FEBRUARY-MARCH 2020 £4.25
THE MAGAZINE OF THE FEDERATION OF MASTER BUILDERS
Back to school AJ Field Developments Ltd refurbished a Grade II listed former schoolhouse to create an open plan family home with the wow factor
TRAINING FOR THE FUTURE CITB Chief Executive Sarah
TAKING ON A SUBCONTRACTOR Subcontractors can provide a real lifeline but what do you need to consider before appointing them?
WIN MORE WORK Promote your business to new clients at Homebuilding & Renovating Shows
Beale talks about driving transformational change
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Contents FEBRUARY/MARCH 2020
25 Interview: Sarah Beale The Chief Executive of the CITB talks about driving transformational change 26 Upskilling Investing in training brings a host of benefits 29 Holding back the flood Flooding has caused devastation in the UK but measures can be taken to mitigate damage
32 Employing a subcontractor
Brian Berry focuses on raising industry standards, highlighting the Safer by Design report, the CITB Consensus and the FMB’s ongoing governance review
What considerations should you make?
35 The next generation How Construction Ambassadors are attracting new talent to the industry Your FMB
The latest headlines from industry news
The FMB’s viewpoint on the issues affecting the UK construction sector
36 New Home Insurance
Build with confidence with a policy from FMB Insurance
39 Win more work in 2020 Promote your business to new clients this year 40 FMB events The latest report from the National Board and diary dates for 2020 41 Discounted products Did you know there are more than 70 products and services on offer to you as a Master Builder?
15 Perfect partnership
ASD Build was set up by two Master Builders after a chance meeting 17 Back to school FMB member AJ Field Developments Ltd transforms a former schoolhouse Business support
42 Policy and Public Affairs
What does the election result mean for Master Builders?
19 Debt recovery
Dealing with the issue of late payments
45 Expand your skills
21 Protecting UK homes
Learn online through the FMB
The Green Register on preventing flood damage to homes
46 Members update
See which firms have joined the FMB and which have been expelled 49 Regional updates News from the regions and devolved nations
23 Working it out A summary of the Good Work Plan, which aims to clarify the relationship and responsibilities between workers and employers
Master Builder has been carefully prepared but articles are published without responsibility on the part of the publishers or authors for loss occasioned to any person acting or refraining from action as a result of any view, information or advice included therin. Articles published in Master Builder do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Federation of Master Builders Ltd nor can the Federation of Master Builders Ltd, the publishers or authors accept any responsibility for any claims made by advertisers.
Editorial Editor Michelle Gordon Head of Marketing Danika Ferguson Designer Will Williams Picture editor Claire Echavarry Publishing director Joanna Marsh
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Welcome BRIAN BERRY
W e’re already getting into Safer by Design The FMB is committed to raising standards across the industry and the fact that more than 6,000 people are killed as a result of a home accident in the UK every year is a real concern. The most vulnerable to serious accidents are very young children and older people, with poverty being a significant influencing factor. Yet home accidents can be prevented with a blend of interventions including safer environments and a need to create physically safer homes. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) has produced a framework to reduce serious accidental injury in new build homes. I attended the launch of its report, ‘Safer by Design’, which provides a set of simple, low-cost home safety improvements, developed in consultation with industry experts, to be planned in at the design stage. The improvements go beyond the current building regulations but are, according to RoSPA, commercially and technically viable within the private and social housing sectors. I would recommend visiting www.rospa. com/built-environment to find out more. 2020 and the FMB has been busy addressing a range of issues which I want members to be aware of: CITB Consensus The Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) will be consulting with the construction industry over the coming months to gain support for its proposals for the next Levy Order. The CITB needs to show that it has industry support every
“The FMB will be consulting members to
three years by conducting a consultation process, which is known as consensus. Once consensus is achieved, a Levy Order may be made by the Government to authorise the CITB to collect a levy from employers so it can invest in the skills and training the industry needs. As one of the consensus federations the FMB will be consulting with its members at the Area Boards as well as a membership survey to seek your feedback about the CITB and whether it has been working effectively for you. Members should be aware that as a result of FMB lobbying the CITB Board now has a representative for small builders who is also an FMB member. The FMB has over the last three years been an active voice for change as part of the CITB’s restructure programme. standards and is currently reviewing its Codes of Conduct as well as the existing FMB Rules and Articles of Association. The revised Rules and Articles will be published later this year so all members will get an opportunity to see what is being proposed and vote at the FMB’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) in September. FMB Governance The FMB is also looking at its own
seek your feedback about the CITB”
The Building and Allied Trades Joint Industrial Council (BATJIC) Finally, I want to flag that the FMB is currently negotiating with Unite the Union on the new BATJIC
wage rates, which will be published in June.
