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Construction Pipeline Forecast Tool seen as essential planning tool for industry

July 20, 2023

Businesses working across the construction sector are benefitting from a free-to-use online platform that gives them important information on future public sector building projects.    

The web-based Construction Pipeline Forecast Tool was launched by the Scottish Futures Trust in July 2021 to provide the construction industry with greater clarity and understanding of future public sector construction projects to be delivered across Scotland.

The Forecast Tool has now had its latest half-yearly refresh, with private sector businesses having free, online access to specific details of over 1,700 future infrastructure projects, valued at over £13.4bn, that have been submitted by 48 Scottish public bodies.

By providing greater transparency on future construction workload, the Forecast Tool aims to help businesses plan for the future, maintain their investment in skills while building meaningful relationships with public sector bodies, and to date, over 1,000 businesses are using the Forecast Tool.

The Forecast Tool provides a longer-term view on planned public sector investment up to 2028, with the majority of the forecast spending occurring before 2025. The Forecast Tool allows the user to simply and easily look at the online data using various criteria that include the chosen procurement route, the procuring authority, contract value and sector.

The types of construction projects include new build, refurbishments, and maintenance across a wide range of sectors including roads, health, education, housing and cultural and heritage.

Of the 1,700 projects, 54% are below £2m in value emphasising the opportunities that exist for many small and medium-sized enterprises working in the construction sector.

Speaking of the Forecast Tool, Andrew Waring, BIM manager at architecture practice Holmes Miller, said: “We’ve been using it as a supplement to our market intelligence processes to allow us to target clients with upcoming projects with our services.  

“Sometimes when the project gets to tender it can be too late to provide information management services, so having some information on upcoming projects allows us to begin those conversations with clients much earlier. It also helps us gauge the health of the public sector pipeline when business planning.”

The interactive tool was created by the Scottish Futures Trust in partnership with the public sector and the construction industry in response to actions coming from the Construction Industry Recovery Plan, developed by the Construction Leadership Forum (CLF).

Last year the CLF published its Scottish Construction Accord, which is aimed at creating more successful construction businesses, enhancing working conditions for employees, improving the quality of construction and becoming a net zero industry.

Central to the Construction Accord will be a Transformation Action Plan that outlines ten priority work areas where improvements need to be made across the construction sector.

Paul Dodd, Senior Associate Director at the Scottish Futures Trust and co-chair of the Pipeline priority work area, said: “We welcome the continuing commitment by public sector bodies to submit their pipeline data. We are seeing new use cases for the data to support both procurers and industry to provide greater insights in relation to planning, skills and collaboration. An integral part of the Construction Accord is to develop and publish a transparent forecast pipeline of construction investment, which we are already delivering for industry.”

John Gunn Director at Balfour Beatty co-chair of the Pipeline priority work area of the forthcoming Transformation Action Plan, said: “The Forecast Tool has provided valuable insight for our business as we plan ahead, and we welcome the continued management by the Scottish Futures Trust and the on-going support by public bodies in providing their data. I would welcome public sector bodies whose projects are not included to engage with the Scottish Futures Trust and support this key initiative and for industry to register to be updated on new projects.”

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