The Construction Products Association has announced its three strategic objectives for this year…
Speaking at the Construction Products Association’s (CPA) Spring Lunch, chair John Sinfield addressed the organisation’s three main objectives for the year ahead.
The organisation, which represents the UK’s manufacturers and distributors of construction products and materials, also unveiled a new logo.
With an audience of some 500 senior industry leaders and government officials, Sinfield—who is the managing director of Knauf Insulation for Northern Europe said: “My compliments to CPA chief executive Diana Montgomery and her team for the new look to the logo and the new website.
“The change is more than skin deep as there has been significant effort put in behind the scenes to rethink and refocus the CPA’s objectives and strategy.
“More than ever these are clearly centred on responding to the needs of you, the members, and helping your business to succeed. “
The first key strategy involves increasing recognition for the industry. Sinfield said the CPA represents 85 per cent by value of all manufacturers and merchants and that it must continue to remain a clear voice for the sector.
“…we are often the first point of contact for politicians, civil servants and the media seeking information and advice about policies that affect not only your business but the wider construction supply chain too,” he said.
“We have occasionally had to fight hard to remind our new colleagues in government that our industry accounts for more than a third of total construction output in this country and is invested into every constituency from Land’s End to John O’Groats.
“And while we may not be as sexy as the makers of F1 cars or the latest fighter jet, manufacturers of construction products are just as innovative and employ more people in the UK than automotive and aerospace manufacturers combined.
“To the government’s credit, they have been willing to listen to us and their support, for example, of the Construction Leadership Council bodes well for a productive working relationship with the construction supply chain.”
The second strategic point will focus upon growing the market. Despite some scepticism from members that the CPA could grow the market for construction products it remains a clear strategy for the organisation.
“When we undertook the market research and asked our members their thoughts on the CPA’s ambition to help grow the market for construction products, it sometimes met with scepticism. Could a trade association actually achieve such a thing? Can the CPA really help grow a member company’s business?
“Our answer is yes, if we can provide information or help address those areas which are key to your success.
“Probably the most obvious examples of this are the economic forecasts and surveys, for which the CPA is so highly regarded. Our members tell us that this information is indispensable to business development and strategies, offering highly accurate insight into market data, growth opportunities and risks.”
Sinfield also addressed the skills shortage, which has become a significant issue in the construction industry, and could make it difficult to meet government targets for infrastructure and housing.
“We have put the CPA at the heart of efforts to study this problem and find effective, practical solutions.
“We have started a pilot project with the help of CITB and a small number of our members to see if we can put ‘product-user training’ on a more formal footing with nationally recognised qualifications.
“By doing so, we will not only ensure our products are being installed correctly by qualified individuals, but the builders and tradespeople would be better trained, with more flexible and professional credentials; all of which should in turn improve productivity and ultimately grow our market.
“As we take this work forward, we have also been lobbying government to ensure that you will be able to use your Apprenticeship Levy vouchers to provide training to your supply chain as well as your own people. This will ensure the sector is able to deliver quality not just quantity when encouraging new entrants to the sector. These discussions are a work in progress but we believe this will be an important measure for the industry to make best use of the new levy.
Sinfield also discussed another major growth area in the sector: BIM. Building information modelling (BIM) has the ability cut costs and create greater efficiency. It is an area the government is keen to expand, and with all public sector projects requiring contractors to be BIM Level 2 approved as of April it is an area that is likely to continue to see growth.
“Here too, the CPA has been leading on behalf of manufacturers and distributors to prepare for this, and we are now working to develop the next steps to BIM Level 3,” Sinfield said.
“We lobbied hard for government’s continued support to Level 3, and so were very pleased to see the recent Budget commitment; while the £15 million investment may seem slight in quantity the signal it sends to industry is in fact strong and appreciated.
“But more broadly, digitalisation, with its demand for collaboration and innovation, plays to our strengths as an industry. As the year progresses, you will hear more about some potentially game-changing developments which the CPA is driving, including Project Data Templates and Digital Object Identifiers.”
The third strategic area surrounds reducing regulatory risks. The CPA recently published a report highlighting 132 current and pending UK and EU policies and regulations that impact the sector. This did not cover health and safety, human resources, finance or transportation regulations. Sinfield said more needs to be done here.
“The sheer number and complexity of these policies and regulations is a risk in itself to business. Added to this are the growing complications arising from the need to harmonise regulations both with the EU and the increasingly influential devolved regions in the UK,” he said.
“This is another area where, I believe, the CPA really delivers, though it is not always obvious. Again, a tremendous amount of work is done behind the scenes, day in, day out. Protecting our members’ interests.
“Minimising barriers to doing business and seeking opportunities in the way new regulations are set out. Most importantly though, we try to ensure policies are effective, clearly defined, consistent and have a long-term future.”
The full copy of the speech can be viewed here: http://www.constructionproducts.org.uk/news-media-events/news/2016/april/cpa-chairman-reveals-three-strategic-objectives-and-new-logo