BRIAN BERRY, Chief Executive of the FMB
News Survey reveals impact of late payment on small businesses
CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY NEWS
N early half of small business payment practices by their buyers, according to survey findings from the Electrical Contractors’ Association and Building Engineering Services Association. Three-quarters of business owners said they had made sacrifices, including reducing their own salary (37%), and cancelling company training and learning activity (23%), while 36% say they have struggled to pay business taxes due to payment issues. Almost 1 in 10 employers (7%) were forced to pay their own staff late – an action which can have devastating effects on employees. The impact of unfair payment practices also had further knock-on effects to businesses, with 28% saying it caused staff morale to drop, while it led to a fall in productivity for 1%. One in five said they were unable to replace broken equipment as a result. Over nine in 10 respondents (92%) owners and managing directors (47%) had to stop their own pay due to the impact of unfair
with another company, the Prompt Payment Directory. The survey supporters are all part of a wider industry coalition pressing government to reform the practice of cash retentions in construction, and cover a range of construction activity, including electrical, plumbing, building, scaffolding, roofing, civil engineering, fire safety, painting and decorating, and interiors.
said their business had faced payment issues, while 65% said they were paid late frequently or very frequently. The survey also revealed that, as a direct result of late and unfair payment, over nine in 10 business owners in construction are suffering from a range of mental health issues, including anxiety and depression. The survey was held in association
Over £374 million invested in infrastructure for new homes
utilities, expected to unlock up to 32,000 homes. Housing Minister Esther McVey said: “We are investing record amounts in roads, rail, housing and broadband to ensure Britain has the modern infrastructure needed to thrive, and to allow local economies to flourish.”
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has announced that more than £374 million will be invested in a further five Housing Infrastructure Fund projects. The schemes in Swindon, Wiltshire, Cornwall, North Somerset and Medway, will see an investment in roads, schools, public transport and
INDUSTRY UPDATE NEWS
NEWS IN NUMBERS
The number of small business owners suffering from stress and other serious mental health conditions because of late payment according to a survey by BESA and the ECA 9/10
Company fined after self-employed joiner injured
of respondents to a survey from Sell House Fast believe bamboo is the eco-friendly building material that will experience the greatest use in the property industry in 2020 74%
A construction company has been fined after a self- employed joiner received serious eye injuries when he was struck in the face by an object while stepping on to a scaffold platform. Nottingham Magistrates’ Court heard that the injured worker was installing cladding to a newly built house in Kirklington on 2 November 2017. He stepped on a platform from a tower scaffold left on the working platform which was overhanging the edge. As he stepped on to the platform, it flicked up and struck him in the face, causing him to fall from the scaffold and causing serious injury to his eye. An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found Pearson Property Developments Ltd had failed to sufficiently plan the work at height and had inadequate site induction procedures in place, meaning the competency of workers on site was not properly checked. Consequently, it didn’t know whether workers were sufficiently
competent to erect scaffolding and tower scaffolds and failed to ensure the pieces of work equipment were properly signed off as safe to use by competent persons. The investigation also found insufficient supervision and monitoring of the site, which led to ad-hoc working methods. Pearson Property Developments Ltd of Mountsorrel, Loughborough, pleaded guilty to breaching the Work at Height Regulations 2005 section 4(1) and the Work at Height Regulations 2005 section 5. The company was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay costs of £2,896.80. Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Phil Gratton said: “This incident could so easily have been avoided by properly planning the work and carrying out correct control measures and safe working practices." Free online health and safety training is available to FMB members. Contact the Membership Team on 0330 333 7777 to be set up on the e-learning portal.
New business decreased for the ninth month in a row in December 2019 according to the latest UK Construction PMI from IHS Markit 9
The number of job applications in the construction sector rose by 23.4% in 2019, according to analysis from CV-Library 23.4%
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INDUSTRY UPDATE NEWS
CLC backs zero retentions
contracts is not linked to the release of retentions under
the main contract. The CLC believes that this approach will enable the industry to make progress towards the objective of achieving zero cash retentions by 2025, whilst also allowing it time to adapt, to minimise the impact on cash flow, to put in place alternative surety arrangements, and to improve standards of quality within the industry. It is urging firms within the industry and construction clients to support the Roadmap and adopt the minimum standards, as a pragmatic means of improving prompt and fair payment practices and helping to create a stronger and more sustainable industry.
