Successfully responding to Covid-19
The COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the sector reinforced the value and importance of the Construction Sector Accord.
The COVID-19 environment has created many new challenges for all parts of the construction industry, including a lack of cashflow, workforce retention issues and additional pipeline uncertainty. The Accord recognised that without steady cashflow, contractors would not have the confidence or financial ability to retain their workforce. This would have had significant long-term impacts on the viability of the sector.
The strong Accord partnership between government and private sector leaders enabled a swift coordinated response to the COVID-19 lockdown in March 2020. The Accord became trusted advisors and a credible, unified channel that enabled Ministers to access information to support good decision making on the COVID-19 response and recovery.
The Accord released a Construction Sector COVID-19 Response Plan on 5 April 2020. The plan facilitated government and industry action to maintain confidence in the sector, support jobs and businesses, enable the sector to work safely and minimise the economic impact from COVID-19.
It was fundamental to everyone working in construction, whether they were residential or commercial, that as soon as we finished Alert Level 4 lockdown, they could get back on site in a safe and responsible way. The Accord made that happen – through the genuine partnership between industry and government, there was a high level of credibility and trust.
David Kelly, Registered Master Builders Chief Executive and Accord Transformation Delivery Group member.
The Accord Steering Group's immediate and influential support helped the construction industry and its workers get what they needed to maintain levels of activity during the immediate impacts of COVID-19, and to return to work in a safe and responsible way quickly. The Accord has driven an accelerated pipeline of construction work and supported best practice procurement that takes into account the challenges of the COVID-19 environment.
The Accord has been able to leverage COVID-19 as an opportunity to further enable government and industry to transform the sector. Improvements to procurement and cross-industry collaboration established in response to COVID-19 supported the immediate recovery and reinforced the Accord's overall goals.
Accord members have recognised that the genuine partnership between industry and government, with a high level of credibility and trust, has been pivotal in the response to and recovery from COVID-19.