Sectors - Civil

Construction Forum Hopes to Build Back Better

A new forum for the construction industry in Wales hopes to help the country build back better after the COVID-19 pandemic and met for the first time last week (Tues July 7th, 2020).

The forum, chaired by Deputy Minister for the Economy and Transport, Lee Waters and attended by Minister for Housing and Local Government Julie James, brings together leading figures from both the public and private sectors throughout Wales’ construction industry.

At last Tuesday’s meeting, the members of the forum discussed a way forward for the industry as it recovers from the pandemic. A lot of construction sites across Wales have remained open during the pandemic and have followed strict rules to ensure that working practices are safe, and to also ensure the safety of employees.

This has helped with the building of Wales’ 19 field hospitals, which were constructed within a matter of weeks, and work was accelerated on the new Grange University Hospital. Road improvements, housing and the Welsh Government’s 21st Century Schools and Colleges Programme have also continued during this time. However, the impact of the pandemic has, and still is, presenting many challenges for the sector.

Building on the principles of the Welsh Government’s Economic Action Plan, supporting the construction sector is vital in helping the Welsh economy prosper. It will also be a way of supporting SMEs, growing the foundational economy, and developing a low carbon future.

The forums work will also play an integral part in helping the industry thrive over the coming years.

Deputy Minister for the Economy and Transport, Lee Waters said: “Construction is a crucial sector in Wales, employing tens of thousands of people and will be vital in supporting the growth of the economy in the aftermath of this pandemic.

“I am very pleased to be chairing this forum which brings together key figures as we plan for the future success of the industry. Clearly at the forefront of our thinking will be how we support the development of an innovative fit for purpose construction sector over the next few years.

“Decarbonisation must form part of that discussion and is at the very heart of our green recovery plans. This will not only help build a more resilient economy based on the industries we need now and in the future, but also meet the underlying challenges of public health, climate change, and fairness.

Coronavirus has had an unprecedented impact and we want to not only recover from its effects on our economy, but to build back better and see Wales thriving once again.”

Local Government and Housing Minster, Julie James said: “One of the few positives to come out of the coronavirus pandemic has been the incredible response from local authorities working with partners across the whole sector to ensure temporary accommodation and support for well over 800 people who were previously homeless on the streets or in unsuitable accommodation.

Building new homes and refurbishing existing facilities to provide high quality temporary and move on accommodation is a key part of our plan to ensure nobody is forced to return to the streets. The construction sector is vital to this and to delivering the social and affordable homes we need to ensure everyone in Wales has a decent permanent home. I look forward to working even more closely with the industry in future to ensure we achieve our ambitions in a safe and efficient way.

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