The Building & Engineering Services Association (B&ES) has published its Business Manifesto in order to highlight the issues it believes the next government must address if UK construction is to remain fit-for-purpose in the years ahead.

Speaking at a press briefing on Friday 23 January, B&ES president Andy Sneyd explained that the B&ES Business Manifesto, which had been drawn together in advance of the May general election, focussed on commercial matters such as late payment, the elimination of waste from the procurement process, and the maximisation of efficiency throughout the supply chain.

“But it also highlights the growing importance of vocational education and training,” he added, “at every level of the workforce, in ensuring that we employ the required calibre and number of highly skilled and motivated individuals, who are fully capable of meeting the challenges of an increasingly complex industry.”

B&ES is currently engaged in a sector-wide consultation on the new qualifications standards and new training arrangements drawn up by employers themselves, which address issues such as the appropriate duration of apprenticeships, the competences which apprentices must have achieved on completion of their training, and the specific knowledge and skills they must acquire during the apprenticeship programme.

“There is no doubt that these new standards will have a significant impact on every organisation and individual engaged in building engineering services – and on the shape and structure of the sector as whole,” said Mr Sneyd.

The final strand in the manifesto refers to what the president described as “the perennial debate that continues to surround sustainability, energy efficiency, emissions reduction and the low-carbon economy”.

“B&ES has long taken a lead in the development of sustainable building engineering services – recent research having confirmed that the vast majority of our members are already involved in sustainable contracting, with many assuming a project management role,” he told his audience.