T he Construction Leadership Council (CLC) has endorsed the Build UK Roadmap to Zero Retentions. Developed and supported by the clients, construction firms and trade associations within the membership of Build UK and CECA, the Roadmap aims to improve the transparency and fairness
sector clients, and the introduction and adoption of the Build UK Minimum Standards on Retentions, which incorporate and build on the Construction Supply Chain Payment Charter, introduced by CLC to create a more collaborative payment culture. These standards include: ensuring that any arrangements for retention are no more onerous than those implemented in the main contract, actively ensuring that retention arrangements are filtered down; only deducting retentions in relation to permanent works, excluding temporary and/or preliminary works;
not applying retentions to any contracts with a starting value of less than £50,000, increasing to £100,000 from 2021; deducting retentions as a single sum towards the end of the contract to act as surety, not from interim payments prior to the completion of work, which have an impact on cash flow within the supply chain; not withholding more than 1.5% of contract value, reducing to 1% from 2021; and ensuring that the release of retentions under sub-
of payment practices in relation to retentions. It proposes a phased approach to moving
towards the objective of zero retentions by 2023, and no later than 2025. Key milestones include publication of retention policies by public and private
Construction must change practices following exposure of modern-day slavery
Unite is calling for the gangmasters licensing regime, which currently only covers agriculture, food processing and shellfish collection, to be extended to construction. Under licensing, only registered gangmasters and employment agencies can legally supply labour and only those organisations which meet strict criteria are granted a licence. If an agency or gangmaster is then found to have been mistreating its workers the licence can be revoked. Companies which operate in the sectors where licensing exists are also required to ensure that they are only working with licensed gangmasters. Visit www.slavefreealliance.org for more information.
labour supply company that employs all of its workers directly, the problem arises when labour supply companies seek to sub-let the recruitment to a third party, as this makes it very difficult for the tier one contractor to monitor.
UK construction union Unite is calling for fundamental changes in the way that the construction industry is organised and for gangmasters to be licensed. Its calls follow a major exposure of how modern-day slavery operates in the industry, jointly conducted by Construction News and BBC Three, using undercover journalists from the UK and Romania. While concerns about modern- day slavery are usually associated with smaller residential work, Unite believes the way the industry operates means there is a real potential for such practices to be occurring on even the largest projects. While there is little scope for modern-day slavery within a reputable
New build homes in Scotland up by 18%
Housing Minister Kevin Stewart said: “From private to social housing, it is encouraging that both new-build starts and completions have increased this year, providing more people with a warm, safe place they can call home. The increase points to the strength of Scotland’s new-build housing sector. We shall continue to push towards our ambitious target of delivering 50,000 affordable homes by 2021.”
A total of 21,403 new homes were built in Scotland in 2019, the highest number of annual completions since 2008 and an 18% rise on 2018. The increase in completed homes was seen in both the private sector and housing associations. Work to build 23,700 new homes was also started in the year to June 2019, up 22% on 2018 figures, while nearly 11,000 affordable homes were started
Number of invoices paid late doubles
much later (94 days) compared to smaller debtors (42 days). Bilal Mahmood, External Relations Director at MarketFinance, said: “SME owners have come to expect long payment terms but late payments are inexcusable. For every day an invoice is late, it’s more time spent chasing payment. This means less time for business owners to focus on growing their business, coming up with innovative ideas and hiring more people, or just paying their staff and bills. Things need to change quickly. “We want the UK to be the best place in the world to start and grow a business, but the UK’s small-to-medium-sized businesses are hampered by overdue payments. Such unfair payment practices impact a business’ ability to invest in growth and have no place in an economy that works for everyone.” While government measures such as the Prompt Payment Code and Duty To Report have helped create awareness they “need more bite,” he said.
