he Construction Leadership Council’s Roadmap to Recovery plan aims to restart and then reform the construction industry in three key phases. Like many areas of the economy, the construction industry has been deeply affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and the restrictions that had to be put in place in response. The Construction Leadership Council’s (CLC) Roadmap to Recovery plan has three distinct phases with the first priority being to ‘restart’ the industry followed by ‘reset’ measures to establish a strong pipeline of demand and increased productivity. The final stage looks to ‘reinvent’ the construction industry to allow the delivery of better, more sustainable buildings with increased value for clients and improved efficiency. We are already seeing some early signs of recovery, with the Government’s figures showing significant increases in activity for June and July compared with previous months. This has been confirmed by the Builders Merchants Building Index (BMBI) report that showed sales in July were only 1.3% below those for July 2019.

To ensure this recovery continues, merchants have a responsibility to not only make sure there is a robust supply of essential products and materials, but also that these are delivered to site when needed to prevent project delays. However, the need for efficiency and speed must not come at the expense of safety, either with regard to measures put in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19 or the physical safety of those on-site.

Adopting new approaches As we look further ahead to the next phase of recovery and beyond, it is clear that we need to develop new approaches to enable lost output to be replaced through improved productivity. This is a long-standing issue that the industry has struggled to overcome. However, the current situation may provide an opportunity to re-evaluate the systems, processes and approaches that have been common practice. One area where we are already seeing a change is the increased focus on the social value of projects and how members of the supply chain can support this. This trend has been growing over recent years and has been given a further boost with the announcement from the government that social value will be part of the procurement process on publicly funded projects. The Roadmap to Recovery plan describes the construction industry as an ecosystem of businesses and organisations that depend on each other. In the simplest terms, more efficient delivery of projects means a greater


BMJ talks to Christina Dell, national sales director at Keyline Civils Specialist, about the benefits of merchants’ unique position in the supply chain.

turnover for merchants, which in turn means a greater demand for manufacturers’ products. One of the keys to improving the performance of the industry is to form closer and more collaborative relationships between members of the supply chain. Merchants have a unique and important role and in working closely with contractors, and can contribute significant value to projects. We

are already seeing an increase in the number of contractors and clients who are moving away from the traditional cost-based approach to procurement towards more strategic partnerships and there are a number of important benefits to this. For the contractor, partnering closely with a smaller number of merchants can help reduce the complexity of the project. Sourcing a range of different November 2020

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