Last edited 27 Jan 2021

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CIOB Institute / association Website

The Real Face of Construction 2020

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On 24 February 2020, the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) published The Real Face of Construction 2020 revealing that the economic influence of the UK construction sector is almost double that of the figures officially recorded by the Office of National Statistics (ONS).

The report describes the sector’s economic reach, which officially accounts for about 6% of the economic output of the UK and provides employment for 2.3 million people. However, the narrow ONS definition of the industry ignores the work of architects, engineers, and quantity surveyors as well as manufacturers dedicated to the sector and many other firms that support construction such as builders’ merchants and plant hire providers.

The CIOB is calling for a better measure of the construction industry that includes all aspects of the design and construction process, not just assembly on site. The report argues that by including all aspects of the design and construction process, construction GDP could be close to double in size. Understanding this is crucial, because if policymakers and experts do not have access to the full picture then bad decisions are likely to be made.

The report also breaks down the value construction has at a regional level, exposing wide variations in regional performance and output since 2013, indicating the need for careful, integrated policymaking. It also draws on new research that gauges the public’s attitude towards the industry and their aspirations for the built environment. It suggests the industry has not reached its full potential and that it will only do so if it has a clear vision, with an understanding of different regional needs, and policymakers armed with good quality data.

Caroline Gumble, Chief Executive of the CIOB, said: “The quality of our built environment affects every member of society; our work influences productivity and wellbeing at home and at work. It is both far-reaching and life-shaping. Our purpose for this report is to help educate policymakers about the true value of the built environment and the need to work in closer partnership with the industry to realise its full potential, particularly at a regional level where it can rebalance local economies and offer people a quality career unlike many others.”

Sir James Wates CBE, Chairman of Wates Group and chairman of the CBI Construction Council welcomed the report and said: “We in the built environment sector know that we have a broader and more profound impact than we’re often given credit for. We are a network of contractors, architects, engineers, quantity surveyors, specialists, facility managers, and many others – all working as a team to create spaces, infrastructure and buildings that improve people’s lives and make the economy work better. We’re economic multipliers, and this new CIOB report helps us to articulate just how that’s so.”

The Real Face of Construction 2020 can be accessed here.


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