The Construction Leadership Council (CLC) recently published its ‘Roadmap to Recovery’ for the UK construction industry.

The Roadmap outlines the CLC’s strategy to drive the recovery of the construction and built environment sectors, and through them the wider UK economy, following the Covid-19 pandemic and economic downturn.

The strategy aims to increase the level of activity across the construction ecosystem, accelerate the process of industry adjustment to the new normal, and build capacity in the industry to deliver a number of outlined strategic priorities.

The roadmap highlights three phases to the plan, to be delivered over two years:

  • Restart: increase output, maximise employment and minimise disruption (0-3 months);

  • Reset: drive demand, increase productivity, strengthen capability in the supply chain (3-12 months); and

  • Reinvent: transform the industry, deliver better value, collaboration and partnership (12-24 months).

In reality, these are not likely to be sequential phases – there’s a lot of work to be done across all three phases, right now.

How does the CLC’s Roadmap to Recovery apply to us in the GAI and the hardware industry?

Restart phase

This phase highlights three key steps:

  1. Restart work on all projects and programmes, and increase this to the highest level possible consistent with Government guidance.

  2. Maximise employment of all those working in the construction industry and supply chain.

  3. Minimise disruption due to contractual disputes.

One of the key actions detailed in the Restart phase is to: “Provide and promote effective guidance on the safe operation of construction sites and for tradespeople working in homes, as well as for merchants and suppliers and ancillary functions such as site sales offices, and develop and roll out training for workers on implementing safe procedures for working on construction sites.”

GAI members should be mindful of the CLC's official guidance on how construction sites should be managed in the current environment - the Site Operating Procedures (Version 4) were issued on 19 May 2020.

Specific guidance for GAI members on these site operating procedures was also issued via the GAI website and can be found here.

Further relevant guidance from the GAI relating to the reopening of trade counters and branches and including the provision and publication of relevant risk assessments can be found here.

Another key action in the Restart phase is the sharing of information regarding “material and product supply and demand across construction firms, materials and product producers and merchants.”

The manufacture and supply of ironmongery and associated products, which is at the core of our industry, would naturally be included in this action. We’re very appreciative of all member contributions to GAI surveys during this pandemic which have helped us understand the impact on these areas of our industry. The results of those surveys have been passed on to key contacts at the Department for Business, and further details will continue to be passed on as we continue our journey from lockdown.

Reset phase

This phase also highlights three key steps:

  1. Demand and Pipeline - demand and supply-side measures to increase workload across infrastructure, construction, housing and domestic new build and RMI. Develop a robust pipeline of work across the whole construction ecosystem, including contracting, SMEs, merchants and manufacturers.

  2. Productivity – new approaches will be needed to compensate for the loss of productivity due to the requirement to implement Government guidelines across construction and the built environment.

  3. Professionalism – investing in training, collaborative business models, fairer contracts and payment.

A key element of the Productivity step relates to the wider adoption of digital technologies across clients and throughout the supply chain. Building Information Management (BIM) is seen as a key method of digital delivery by the UK government.

The GAI has invested a lot of time in making BIM accessible to members through the provision of 35 Product Data Templates (PDTs) which are available to download free of charge to GAI members. Using these PDTs, member companies can insert product data and provide their information in a machine-readable format as a Product Data Sheet (PDS). We are also chairing the BIM Fenestration Relevant Authority which is now embarking on a project to create PDTs for fire doors. Further detail will be issued on this project in due course.

A headline of the Professionalism step states that “The industry needs to maintain investment in training and retraining workers.”

Education and training is one of the central pillars of the GAI. The GAI education programme gives all the tools required to specify and schedule architectural ironmongery in any project with complete confidence. The programme is suitable for many professions including architectural ironmongers, locksmiths, architectural technicians, wholesalers, product manufacturers and builders merchants.

The GAI education programme has been developed over 50 years and is the only recognised programme in the world that leads to a qualification in architectural ironmongery to British and European standards. The GAI therefore offers the opportunity to train staff through any of the following:

  • Foundation in Hardware

  • The Certificate in Architectural Hardware (CiAH)

  • The GAI Diploma (DipGAI)

  • Fire Door Inspection Scheme

  • Continuing Professional Development scheme (RegAI)

Further details on all these can be found in the GAI prospectus.

Reinvent phase

This phase also highlights three key steps:

  1. Transformation – sustain economic growth through the adoption of digital and manufacturing technologies to consistently deliver low carbon, sustainable and better quality outputs and outcomes.

  2. Value – adopting procurement models and approaches across the industry and clients to deliver better value and whole life performance.

  3. Partnership – stronger partnerships between the industry and its clients, supply chain firms, investment in upskilling the workforce.

A key element of the Transformation step is to “embed building safety requirements into new high-risk residential buildings (HRRBs)”. This will involve encouraging and implementing increased levels of competence across the UK construction sector as highlighted by Dame Judith Hackitt in the Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety which was prepared as a direct result of the Grenfell Tower tragedy. The Hackitt Review was entitled ‘Building a Safer Future’.

The GAI has had a vital role in the development of the competence framework through its membership of Working Group 12: Construction Products (of which GAI technical manager Douglas Masterson is now Deputy Chair) and also through recent membership of the Competence Steering Group.

A new set of Competence Standards for the construction industry will be produced over the next two years and a follow up publication to the Raising the Bar interim report on improving competence in construction is due to be issued this summer with further recommendations.

The GAI is playing an active role in assisting the Construction Products Association and Working Group 12 with the viewpoint of the GAI and wider door and hardware industry in this final report.

An element of note in the Value step is to “modernise training and qualifications system for construction to ensure that this is fit for purpose, and will support the delivery of the skills that the industry will need in future.”

The GAI is continuing to provide investment into training programmes to ensure our material is modern, up to date and unequalled in our field.

We recommend that members do take a moment to familiarise yourself with this CLC Roadmap to Recovery and should anyone have any specific questions relating to this, please contact GAI Technical Manager Douglas Masterson on