There was a slight improvement in the number of invoices paid late in 2019, but the amount of time taken to settle up almost doubled to 23 days, from 12 days in 2018, according to the latest MarketFinance Business Insights. The analysis suggests that businesses typically agree 45-day payment terms from the completion of work or delivery of goods but despite this 39% of invoices issued in 2019 were paid late. While this is down from 43% in 2018, the invoices paid late were typically larger in value (£34,286 on average) than those paid on time (£24,624 on average). The number of invoices with long payment terms (anywhere between 60 and 120 days) being paid late almost doubled between 2013 and 2019. Rising from 13% being paid late in 2013 to 23% in 2019. Over the six-year period, analysis found that larger debtors insisted on longer payment terms (49 days) than smaller debtors (37 days). In addition, when invoices were paid late, these larger debtors also settled
in the period to September 2019.
INDUSTRY UPDATE VIEWPOINT
The FMB gives its viewpoint on the headlines affecting the sector Viewpoint
The new Conservative Government must draw a line under the years of crippling uncertainty that have been so toxic for UK construction, said the FMB following the General Election result. FMB Chief Executive Brian Berry said: “The new Conservative Government has a golden opportunity to sort out Brexit and set out its new vision for the UK. Building the homes and infrastructure that this country needs has to be a key priority to help drive the economy forward. “The Government needs to back the nation’s army of small builders, by delivering on the promised £3 billion National Skills Fund, investing in quality through a licensing scheme for the whole UK construction industry, and supporting local builders to retrofit the millions of homes that need to be upgraded to low carbon.” Time to get Britain building
Balanced immigration system needed
The “modern, fair points-based immigration system”, announced in the Queen’s Speech, must be balanced said FMB Chief Executive Brian Berry. “A skilled construction workforce will be critical to delivering on the Government’s plans for infrastructure and housing set out in the Queen’s Speech,” he said. “Over half of small builders are struggling to recruit a bricklayer or carpenter, yet it could prove very difficult to fill these roles from outside the UK under the proposed points-based immigration system. “The Government must work with industry to ensure that the new immigration system works for
construction, and that the National Skills Fund trains our domestic workforce in the trades that are needed or else the sector will struggle to deliver.”
Call for skills investment
The largest fall in monthly construction growth for almost two years demonstrates the urgent need for the Government to invest in construction skills to support UK builders, said the FMB in response to the latest ONS construction output statistics.
“The 2.3% fall in construction growth shows the ongoing, damaging chilling effect of political and economic uncertainty on builders’ workload,” said FMB Chief Executive Brian Berry. The Government must invest to upskill builders if we’re to meet the construction needs of the next decade, including responding to the climate emergency, he added.
SPOTLIGHT ASD BUILD
A fter meeting at an FMB event at the Houses of Parliament in 2015, FMB members Mark Hennessey and Rob Bailey collaborated and formed a development company, ASD Build, to purchase and develop a vacant Victorian school site in Aberdare, South Wales. “I had just completed a two-year course with Cardiff Business School on how small businesses can collaborate, and collaboration was firmly in my mindset at that point,” said Mark. “Me and Rob got talking at the event and decided to keep in touch. When the old school building in Aberdare became available to buy from Rhondda Cynon Taf Council we went in on a joint venture to deliver the scheme.” The school, which dates back to 1908, was closed down in 2014 and after buying the site from the Council
and dragging subcontractors from everywhere, we have employed local people and used local suppliers, so the money goes back into the local area,” said Mark. “And that is one of our values and we want to stick to that.” ASD Build could have demolished the school building, which wasn’t listed, enabling them to create double the amount of apartments on the site, but Mark and Rob were keen to preserve it. “We could have knocked the building down and started from scratch, which would have saved us both time and money,” explained Mark. “However, we wanted to regenerate a building that is not only important to the local community but holds a thousand memories for past generations. The building has got massive historical significance to the local surrounding area and we have given it another 100 years of life.” While ASD Build was initially set up as a one-off special purpose vehicle company for the Aberdare development, it has carved a niche for itself in the affordable housing sector. It now employs 25 people and has a 10-year business plan in place with a steady pipeline of future affordable housing projects including a scheme of 34 apartments for Cardiff Community Housing. “This project has been a real stepping stone to put ASD up there and we have shown that small businesses can deliver 44 affordable homes and do a conservation project at the same time without having to go to the big boys,” said Mark.
