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Planning and integration are biggest industry challenges

Long-term strategic planning and supply chain integration are the two biggest challenges facing the industry, according to delegates at the Constructing Excellence Infrastructure Forum this week.
Procurement methods were highlighted as the main barrier to a truly integrated supply chain as envisaged nearly 10 years ago in the seminal Egan report.

The government was identified as the main culprit by not developing its own supply chains.

"Effective infrastructure needs strategic policy and strategic thinking," said Andrew McNaughton, chairman of the Infrastructure Forum.

"Decisions involve major capital investment that has to sit outside party politics," said McNaughton.

The conference used electronic voting to canvass each delegate on the issues affecting the infrastructure sector in today’s climate. According to 34% of participants, the supply chain is the key to efficiency gains in construction.

Planning was also highlighted by delegates as key to efficiency, with 88% of delegates agreeing that their business would benefit from greater knowledge of government construction spending.

However, 75% were not aware of the Public Sector Construction database, established by the Office of Government Commerce this year.

The skills crisis remained a common thread that affects the entire construction industry.

Of the survey respondents, 84% did not believe, or were neutral, that migrant labour is a sustainable solution to the skills issue. However, 66% thought growth was sustainable but felt that skills will be strained.

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