Wates boss calls for boost to public building work

Grant Prior 10 years ago
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The managing director of Wates Construction in the Midlands and North is calling for the budget to focus on public building projects rather than grand infrastructure schemes.

Phil Harrison said that extra cash for local buildings will boost main and trade contractors now rather than leaving them waiting for major transport jobs to start on site.

He said: “The secret lies not in capital investment for large-scale infrastructure schemes that are years in the planning, but public buildings that can quickly and efficiently be brought to market.

“Such projects provide work for upwards of 40 different construction trades, so the investment benefits are not only felt quickly but also penetrate throughout a substantial UK-based supply chain.

“In addition, 90% of the materials used in construction are sourced and manufactured in the UK thereby providing a wider stimulus to the UK manufacturing industry.”

Harrison quoted a recent £10.5m college job in Doncaster as the perfect example of how public construction can kick-start the economy.

He said: “Take the recent development of Campsmount Technology College in Doncaster.

“In 18 months we have gone from architectural drawings to finished product, including the planning and manufacturing stages.

“From the light fittings to the flooring, the building has required the input of 45 subcontractors, bringing their British-manufactured products to the market and providing a welcome injection into the economy.

“As a strategy for growth, capital investment is an encouraging step forward, but one that needs to be realised now, not tomorrow.

“If the government wants the British economy to reap the benefits of its 2012 Budget, it needs to get the entire construction industry working together again, and fast.”

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