Mark and Rob are pictured with Elke Winton, Director of Housing at Hafod Housing, at the development’s official launch which had a “back to school” theme
Mark and Rob decided to develop it for affordable housing. They began the search for a housing association partner and entered into a deal with Hafod Housing to sell the scheme, which comprises 26 apartments for the over 55s, 16 bungalows and two family homes, for £6.64 million. During the course of the build they invested in the surrounding community, employing local people, working with the local supply chain and local contractors and providing apprenticeships and work
experience placements, as well as supporting charities. “Rather than a big public limited company coming in
ASD Build was created by two Master Builders who met at an FMB event. The company has now completed its first
social housing development
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SPOTLIGHT AJ FIELD
BACK TO SCHOOL When AJ Field Developments Ltd was employed to refurbish a Grade II listed former schoolhouse there was more to the project than met the eye
including a combination of steam stripping and applying non-aggressive chemicals. “We had to liaise closely with the conservation officer to ensure we were meeting their requirements,” said Jim. “This was a messy, time-consuming operation made harder by the stage of the project as we had to be careful not to damage new finishes.” An existing swimming pool was repaired and refurbished, posing technical challenges including tracing leaking pipework and threading a new mechanical ventilation and air handling equipment into the listed structure. Jim worked closely with the architect, structural engineer
to keep in touch with the conservation officer and make sure the architect’s doing the same. Everything needs to be approved before you steam in and start knocking everything to bits,” explained Jim, who has worked on dozens of listed buildings. “It’s about making sure that you don’t knock something something up that shouldn’t be covered up and employing sympathetic cleaning methods approved by the conservation officer.” The building had undergone several transformations over the years, as a memorial hall, cinema, community centre and private house. “All of these different functions had differing requirements from the building and so major transformations took place over the years,” explained Jim. “Exposing and getting to the bottom of all of these transformations took expertise and time. You are unpicking all sorts of unknown things that you are finding that you can’t see initially when you first tendered for the job.” Years of paint build-up around the existing sandstone windows and doors were stripped using non-destructive specialist cleaning techniques, down that shouldn’t be knocked down or cover
A J Field Developments Ltd was appointed to transform a former schoolhouse in Staffordshire, which was built in 1862, into an open plan family home, combining sensitive refurbishment of the Grade II listed building with a contemporary extension. “The uniqueness of this project is the successful marrying of listed features such as sandstone window and door surrounds, timbered vaulted ceilings and magnificent windows with ultra-modern, frameless glazed ballustrades, polished concrete floors,
The extension features a cornerless, folding door system, opening up on to a new patio area sheltered by an overhanging roof. The downstairs interior has been opened up, creating a modern kitchen and living space with underfloor heated, polished concrete floors and glazed galleried viewing areas above. As with any listed building, care was taken to ensure that work was carried out sympathetically. “It’s important with any old property, but listed especially,
and client on the design development throughout and the end result is a unique family home. “On a job like this it can become quite emotional
because clients don’t always appreciate that things can change, so it is important to make sure that communication doesn’t break down between the architect and client,” said Jim. “It was nice to bring it all together and for the client to be happy at the end of it and we are very proud if it.”
open plan living areas and a contemporary extension,” said Jim Hadfield, Managing Director of AJ Field Developments Ltd, an FMB member firm.
Visit www.fmb.org.uk/ join-the-fmb/builders-blog/
to view more photos.
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BUSINESS SUPPORT LATE PAYMENTS
C hasing financial and stressful, taking valuable time away from focusing on running your business. As a Master Builder you have access to a debt recovery helpline, which aims to minimise disruption to your business caused by late payments. Help is available from expert advisers who can guide you through the process of recovering money owed and managing any difficulties that may arise. debts owed to your company can be time-consuming
Tips on how to address late payments
You might also consider taking a deposit from your client or including a “retention of goods” (ROT) clause ensuring any goods you deliver still belong to you if they have not been paid for. Remember that contract templates are available to all FMB members from the Members’ Area on the website. Simply login and navigate to the member resources section to download a copy. Dealing with slow payers Check that you have invoiced the client and that
the address and contact details you have on file are accurate. If you’ve had previous transactions with the client, check whether they were late to pay last time around – this could give you a vital heads-up as to whether or not you can expect more delays. Consider accepting payments in instalments when the client is unable to pay in full. If applicable, point out that interest on the debt is now due, and make it clear what the current amount and daily rate of interest stands at – you may get a positive result if you indicate a willingness to waive interest charges if they pay now. Going to court Key considerations before going to court include: How likely are you to win your case? Does your client have the means to pay, or are they bankrupt? Could you end up being counter-sued? Call the debt recovery helpline on the details below for advice on what to do next. Need more help? The guidance referenced in this article as well as additional templates and business resources are available for all FMB members through the Business Documents Library, accessible in the Members’ Area of the website.
