On 25 June 2015, the UK Contractors’ Group (UKCG) and the National Specialist Contractors' Council (NSCC) confirmed that they would merge to create Build UK, ‘…a strong collective voice for the contracting supply chain in construction’, to ‘…improve conditions for the supply chain, the wider industry and its clients.’ Ref UKCG Press Statement 25/6/2015.
This followed calls from the government for a single, unified voice from the construction industry, combined with an increasing realisation that the UKCG and NSCC held similar positions in a number of key areas.
Build UK launched on 1 September 2015, led by Chief Executive Suzannah Nichol MBE (previously NSCC Chief Executive). It represents 27 of the largest main contractors and 40 leading trade associations representing 11,500 specialist contractors.
Talking to Construction Manager in August 2015, former site engineer Nichol said, "There are over 200 trade organisations in construction, which makes getting across a single or unified message very difficult. We aim to be a strong, collective voice for main and specialist contractors. We want to be smarter in how we operate, and smarter in how we communicate with government bodies, the government itself and organisations such as the CITB."
Joint Chairmen of Build UK, Kevin Louch and James Wates said: “Our discussions in the run up to the merger have clearly shown that we share a common position on the majority of issues such as image, skills, health and safety, and procurement. Both Government and our clients have been waiting for a joined up approach from the industry and, as a single organisation for the contracting supply chain, we will pack a powerful punch and have a real chance to make some big changes.”
Minister of State for Business, Innovation and Skills Nick Boles said: “The creation of Build UK is a very welcome development and places them in an influential position to continue improving performance across the sector.”
The Action Plan suggests that construction is faced with a number of long-standing issues that require a new approach and that Build UK will initially focus on:
- The image of construction.
- The industry’s skills needs.
- Effective pre-qualification.
- Health and safety performance.
- Fair payment practices.
For more information see: Build UK action plan.
In September 2016, it was announced that Argent and Great Portland Estates where the first developers to join Build UK and that more were expected to follow. Phil Sullivan, Construction Director at Argent, said, “We now have a fantastic opportunity to work more collaboratively with the contracting supply chain and improve the quality and performance of our built environment, and I would encourage more clients to join us and help deliver lasting results for the industry.”
In February 2017, it was announced that the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) had joined Build UK. Chris Blythe OBE, Chief Executive of the CIOB, said: “We are delighted to add our voice and expertise to the Build UK chorus. The industry is at its best when it collaborates and that is something we need to reflect when we talk to government and clients. Our public benefit agenda and ambition to create a safer, more professional and rewarding career for those who join construction is sentiment shared by Build UK and together we can make an even bigger difference.”
This was followed in March 2017 by Berkeley Group and Carey Group.
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