May 16, 2020

Opinion: What recruitment options do UK construction companies have post-Brexit?

People and Skills
construction recruitment
UK construction industry
Tom Wadlow
4 min
construction site
Immigration has largely contributed to the political, social and economic success of the UK’s construction industry throughout history. The question i...

Immigration has largely contributed to the political, social and economic success of the UK’s construction industry throughout history. The question is, how are construction businesses preparing for an EU skills shortage in the long-term?  

The UK is facing a construction skills crisis. With 8% of the UK’s construction workforce from the EU, a post-Brexit climate could see over 176,500 jobs under threat.

Preparing for an EU skills shortage requires thoughtful action now. With Brexit negotiations generating confusion, businesses in construction need to be prepared in order to survive and thrive in the long term.

In this post, Gyproc Tools discusses immigration options in the construction industry for EU citizens post-Brexit, as well as offering actionable tips to encourage industry interest from our 11-million millennial workforce.

Overview of immigration options post-Brexit

Much deliberation has surfaced following Britain’s announcement to exit the EU, and what the leave will mean for its immigration policies. The free movement between the UK and EU countries is coming to an end, and little has been mentioned about post-Brexit immigration rules.

An EU preferential labour system?

The key question is whether the government will implement a completely new system that favours immigration access for EU nationals. Whilst this would certainly be a constructive offer to make to maintain a positive relationship with the EU posit-Brexit, the possibility of EU citizens being subject to all current immigration rules applied to non-EU citizens may become a reality. But what would this mean for the UK’s construction industry? Either:

  1. Low-skilled jobs in construction will need to be filled by home-grown talent
  2. or a new tailored approach would (finally) allow low-skilled workers from around the world to apply for a Tier 3 visa to work in Britain.

Ultimately, the outcome will depend on whether the government deems the economic damage of not granting EU citizens preferential immigration surpasses any of its benefits. And given that, construction professionals have still yet to be added to the “UK Shortage Occupations List”, we are already seeing predictions where a non-EU preferential immigration policy could potentially jeopardize a predicted £500bn pipeline project.

So, worst case – how can your construction business prepare for a Britain with little to no access to low-skilled labour?

Creating an appetite for UK professionals

It’s not all doom and gloom. The UK’s emerging millennial workforce sums to over 11 million individuals – surely this figure is large enough to discontinue the ever-impending EU skills crisis, right?

A study showed that millennial men in the UK are earning less because of a huge shift into lower-skilled jobs - but could this signify a positive shift in interest as well? Whilst a typical man today will have pocketed £12,500 less by the time he hits 30, studies have shown that millennials aren’t driven by money, but rather - job purpose, engagement and satisfaction.

The key is encouraging a positive mindset and understanding that immigration is not a substitute for homegrown talent. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when future planning your construction recruitment process:

Encourage apprenticeships

Even though 20% of construction professionals feel that apprenticeship schemes are not at all effective to address the UK’s long term EU skills shortage, it’s clear these schemes will only become more relevant as university fees sky rocket.

Apprenticeships present a great opportunity for people looking to gain vital work experience and earn a qualification at the same time. A post-Brexit climate will only see more apprenticeship opportunities open up, so it’s important your construction business is positioned at the forefront of this intake of new talent.

Removing industry preconceptions

It's now more important than ever to attract and retain millennial talent. In the past, jobs in construction have traditionally been perceived as male-oriented. The lack of urgency to promote diversity in the industry is ultimately preventing companies from engaging with young talent. It’s clear that in order to amp up national interest in the construction industry, both females and males need to be targeted.

Wealth of career opportunities

Millennials rank career advancement opportunities and work-life balance as most important to them at work. Organisations in the construction industry need to provide career development opportunities to help attract talent from a wider range of backgrounds.

Article contributed by Gyproc Tools

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Jun 24, 2021

Which countries are leading the adoption of BIM?

