Simon Rowland of law firm Womble Bond Dickinson, looks at the challenges and opportunities for the construction industry in 2022.


MMC will remain high on the agenda, with continued investment and learnings by the industry. There will be further discussions around how to incentivise increased use of MMC, part of which will be driven also by the need to standardise MMC so it is more easily and more widely adoptable.

Materials and labour and skills shortages are here to stay for the immediate future. It will take time for the dust to settle on materials shortages, for the industry to work out how to increase efficiencies and reduce waste, and to find new or alternative supply chains or materials.

For labour and skills shortages, it will take time for training to take place to increase the number of HGV drivers, for apprentices to become qualified, and for the industry to attract younger talent.

While the conversations around these issues will continue, positive steps are being taken – but the pace of change will depend on how quickly we learn from each other around what works (or doesn't work), and how we share those learnings.

Net zero will increasingly be at the forefront of business' minds, not just in the construction industry but across the board. Businesses which are not pure construction businesses will increasingly look to the construction industry to help them meet their Net Zero objectives. The conversation will also widen from Net Zero to ESG (Environment, Social, and Governance).

Finally, we will be hearing a lot more about building safety, as the Building Safety Bill is likely to be given Royal Assent next year, the new Residential Property Developer Tax will apply from April 2022, and outcomes from the Grenfell Inquiry start to filter through. These will bring significant changes for the construction industry and difficult but necessary conversations will flow from these.

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All of the above are interdependent – building safety and Net Zero are all relevant to ESG. ESG will include looking at how our workforce is made up, for example from a diversity and inclusion perspective and the more diverse and inclusive the industry is, the more likely it is to attract young workers and new talent. This in turn will help address the skills and labour shortage. Skills and labour are needed to help physically deliver materials, to innovate solutions around materials shortages, and to deliver on MMC. MMC can then help businesses deliver on ESG through less waste, lower embodied carbon processes, and increased safety.

While we know the last couple of years in the construction industry have been tough, we can see the virtuous circle here, and a lot of potential for the year to come.

For more information on Womble Bond Dickinson’s rebuild Britain campaign, visit


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