Use a contract Using contracts that clearly state the dates and amounts due for payment can help all parties stay up-to-date. Consider whether your contract(s) states your right to charge interest in the event of late payment, and if so, what the rate will be. Under the Late Payment of Commercial Debts (Interest) Act you are entitled to charge 8% above the Bank of England’s base rate; currently 0.75%.
DEALING WITH LATE PAYMENTS Did you know that throughout
2019, the average sum of money being chased on behalf of FMB members was £158,000 per month?
If the strain of unpaid debt is impacting your business,
contact the FMB’s debt recovery helpline for free on 0116 243 7623.
BUSINESS SUPPORT GREEN REGISTER
From raging fires in California and Australia to severe flooding closer to home, there’s little doubt that our climate emergency is leading to more extreme weather patterns. The Green Register talks about how to prevent flood damage to UK homes PREVENTING FLOODDAMAGE
By lining walls with magnesium oxide boards to resist water and mould growth, for example. These raw mineral boards are widely considered to be more environmentally friendly than gypsum- based materials. Keep electrical goods out of harm’s way by positioning these – and electrical sockets – at counter level or above. Avoid chipboard kitchen cabinets and consider installing units made with materials that will fully dry out without lasting damage. Ceramic floor tiles are a sustainable and robust choice in a flood-prone area. Hanging internal doors on butt hinges to aid swift removal at the first sign of rising water levels may prevent the need for replacement. Planning for flood management is becoming vital in some areas of the UK and paying attention to the bigger picture by acting on climate change now has never been more important. That means switching construction practices to create low-carbon buildings that will help to reduce our energy consumption and environmental impact.
I n recent years we’ve seen many parts of the UK fall prey to flooding – and not just in areas historically prone to floods. Water
to avoid erosion or by allowing water to soak into the ground in a controlled way. A rain garden is an example of sustainable drainage and a smart way to absorb excess rainwater through a shallow depression of free-draining soil, populated with plants that can withstand occasional floods. Preventative measures may include floodproof doors and windows that contain strong seals and locks to keep water out of the building. Accoya timber units are available as a sustainable option and may be suitable for heritage properties. Good workmanship is an essential factor in assuring the best fit for full efficiency. Consider integrating relief mechanisms, such as perimeter subfloor drains or sump and pump systems designed to divert water before it reaches floor level. Good design and sensible material choices can assist with limiting flood damage. Some examples include:
ingress at scale can leave a devastating legacy on a home and the lives of its occupants, so how can we prevent flooding damage in properties and successfully manage repairs when it does happen? When planning a new build or renovating an older property at risk of flooding, consider both prevention of water ingress and recovery of materials should flooding occur. Landscaping around a property can help to aid water drainage and prevent floods from reaching the building. Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) are localised approaches to managing surface water without causing damage to the environment. This is achieved by transporting water, slowing down run-off
A flooded home
Futureproof is an initiative in the West of England promoting sustainable retrofit for
homes. Free training by project partner The Green Register in key aspects of sustainable construction is available to builders working in this region. Register at www.futureproof.uk.net
This article is a guest contribution by The Green Register.
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BUSINESS SUPPORT GOODWORK PLAN
WORKINGWELL Master Builder summarises the Good Work Plan, which aims to clarify the relationship between workers and employers in today’s changing employment landscape
Extension of the right to a written statement of particulars of employment: From April 2020, all workers and employees of a company will be entitled to receive a written statement on day one of their employment outlining the basic terms of their contract. Additional mandatory information must also be included such as hours to be worked and training entitlements. At present, employers have up to two months from the date of employment to provide this documentation to employees only, not workers. Right to request a stable contract: After completing 26 weeks of service, all employees and workers will be able to request a more stable and predictable contract. Holiday pay calculations are changing: From April 2020, holiday pay for those with irregular working hours, such as seasonal, casual or zero-hours workers, will be calculated by averaging the number of hours worked over 52 weeks instead of 12 weeks as per the current ‘pay reference period’ requirements. Enforcing holiday and sick pay: The Government has committed to introduce a new state enforcement system for holiday pay and is looking to reform the Statutory Sick Pay system. Extending ‘break in service’ period: The ‘break in service’ period will be extended from one week to four weeks from April 2020. This ensures an employee can maintain continuity of service and access key rights, despite a gap in work. The Good Work Plan also outlined five foundational principles to measure and assess job quality in the UK, which are satisfaction, fair pay, participation and progress, well-being, safety and security, and voice and autonomy. To read a summary of these principles visit www.fmb.org.uk/join-the-fmb/ builders-blog/
M odern working practices, including the rise of digital platforms, flexible working contracts and independent workers such as Uber drivers, have re-shaped the relationship between workers and employers. To address the challenges created by this changing employment landscape, the UK Government announced it will introduce new policies to ensure workers and employers better understand their responsibilities and are adequately protected. These are outlined in the Government’s Good Work Plan. This follows the independent Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices, which recommended changes to employment frameworks to better reflect the modern labour market.