PlanRadar
BIM
research
DigitalConstruction
4 min
As Building Information Modelling (BIM) technology becomes more widely used, we take a look at which countries are leading the way in its adoption

Building Information Modelling (BIM) was first used by UK construction firms in the 1980s. Since then an increasing number of countries such as Germany, Austria, and Russia have also started to use it, but which country is leading the way? 

According to research by PlanRadar, the UK, as of 2021, remains the leader in BIM implementation in construction when compared with other European nations. However, the company’s research shows that there is clear evidence other countries in close pursuit.

As part of the research into the adoption of BIM, PlanRadar examined government policy documents and conducted interviews to find out why BIM is being deployed in each country. The study also allowed the company to gauge construction professionals’ attitudes to digital technology tools in their industry, as well as explore where fast growth rates in BIM are most likely in the coming years. In addition, it looked at which governments have progressed furthest in making construction BIM mandatory. 

 

Image: PlanRadar

 

PlanRadar says the findings are “a useful follow-up to the recently published Construction Manager BIM annual survey”, which pinpoints distinct barriers to adoption in the UK market.

While Britain has long been considered a pioneer in BIM technology, with projects such as the Heathrow Airport reconstruction, it seems that Russia is catching up. Even though its first BIM projects only appeared in 2014, PlanRadar says that the country “is on a steep upward trajectory”. According to the research, no other European country has adopted so many laws on standardisation and the mandatory implementation of BIM in the construction industry.

 

Image: PlanRadar
Image: PlanRadar

 

“Russia is arguably the most eagle-eyed nation for compliance and harnessing advanced BIM tech to drive efficiencies”, the company said. 

Germany’s BIM adoption is also rapidly increasing as its government invests in BIM standardisation, skills training, and support for BIM projects, in line with its vision for the future digitalisation of the German construction sector.

PlanRadar research summary

As part of its research into the adoption of Building Information Modelling, PlanRadar has summarised each country. According to the company, here are the summaries for the UK, Germany, Russia, and France. 

UK:

  • The UK has the highest number of construction companies using BIM at level 2 and beyond.  
  • It remains the leader in the earliest use and implementation of BIM in construction projects. 
  • Since 2016 all state-funded projects must use at least BIM level 2, and this has led to a surge in awareness and use of BIM in the last decade. For private projects, BIM usage is advised but not mandatory. 
  • Currently, only 62% of small businesses in the UK actively use BIM, compared to 80% of large businesses.

Germany: 

  • Approximately 70% of German construction companies use BIM at different levels. However, the majority are architects and design companies, making use of BIM in the design phase rather than construction and operation. 
  • Since 2017, BIM has been mandatory for projects worth over €100 million. And from 31st December 2020, BIM became mandatory for all public contracts relating to the building of federal infrastructure.

Russia:

  • BIM technology is used by very large property developers and construction companies that operate in the largest cities such as Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kazan, Ufa, Yekaterinburg.
  • When it comes to legislation standardising and mandating BIM, Russia is the clear leader, and today there are 15 national standards (GOSTs) and eight sets of rules for information modelling in the country. 
  • From March 2022, all government projects are required to use BIM technology, and further legislation is in the pipeline.

France: 

  • France does not yet have a single BIM standard enshrined in law or regulation, yet 35% of developers in France use BIM for their real estate projects. 
  • In addition, 50 to 60% of the leaders in the French construction market have switched to BIM, with level 2 as the most common maturity level. 
  • At the end of 2018, BIM Plan 2022 was launched to encourage construction participants to integrate it into their workflows. Still, construction companies have struggled to agree since there is no single approved BIM standard. 

The research report concluded that the adoption of BIM is yet to reach its full potential in Europe. While the UK is currently the leader, countries such as Russia and Germany are evidently forging a clear path and have goals surrounding skills and legal frameworks. PlanRadar says that next year’s European BIM ranking “could paint a very different picture”.

 

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