Developing a Talent Pipeline to Fill the UK Construction Skills Gap

Analysis by the Home Builders Federation shows that the house building industry is now supporting around 667,000 jobs. Despite this the debate on the construction skills gap continues. Government has tasked its own panel of industry leaders to address the skills pressures and other constraints that are limiting housebuilding and infrastructure development. The BRE Academy are also keen to understand the skills gap in the built environment and construction industry, and how best this can be addressed. So much so they are conducting their own survey. Complete your response here.

A number of leading figures gave their views via a H&V News hosted twitter chat on the skills gap. A new transport skills strategy outlines plans to create apprenticeships in the road and rail sector. And new law will see apprenticeship providers and staff from colleges visiting schools as part of a careers advice services. This fits with the recent blog from CIBSE where they present the idea of a talent pipeline for engineers starting early in a child’s education. Referencing a shortage of 2,000 Design and Technology (D&T) teachers they are showing support for the Design and Technology Association which supports and champions design and technology education in schools.

Planning and Building Control Today report on how plans to impose a skills levy on non-EU workers have been heavily criticised by contractors The CITB continues to evolve. Following the appointment of a new CEO and a revamped Executive and Leadership team in 2014, CITB’s middle management has now been restructured.

A Circular Economy – New Thinking on Delivering a Sustainable Built Environment

The World Green Building Council (WGBC) has released a new study that suggests global green building may double by 2018. This will see the figures rise from the current 18 per cent to 37.

Thomas Whiffen, Senior Energy Specialist at the National Energy Foundation provides evidence on the value of the Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS). BRE have printed a briefing paper outlining their strategic approach to the selection and procurement of construction materials and products, in relation to responsible sourcing and BREEAM.

Planning and Building Control Today report that European Construction Industry Federation (FIEC) has welcomed the European Commission’s Circular Economy Action Plan. A circular economy focuses on whole cycle of a process, from production to waste management at the end of a project.

Read a Storify of a workshop held on circular economy and its application to construction and the built environment. A live blog of the circular economy event is also available. The aim of the workshop was to start to develop a set of practical and research actions that need to be undertaken. BRE and CPA have produced an interactive pdf mapping out the numerous strands that make up the circular economy.

There is a new industry-led PaintCare initiative that aims to establish what it calls a ‘circular model for leftover paint’. While looking to the future the Ellen MacArthur Foundation looks at how monitoring and tracking, with intelligent devices, can be used to improve the in-use efficiency of buildings and infrastructure.

Another key story in the construction media is construction health. Construction Manager report on the recent Committing Construction to a Healthier Future Summit. “We are very good at shouting about safety, but we can only whisper about health” said Crossrail chairman Andrew Wolstenholme, co-chair of the Construction Leadership Council.

Finally The Zero Carbon Hub have issued a new Thermal Bridging Guide. The guide is intended to help designers and builders focus on the key decisions that they can affect around junction detailing, which will have a direct bearing on the performance of the new homes.

BIM Designed for the Manufacturer

BIM4M2 have announced a seminar designed for the manufacturer, both those with BIM and those considering its adoption. Suitable for both the technical and marketing person, it will show what is required by client, architect and contractor and give impartial guidance on options for providing BIM content.

The NBS present some helpful advice to guide manufacturers through the planning stages and, hopefully, avoid the pitfalls on the road to BIM with their rules for a successful BIM implementation.

In his article Behind the Façade – developing BIM for aluminium Justin Furness, Technical Director of the Council for Aluminium in building, discusses how the aluminium sector is progressing in terms of its adoption of BIM. A Storify of Andy Stolworthy’s presentation to Constructing Excellence on Assa Abloy’s adoption of BIM at the Construction Excellence breakfast seminar in January has been created.

Applecore Designs have published a series of articles entitled Are you ready for BIM? In Part 1: What is BIM? They discuss what BIM is and the benefits that can be gained from using it. In Part 2: BIM Level 2, they go through the first 3 levels of BIM with a focus on what level 2 comprises of and what should be available at this level. The BIM Protocol has been developed by the UK Construction Industry Council, in their latest Video BIM Protocol Explained, The B1M go through how it works and how to use it, in a clear and easy format.

The BIM Regions network has outlined plans to encourage more women to champion BIM, aiming to ensure that half the positions on its BIM Champions board are filled by women.

The EU BIM Task Group discuss how they aim to achieve a common and aligned European approach to develop a world-class digital construction sector using BIM. This as Planning and Building Control Today report on a new European BIM library aimed at mechanical, electrical, and plumbing professionals, offering more than one million BIM objects

And finally CIOB report on how Cundall has launched a virtual reality system that allows users wearing a VR headset to hear how a building will sound before it is built – creating an “auralisation” to go with the “visualisation”.

The Challenges of Upgrading UK Infrastructure and Housing

Closing on the 17th March the National Infrastructure Commission is seeking views on the governance, structure and operation of the commission. In an interview by Infrastructure Intelligence Andy Mitchell provides an insight into progress on the largest infrastructure project ever undertaken by the UK waterway industry, the £4.2bn Thames Tideway Tunnel.

And the debate over airport expansion is intensifying with Gatwick to start tendering process for second runway and Thirteen of Britain’s largest construction and development firms are urging Chancellor George Osborne to approve Heathrow expansion.

Concerns are mounting over the latest regulatory review into housing from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) as the review does not follow consultation best practices. Instead, it simply asks interested parties to highlight the regulations they do not like.

To help meet the housing target government has announced s fast track application process for planning. Debansu Das writes for RIBA Insight on how new offsite modular home construction is gaining popularity. The NBS also present some alternative housing design ideas to help deliver demand. The NHBC Foundation has published an interesting guide, which would also be a useful inspiration for new product development. It describes the spectrum of new home technology which has arrived, at or near market and that will emerge before long. Future developments and trends in home layout and design as seen by architects is presented in a new RIBA ‘Future Housing Design Trends’ report.

Meanwhile Construction Enquirer reports how a House of Lords Committee set up to scrutinise housing policy is warning government they will miss its target of building 240,000 homes a year if it relies on private developers alone.

Finally the NBS is carrying out research into Approved Documents B((Fire Safety) and M Access to and use of buildings) for the Department for Communities and Local Government – This survey is for people who need to comply with the Regulations, or those who help others to comply.

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