Some of the key changes identified in the Good Work Plan include:
Greater clarity on employment status for workers and employers: The Government plans to propose new legislation to clarify employment status to better reflect modern working practices. This will need to consider tax implications and an online tool will also be developed to help determine employment status in most cases. No timetable has been set for the introduction of this new legislation. Extension of a right to a payslip: As of April 2019, all workers, including casual, part-time, and zero-hour workers, have the right to a payslip.
For more information on the Government’s Good Work Plan including details on additional changes to expect, visit: bit.ly/373YK64
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INTERVIEW SARAH BEALE
S arah Beale was a member of the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) executive team prior to taking over the reins in January 2017, at a time of significant turmoil for the organisation. “What attracted me [to the role] in all honesty was knowing what we were about to launch,” she said. “I knew the scale and significance of our transformation programme and I felt that I was in a position to really support it and drive it through to fruition. Knowing the team around me, I felt I could give it a really good shot in making sure our Vision 2020 was delivered.” And deliver it she has, with the CITB undergoing a restructure and relocating, as well as improving transparency and accountability. “Overall the transformation was exceptionally ambitious, and I am delighted to be sat here at this juncture two years on and every major milestone to date has been hit within our programme,” she said. “That’s not to say that everything has gone smoothly, or that there isn’t more to do.” The CITB has engaged more with small and medium-sized (SME) construction firms, with greater SME representation on its board, councils and committees, as well as increasing support and simplifying its grant scheme. “We have heard loud and clear that small and micro firms do need an element of support in order to train and support their workforce and we are doing all we can
Sarah Beale, Chief Executive of the CITB, talks about driving transformational change TRAINING FOR THE FUTURE
last year the CITB’s Skills and Training Fund supported 1,300 small firms – a figure that will rise to 1,900, with a £2 million increase planned for the fund. She recognises that for SMEs looking to train their workforce there is a cost in terms of the time and effort of investment, as well as financially, but said there are many benefits, including increased productivity. It is also good for the sector, with people being far more likely to enter an industry that invests in its workforce. With an expected shortfall of 169,000 workers by 2025 it has never been more important to attract more people into construction careers, especially those from non-traditional backgrounds. As the construction industry grows it needs to focus more on digitalisation and modern methods of construction, as well as traditional skills, and must look to recruit from other industries and under-represented groups. “We have to have real clear strategies on how we attract [people] and we need to attract from a wide range of backgrounds – career changers, new entrants etc, and then concentrate on how we retain these people,” she said. 2020 is a consensus year for the CITB, which means it must consult with industry, including the FMB, about proposals for the next Levy Order. For the first time, it will be consulting before the process to get sector feedback to help shape that offer.
and the importance of quality training to the construction sector’s future
Looking to the future, Sarah wants the CITB to become closer to the industry that it
through our partnership team to make sure that we hear what is needed and act on that, as well as through direct funding,” she said. Over 60% of grant funding goes to micro, small and medium- sized companies and
serves and quicker to respond to their needs, as well as being seen as a trusted adviser, helping to shape government policy.
