Quality a priority of the Scottish Construction Accord

6 Mar 23
Quality a priority of the Scottish Construction Accord

A sustainable quality culture is one of the key priorities of the Scottish Construction Accord, which provides a common understanding of what’s important for the future of the sector and how to get there. This was highlighted by a number of speakers at the joint GIRI/CQIC event in Edinburgh in February, which launched the Construction Quality Improvement Collaborative.

Ivan McKee, Scottish Minister for Business, Trade, Tourism and Enterprise and chair of the Construction Leadership Forum, acknowledged the importance of the sector to the Scottish economy as he opened the event. “It underpins pretty much everything that we are involved in. And the Scottish government recognises the importance of quality to the delivery and success of the sector.”

Outlining the activities of the Construction Leadership Forum that aim to support and strengthen the sector, he said: “These initiatives all stress the importance of quality, the quality of outcomes, and ensure the recovery from the pandemic is turned into the transformation of the sector. The Construction Accord was the first step in pulling all this together, and the document has been worked out with all parts of the sector to make sure there is a common understanding of what is important and how we are going to work together… The next phase of this work is about action, delivery and quality.”

The Construction Accord is intended to provide a shared motivation and the structures to work collaboratively on the actions that have been agreed as priorities for the sector, added Peter Reekie, chief executive of the Scottish Futures Trust. “We need a marked change in the form, nature, and appearance of the industry in which we all work. This cannot be about fixing the bits that, as individuals, we think are not working. It is about creating the industry that future generations need it to be. And it won’t be a future generation that looks like today’s. It must be very different.”

Peter argued that Scotland needs different outcomes from the industry and for the industry. “In the Accord, we set out the outcomes we would like to see, for businesses and the economy, for the current and future workforce, for customers and end users, and the environment and communities. We have also set out ten workstreams to start moving the dial on those outcomes. Creating a sustainable quality culture is one of them.”

Peter explained that collaborative working arrangements have been established under the Construction Leadership Forum to take these workstreams forward. Each working group will have a public sector and an industry co-chair. “I would like everyone to support them and help drive the transformation we aspire to,” said Peter. “The pace of change will be variable. There will be some quick wins, but some will take time. To make real and lasting progress, we need to collaborate, to involve a diverse range of voices, and to take the majority with us so that the change we create will stick and build into the transformation we need.”

Quality, he added, has a direct and positive impact on so many of the outcomes that stakeholders agree the industry needs. “High profile quality failings have occurred, and I challenge anyone to say they are from a different age and the industry has moved on. We need to build public trust and confidence and we have to earn it, recognising that the quality of our work contributes to the health and safety of real people who are the end users of our products. And we need to do it consistently.”

Last but not least, Peter focused on improving outcomes for the current and future construction workforce. “Pride in a job well done boosts wellbeing and helps companies perform four times better in a recession. It creates the conditions we all want for ourselves and our colleagues and creates the culture to attract the diverse range of talented people we need for the future of the industry we are all working to create.”

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