By: Alan Wilson, CICV Forum Chair and Managing Director of SELECT

The Construction Industry Coronavirus (CICV) Forum was formed in March 2020 in response to the urgent COVID-19 threat to people and business. With a focus firmly on collaborative action, the Forum has brought together senior representatives from all the main construction trade and professional associations which represent manufacturers, merchants/wholesalers, designers, and installers, and whose members operate the length and breadth of Scotland’s built environment supply chain.

From day one, we knew that we needed to pool our expertise and knowledge, and it was great to see people from every part of the sector queuing up to come aboard, wanting to help and contribute their skills and experience. It was vital that there was a body representing the interests of Scotland’s diverse construction supply chain, from the largest to the smallest business, with one consistent voice.

Our initial priorities included lobbying the Scottish Government to influence policy and to push for positive action, and to give expert focus to important sector issues including commercial, employment, planning, skills and health and safety.

This unique collaboration of trade associations, professional bodies, companies and individuals has helped guide the industry and public through a year of massive upheaval with a wealth of information and unrivalled teamwork.

Central to the success of the Forum, has been the adoption and implementation of a policy of the three Cs: Collaboration, Cooperation and Commitment.

It also quickly became clear that the Forum was speaking for the entire sector, and with that weight of influence behind it, was soon viewed as a valuable and influential voice for the industry. It rapidly gained a place at the top decision-making tables and could speak authoritatively, listen constructively and act decisively with the Scottish Government, local government and other major bodies about the most pressing matters as the pandemic progressed.

One of the main strengths of the Forum was to create and distribute practical and easy to use guidance on a whole host of subjects. Over the course of the year, we have regularly produced guidance documents with a wealth of health and safety advice to keep workers, clients and the public safe, and we continue to provide updated guidance as we progress down the route map to recovery. We also realised that any information the Forum disseminated had to be in a simple, easily digestible form which would resonate throughout the hugely disparate elements of the sector.

By way of communication, the Forum created a number of animations on domestic working, returning to work safely, physical distancing and face coverings that, like much of our guidance, has been adopted across Scotland and beyond.

While it has taken an emergency of almost inconceivable proportions to pull the industry together, the result has been nothing short of amazing and, for the first time, this is the sector speaking with one voice, for the greater good not only of its component parts, but for the future health of a sector which employs 175,000 people and contributes over £21 billion to GDP.

The collective’s latest action was to create a CICV Forum Manifesto, which highlights the issues that the incoming government in Scotland needs to address.