Modernise or die: a harsh but necessary message?

Mark Farmer’s hard-hitting review of the construction industry received mixed responses from the construction sector, perhaps because it made sobering reading.

Top of the agenda was Farmer’s challenge to the industry and the government to reform construction so it’s fit to meet the infrastructure challenges ahead, namely HS2 and another Heathrow runway.

Addressing the skills shortage will be key to improvement – an additional 250,000 construction workers and 150,000 engineers are needed by 2020. We need to change perceptions about working in the construction industry and encourage a multi-skilled workforce. The Apprenticeship Levy, due to be introduced in 2017, is an opportunity for the construction industry to reform the system of recruiting and training young people so it’s fit for the needs of the future.

Another area that the report was keen to highlight was offsite manufacturing – this relatively new construction method needs to become the norm if the industry is to thrive in the future. Farmer himself said: “With digital advancements pushing ahead in almost every other industry and with the construction labour pool coming under serious pressure, the time has come for action.”

Shining a light on the serious and systematic issues in the UK’s construction industry, the hope is that it will kick-start much-needed change. Read the report here