An innovative online tool has been launched to provide the construction industry with greater clarity and understanding of future public sector construction projects to be delivered across Scotland.
The Construction Pipeline Forecast Tool has been developed by infrastructure body the Scottish Futures Trust in partnership with the public sector together with representatives from the construction industry.
The interactive tool has been created in response to actions coming from the Construction Industry Recovery Plan published in October 2020 by the Scottish Construction Leadership Forum.
With a current value of just under £8.5 billion, the Construction Pipeline Forecast Tool has details of over 1,150 future public sector infrastructure projects and covers many sectors including education, health, housing and flood prevention.
Of the 1,150 project opportunities, approximately 60% are below £2m in value, emphasising the focus on providing opportunities to small and medium sized enterprises. This will continue to grow as additional contracting authorities join the system going forward and will be updated every six months.
By providing greater transparency on future workload, the pipeline will help businesses plan better and maintain their investment in skills and future training needs. It will also encourage collaboration between public sector organisations through a greater understanding of their respective construction pipelines.
The pipeline also seeks to provide a longer-term view on forecast investment and identifies construction projects up to 2028, with the majority of the forecast spend occurring before 2025. The types of construction projects include new build, refurbishments, maintenance works as well as road infrastructure.
The Construction Pipeline Forecast Tool allows the user to simply and easily explore data held using various criteria that includes the chosen procurement route, the procuring authority, contract value and sector.
Peter Reekie, chief executive of the Scottish Futures Trust (SFT) and chair of the Executive Group of the Scottish Construction Leadership Forum said: “Providing businesses working in the construction sector with this detailed information creates greater confidence through improved project transparency. As a result, it will allow businesses to invest correctly and recruit accordingly, as well as build stronger partnerships within supply chains.
“Through being a key partner in the Scottish Construction Leadership Forum, SFT took responsibility to deliver the Construction Pipeline Forecast Tool, one of the actions coming from the Construction Industry Recovery Plan which was published in October 2020 in response to COVID-19.
“Building the Construction Pipeline Forecast Tool was met with strong levels of engagement across the whole of the public sector, which has been greatly appreciated, and we look forward to continuing to work with the sector on this leading-edge development.”
Welcoming news of the pipeline launch, Ivan McKee, Minister for Business, Trade, Tourism and Enterprise, said: “This is a crucial time for business, trade and investment in Scotland and we are pushing forward with an ambitious agenda of recovery and economic transformation. Construction will play a key part in that recovery, delivering critical infrastructure and supporting our important net zero commitments.
“By working together and galvanising the expertise and ingenuity of the construction industry, we can enhance Scotland’s economic potential and deliver greater, greener and fairer prosperity.
“This online tool will provide businesses with the pipeline visibility they need to plan investment in skills, labour and materials which will support jobs and business growth. It also delivers new opportunities for small and medium sized business across the sector by providing visibility of smaller contracts. This key ask from industry has been delivered through the Construction Leadership Forum Recovery Plan – demonstrating how we can work together to deliver the changes the sector needs.
“This is just the start of an exciting process and I encourage other public bodies to share their data to broaden their market access.”
Stuart Parker, member of the Construction Scotland Industry Leadership Group and Chair of its Procurement sub-group, said: “The Construction Pipeline Forecast tool is a really exciting development for the industry, bringing together details of the upcoming opportunities in the sector in one user-friendly format.
“It will really help the industry to understand the direction of travel in social infrastructure, providing confidence to invest in the resources and skills needed to help the country rebuild better. The tool will help to provide visibility of opportunity to businesses of all sizes, but particularly SMEs throughout the supply chain.”
Speaking of the pipeline, Donald Gillies, Director of Place from South Ayrshire Council, said: “From a local authority’s perspective, the pipeline provides improved clarity of planned activity across neighbouring council areas which can help foster greater levels of collaboration and insight on future investment in infrastructure and buildings.
“Importantly, the pipeline will support the delivery of high-quality public sector buildings, created by a thriving construction industry employing local people.”