The Specialist Engineering Contractors’ (SEC) Group has written to the Prime Minister seeking confirmation that construction is within the remit of the new Economic and Industrial Strategy Cabinet Committee.

SEC Group has also asked the Prime Minister to consider targeted and measurable action plans to raise productivity levels in all industry sectors.

Against a background of declining construction activity SEC Group’s chairman, Trevor Hursthouse OBE, said that in the wake of the Brexit vote the construction industry needs to re-shape itself: “Having run an engineering SME for over 40 years I believe that the way forward for the industry, with strong support from government, is to focus on achieving greater efficiencies through eliminating wasteful and non-productive activities.”

SEC Group is proposing an industry 3-point action plan:

1. Overcome the lack of cash flow security through greater use of project bank accounts and the ring-fencing of cash retentions.

2. Replace outdated and inefficient procurement and contracting practices with modern, ”smart” methods involving collaborative delivery and greater exploitation of digital technologies.

3. Develop a level playing field for competition that encourages reputable SMEs to invest in innovation that will improve productivity: ease of entry to the industry, false self-employment and lack of regulatory enforcement contributes to poor skills levels and ultimately poor quality outcomes.

Mr Hursthouse added: “Time is no longer on our side. Post-Brexit we have to be leaner and fitter as an industry to add greater value to our clients, not cost, and to enable investment in the technologies that will ultimately improve the commercial health of the industry’s SMEs that deliver the bulk of its output. We are asking that the government gets on board to help us drive the necessary changes”