Partner Content

Q&A: avoiding disputes, tackling materials shortages and managing risk

Image: Dreamstime/Nadya So
Womble Bond Dickinson (WBD) has launched its re:build Britain campaign to guide businesses through its covid-19 recovery strategy.  Construction sits firmly at the heart of the campaign with WBD’s construction and engineering team helping the UK construction industry to thrive over the next 12 months by avoiding common pitfalls and making the most of growth opportunities.

As part of the campaign, the firm is hosting a free online conference in March which will reflect on key challenges for the industry and offer invaluable legal insight. Simon Lewis, a partner at WBD with 30 years’ experience in the construction industry answers questions about the campaign.

Why has WBD launched a re:build Britain campaign?

We see 2021 as an opportunity to reset and rebuild – with the right guidance, and by taking the right action now, the UK construction industry will prosper. There are significant challenges for the construction sector in 2021 – but huge opportunities as well.

We have launched our re:build Britain campaign to help construction companies – including employers and contractors – to navigate the next year, and beyond, successfully.

There are major risks presented by delay and disruption, including materials shortages, contract disputes and staff shortages, and we are here to help you avoid or mitigate those risks.

Is it all bad news?

Not at all: there are huge opportunities as well – construction will be the beating heart of any economic recovery. Throughout our re:build Britain campaign we will offering grounded and practical advice to make sure your business is in the best possible shape to prosper.

We have launched the campaign with a dedicated hub on the WBD website and an easy-to-read guide to mitigate the effects of delay and disruption, which you can download here.

What are you hoping the campaign will achieve?

It’s vital that businesses prepare and protect themselves, so as part of the re:build Britain campaign, we have been looking at a range of topical areas and providing guidance on how best to overcome the challenges facing the industry, as well as how to be reactive to seize the best opportunities. This includes lessons learned during the pandemic, avoiding materials shortages due to Brexit, what steps employers and contractors can take to mitigate the widely-recognised skills gap, as well as issues around recruitment and the skills gap. We’re also looking at health and safety and the importance of good mental health on site, as well as how to access funding in the wake of the Grenfell tragedy. We know building and fire safety reforms are on their way, so we’re providing some guidance on this too.

Simon Lewis. Womble Bond Dickinson

"It’s vital that businesses prepare and protect themselves."

Simon Lewis

As part of the campaign, we’ve also touched upon record-keeping and making sure companies are as prepared as possible for construction disputes. We know that smaller contractors and suppliers are much more sensitive to the costs of formal litigation, particularly at a time when cashflow is ever more paramount.

Ultimately, it’s vital for the construction sector to reset, rebuild and adopt a more collaborative way of working.

What can construction companies do to find out more?

As part of the re:build Britain campaign, WBD is hosting a conference on March 11th between 10am and 11.30am to discuss some of the key challenges for the industry, but also the huge opportunities ahead too.

Speakers will discuss dealing with time and cost on construction projects, as well as the latest developments in building and site safety.

The event will also cover recent developments in building and health & safety legislation, current HSE enforcement trends and the importance of being prepared to manage critical incidents on site. Guests will also be able to ask questions on these topics via an interactive Q & A panel.

You can find out more and register your place via this link.

This article has been created by Construction Manager in partnership with Womble Bond Dickinson.

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