direct, indirect and induced economic activity.

It also revealed that every million pounds that is spent on specialised construction activities, which

included repairs and improvements, generates £1.09 million GVA return to the Scottish economy and supports 21 full-time

equivalent jobs. Proof that every part of construction has a part to play both in our COVID-19 recovery and in meeting our future demands.

Alan Wilson

Managing Director, SELECT

CABLEtalk APRIL/MAY 2021 5

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