A skilled workforce is a strong workforce and investing in training is easier than you think with plenty of support available for small and medium- sized construction firms
I nvesting in training can bring a range of benefits to your business and your employees. However, all too often small and medium-sized construction firms (SMEs) are reluctant to invest in training due to fears over costs and a lack of knowledge around suitable courses. “In my experience some companies don’t know what support they can get to help them with training, they don’t know
where they can get the help and they don’t know the right training to invest in,” said Sarah Beale, Chief Executive of the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB), which supports the skills needs of British construction in England, Scotland and Wales. While there is a financial and time commitment involved in training staff, such investment can bring countless
The CITB Skills and Training Fund is relaunching in April
and broadening in scope to include new funding especially aimed at medium-sized employers. The amount of funding available to a business will be “stepped up” according to size.
CASE STUDY On track with training
There are several different qualification grants, including short period and vocational qualification grants, longer period (over one year) qualification grants, and work experience grants for attendance and achievement of construction-related qualifications. MORE DETAILS AT: www.citb.co.uk/levy-grants-and-funding/grants- funding/qualification-grants/
investing in training is a financial demonstration from us that we are not paying lip service to being professional.” The company has integrated the FMB’s e-learning modules as part of its suite of toolbox talks and all employees complete five modules every year, doing them all at once or one module a month over a five- month period. “Training only promotes more ownership by employees, and it can be quite motivating,” said Christian. There are no “losers” he said, as employees can bolster their CV and companies gain from having a highly skilled and motivated workforce, perhaps capable of taking on projects which previously required a specialist, or taking over more complex tasks that could free up the time of senior staff to concentrate on adding more value elsewhere.
benefits to companies, said Sarah, giving them a great foothold for delivering to customers, as well as a competitive edge. The CITB encourages employers of all sizes to access the skills training and provides a range of grants and funding pots, consulting with industry at all levels to ensure that funding is tailored to address the fundamental needs of the construction sector. All construction sector businesses are eligible to apply for a grant, as long as they are registered with CITB and up to date with the Levy. Funding is available under the Grants Scheme for almost 1,500 courses and qualifications, most of which are targeted at small and Former professional engineers Christian Bowerman and Paul Tedder set up Atlantic Dwellings, an FMB member firm, 15 years ago after retraining as an electrician and plumber respectively and the company invests heavily in staff training. “We set up the business because we both had average experiences with smaller residential builders and thought there has got to be a way we can do this better by getting the basics right,” said Christian. “I think construction has had a real bad reputation in general and we are absolutely determined to strive and drive professionalism in our business and that is why for us personal development and training is important. “It is no good just talking the talk, you have to be able to demonstrate your professional worth and
with industry and analysing the latest data. Where larger funds are involved, CITB works with industry experts to define required outcomes and design funds accordingly. Companies are able to apply for more than one fund/grant scheme at the same time, as long as the applications are for different things, and you can reapply for funding even if you have received funds or been turned down in the past. There are some restrictions in place – for instance a business can only apply for the Skills Training Fund once per year – so you should check the criteria for each fund before applying. Learn online The FMB’s e-learning modules also give members the opportunity to access training programmes on a range of subjects, from construction- working at height, to business management courses including cyber security and mental health awareness. The online courses can be completed during the working day or in employees’ own time. See page 47 for more information. Hayley Lorimer, Director of Membership Services at the FMB, said the short courses are a great way for members and their employees to expand their knowledge and skills. related courses including asbestos awareness and
“One of the great benefits of the e-learning modules is that members can stop and start the courses so training can be completed around busy schedules,” said Hayley. “For members who have more employees we can set up a team within the system so that the completion of courses for each employee can be tracked. “The training is free, which means it can save members time and money on upskilling themselves or their workforce.”
CITB Apprenticeship grants support the attendance and achievement on construction-related Apprenticeships from Level 2 upwards. MORE DETAILS AT: www.citb.co.uk/levy- grants-and-funding/ grants-funding/ apprenticeship-grants/
medium-sized businesses. Applications for funding are measured against a range of criteria, including the size of the company, the nature of the request, and the priorities for the industry. All funds are designed through working
Short course grants are paid for short
duration courses that align to approved construction- related standards, or to approved standard titles where the standards are undergoing development. MORE DETAILS AT: www.citb.co.uk/levy- grants-and-funding/ grants-funding/short- course-grants/
Information on how to apply for each grant type is available at: www.citb.co.uk/levy-grants-and- funding/grants-funding/ CITB also supports training groups across England, Scotland and Wales which allow local construction employers to join up and benefit from discounted training, networking, and participating in projects that promote construction as an attractive and viable career. Find out more at: www.citb.co.uk/ about-citb/contact-citb/
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