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New president calls for action on skills

Jim Marner: “skills shortages threatening to limit members’ ability to take advantage of the economic recovery”

UK: The industry’s skills shortage has again been highlighted, this time by new B&ES president Jim Marner.

In his inaugural speech at the contractor group’s agm, the newly-elected president claimed that the skills shortages was threatening to limit the extent to which members would be able to take advantage of the economic recovery.

“We must continue to fight for the introduction of a fairer and more equitable payment culture that will allow businesses in the sector to operate profitably and to invest in skills, resources and technology,” he said.

“We must try to establish a more accessible and transparent pre-qualification regime, and we must ensure that building engineering services continues to hold its position in the vanguard of the ’digital revolution’,” he added.

Looking at the construction industry as a whole, Mr Marner reminded his audience that the Association must promote “intelligent thinking” at the outset of each project – along with an appreciation of what each party can contribute to its overall success.

“We must encourage the professional teams to provide detailed designs at an earlier stage – and so minimise the problems that will inevitably emerge once we are on-site,” he said.

He added that the industry must lobby for smarter procurement, preferred supply chain status and open-book, two-stage tendering, in order for firms to establish their competence, capability and financial stability before investing significantly in the production of detailed designs for a job they might very well fail to secure.

“Above all, we must re-establish trust between clients and contractors, and emphasise what all parties bring to the achievement of a successful construction contract,” he concluded.

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