SEC Group celebrates 25th anniversary with call for construction regulator

The Specialist Engineering Contractors’ Group (SEC Group) has issued a call for a statutory authority to be introduced to regulate construction industry practice.

The trade body proposed setting up a Construction and Infrastructure Authority which would replicate some of the powers associated with the regulatory authorities for sectors such as water, energy, telecoms and rail.

SEC Group celebrates 25th anniversary with call for construction regulator

The remit of a Construction and Infrastructure Authority would include:

  • oversight of the procurement practices of public bodies through challenging bad practice and highlighting strategies to deliver projects collaboratively with industry;
  • ensuring the socio-economic benefits of public sector procurement are being delivered;
  • intervening in cases of supply chain abuse;
  • promoting greater SME engagement with the procurement process;
  • raising industry standards of technical capability through promotion of schemes for accrediting competent businesses;
  • driving the digital agenda for construction.

A Construction and Infrastructure Authority would also have power to act in an advisory capacity for private sector construction. In the public sector it would have power to impose penalties on public bodies for poor practice or failure to comply with statutory responsibilities. Such power could also extend to excluding suppliers from public procurement for poor performance including abuse of supply chains.

Speaking on the occasion of the SEC Group’s 25th anniversary, chairman Trevor Hursthouse OBE, said: “In the last two years there has been an outpouring of reports on construction (most generated by the Grenfell tragedy and the Carillion collapse) which have all come to similar conclusions. Past evidences suggests that these are unlikely to lead to significant improvement. What is now required is a properly resourced regulatory authority for construction that steers the industry in the direction of best practice delivery.”

Mr Hursthouse added: “For almost 20 years Singaporean construction has benefited from its Building and Construction Authority – a government agency – which has created a more efficient industry in Singapore that prides itself on being able to consistently deliver projects safely and within time and budget.” 

SELECT, the campaigning body for Scotland’s electrical sector professionals, has joined other organisations across the country to celebrate SEC Group’s 25th anniversary.

Alan Wilson, acting managing director at SELECT, said: “Electrical contractors were among the first to agree, that specialist engineering required its own representational body and SELECT has been proud to be a part of SEC Group over the years.

“SEC Group aims to influence at the highest levels of government and it continues to do that by offering well-researched, sensible, pragmatic solutions which are of significant benefit to both businesses and their clients.”

SEC Group celebrates 25th anniversary with call for construction regulator

Lord O’Neill of Clackmannan, President of SEC Group

Lord O’Neill of Clackmannan, the President of SEC Group, said: “Specialist engineering contractors across the UK deliver design, installation, commissioning, maintenance, repair and replacement of complex structures and systems.

“Over 25 years, the group has worked tirelessly to inculcate a greater awareness amongst policy makers of the specialist engineering contribution to the life cycle of buildings and structures. In terms of the technologies involved that contribution is huge and will continue to grow.”

Jamie Hepburn, minister for business, fair work and skills in the Scottish Parliament, added: “Over the years, SEC Group has grown significantly and the businesses it represents now account for 35% of the construction output across the UK.

“In particular, I welcome the commitment SEC Group members have made to promoting and providing career and training opportunities for our young people through the protection and expansion of the apprenticeship programme.”

Share icon
Share this article: