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- By Andy Smith
I experienced the same in New Zealand. Some members of the public have nothing better to do and think they have the right to decide what is essential and what isn’t.
Numerous visits from the police, who supported us, didn’t stop these busybodies complaining to anyone they could think who might listen including city council, regional council, TV, the mayor, local MPs and WorkSafe (the NZ equivalent of HSE).
All came to nothing except wasting everyone’s time. It was stressful enough working through the lockdown without these well-poisoners poking their unwelcome noses in.
Abuse and harassment while conducting works are something no worker should experience and employers have a duty to ensure this does not happen. Risk assessments will now need to be done properly, corners can no longer be cut, and safety will need to be a priority.
I’m guessing this is because everything is shut! We work in the residential market, and are seeing strong demand still in this sector, increasing as the lockdown persists.
Of course, the virus is causing a downturn at the moment but this feels very different to me than other recessionary pressures.
There are a lot of people who haven’t been badly negatively affected so far. These people, I firmly believe, are ready and willing to meet the obvious challenges and pick up the baton and run with it once this is over, myself included.
We can’t change what has happened, but let’s try to rebuild consumer confidence as we return to liberty.
When I first joined the quantity surveying profession in February 1966 as a trainee at West Sussex County Council’s architecture department, the county, in conjunction with other county councils such as Dorset and Hampshire, was instrumental in the formation of the Second Consortium of Local Authorities (SCOLA).
This consortium utilised common designs, procurement methods, suppliers and construction processes for school buildings, libraries etc, thus securing financial, planning and construction advantages for the consortium members.
It would appear from the recent ‘kit of parts’ article that the wheels of construction may have turned full circle yet another circa 10 years is required to perfect this ‘new innovation’.
The CIOB report The Real Face of Construction 2020 is useful in broadening the statistical definition of construction. However, it doesn’t attempt to bottom the options it uncovers, nor does it venture into the yet wider world of the built environment.
Built assets deliver value over their lifecycle, not just in the capital phase. The facility, property and asset management sectors which deal with through-life value delivery are counted as real estate activities, yet these activities overlap and extend construction; half of construction is repair, maintenance and improvement. Then there are the regulators, in planning, building control and health and safety.
The information technology inputs to design, construction and operation are ballooning. 40% of the energy sector serves built assets. Seventy-five percent of fixed financial assets are built ones.
It is high time that a university set about a full analysis of the whole-life benefits and costs of the built environment industries to the economy. My hunch is that costs could total nearer 20% of GDP.
As we drive further into digital built Britain, the flow of data between use, operation and creation of our built assets could be very revealing. Let us have a proper model of our broader industry to enable understanding and sustainable new business models.