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Construction industry calls to be taken “seriously” by candidates

Construction industry calls to be taken “seriously” by candidates

Wednesday 08 June 2022

Construction industry calls to be taken “seriously” by candidates

Wednesday 08 June 2022

Jersey construction industry heads are calling on election candidates to take into account the challenges facing their sector, ranging from inflation to staffing and ‘red tape’, in their campaigns and beyond.

The Jersey Construction Council hosted a breakfast briefing for more than 50 candidates on Tuesday, touching on four key issues: people, policy, productivity and prices.

All of the major parties battling it out at the election were represented, with several more independent candidates also present.

On the panel at the briefing were Council Chairperson Martin Holmes and Vice-chairperson Marc Burton MBE, who both presented on the topic of labour. 

They spoke about the importance of investing in skills and training the workforce and attracting the best candidates to work in the industry. As the island's third-largest employment sector, Marc noted the positive impact on perceptions of careers in the industry that the ‘Design, Engineer, Construct!’ course being delivered in the island's secondary schools, where over 450 students are actively engaged in studying construction.

Alison Horton of the Association of Jersey Architects briefed guests on the impact that recent policy changes introduced by the Bridging Island Plan are having at both a working level (where practitioners are seeking guidance on implementing the changes) and a strategic level (where clients and developers are now having to re-visit planning and bye-law applications to reflect the changes in policy now being implemented).

Richard Sutton of the Channel Islands Group of Professional Engineers spoke about modern methods of construction and modular housing may be able to help manage demand in future.

Representing the Jersey Chamber of Commerce, quantity surveyor Simon Matthews spoke about construction prices, house price inflation, and the impact of global construction demand on the local construction industry.

“With over 6,400 employees, 93% of whom are local and pay their taxes locally, the industry has earned the right to have its challenges heard by candidates at the General Election,” commented Mr Holmes.

Mr Burton said: “There aren’t many industries locally that have almost 500 students actively studying for vocational qualifications specific to their sector. That is a call for why the members of the next Assembly need to take construction seriously if they are to be successful with their election campaigns.”

The session was chaired by Philip Syvret, partner from sponsors Benest and Syvret, 

Noting the importance that the island’s property industry has on the island’s economy, he commented: “Without a properly-skilled, adequately-resourced construction industry, there is no new hospital, no new sports venues, no new housing or other infrastructure; and the present house price inflation will only continue.

“The candidates understood this link, and engaged well during the briefing. It was a pleasure to be involved in an excellent and very relevant event.”

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