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Last updateThu, 16 Jun 2022 8am

There’s a PR offensive going on, despite continuing woes

Construction National blog logoThere is still little to cheer in the housing sector, with both RICS and the NHBC issuing figures in the past week on third quarter statistics. The NHBC reported a fall in registrations for the quarter from last year in both the private and public sectors. The public sector saw a fall of only 5% from last year, but with the sector flat on its back there is little left to cut. The private sector had been a little more positive, but that optimism has evaporated.

The RICS, too, reported a continuing decline in both private and public sectors, with a net 11% of surveyors reporting a decline in public-sector workload over the period compared to 4% in the private sector.

Both organisations are turning forlorn faces to the Government to deliver on its much-vaunted stimulus packages for a market that is continuing to outstrip demand at an ever-faster pace. A quick visit to the DCLG website revealed a story on unlocking funding to help self-build projects – all £1.1m of it for 20 plots. That's it, then – it's all going to be alright.

Meanwhile, Eric Pickles went for a curry.

Away from housing, there was a set-back for the renewable energy building sector with the announcement by Centrica it has pulled planning applications for two biomass plants in Cumbria and Lincolnshire. The company cites as its reasons the Government's ambivalence towards dedicated biomass.

In a statement it said: "While the Government has declared its support for biomass as part of the UK's future energy mix, recent clarification on the regulatory framework relating to dedicated biomass plants indicates a preference for co-firing and coal conversion to biomass."

So the gas guzzlers in the Tory party have shot down another renewables initiative – and with it, co-incidentally, another few dozen jobs in the construction industry.

Meanwhile, the construction industry is involved in something of a charm offensive. On November 9 and 10 nearly 100 building sites will be going public to show off the industry as both an attractive career path and an important economic generator, both locally and nationally. The scheme is a joint venture between ConstructionSkills, UK Contractors Group, Chartered Institute of Building and the Considerate Constructors' Scheme.

Ahead of it, the CCS has commissioned Building magazine to carry out a survey of its readers on perceptions of the industry. There is an opportunity for the industry to put itself in the public spotlight, particularly in the wake of the Olympic build triumph. Wolf whistles and 'anal cleavage' are definitely off the list of sights on site.

Chris Stokes