Building Back Wales

Wales needs a new look construction industry to emerge from COVID19, cope with the threat of Brexit and build a Wales that’s fit for future generations. That’s why CEWales and the wider industry is talking to Welsh Government about a longer-term vision

Throughout the COVID19 crisis CEWales has been talking to Welsh Government. On our own directly, but also as part of a united effort by the wider industry to learn from how construction has responded to the crisis and find a way forward that improves our industry, remedies the ills we have been ignoring and helps to build back a better Wales.

Our discussion paper Building Back Wales is the first step formalising that process. It is a response to a conversation with Lee Waters MS, Deputy Minister for Economy and Transport. A group of CEWales stakeholders explained the issues with Welsh construction. Rightly, he asked what the industry wanted to happen. Our recommendations are outlined in this discussion paper.

The basic point we are making is that Welsh construction is not in good shape.  It wasn’t before COVID 19 and it isn’t now: it is not fit to deliver the built environment that future generations will require. We won’t list the issues here again – read the report – but now is the time to seek ways to unite the industry, become collaborative and not adversarial and embrace low carbon building materials and modern methods of construction.

In 2020, in the face of a generational crisis in COVID19 and the potential uncertainty of Brexit we now need all elements of the Welsh construction sector; clients, regulators and the supply side to pull in one direction to enable Wales to deliver a dynamic, flexible and efficient built environment.

That’s why we are working alongside groups such as CECA, ICE Cymru, ACE, CIWEM, RSAW, SEC, RTPI, CIWM and CIOB and we hope to bring onside others such as the CITB, CIH Wales and the FMB. It’s why we are collaborating with the WCFA and backing its recovery plan. It’s why we will play an instrumental role in the Construction Forum – led by Welsh Government and acting a new single interface between Government and industry.

The Construction Forum is one of our core recommendations –

  • A review of the construction industry’s delivery of field hospitals and its wider behaviours during the pandemic
  • Put construction at the heart of Welsh Government with the establishment of a Construction Forum with a Minister leading it.
  • Welsh Government to commission a detailed pan-industry report on how Welsh construction can deliver what the nation needs in line with Wellbeing for Future Generations Act targets and guidelines

The time for change is now. We believe leadership is key; but let us not think it is for others to lead us. Collectively and collaboratively we must all play our part to change out of today into our future. So, get involved. We want to hear your views. This paper is a starting point – not a final plan carved in stone. Lee Waters MS and Ken Skates MS will want answers from the industry. That is where you come in.