June 18, 2024

B.U.I.L.D. the way toward a future construction sector

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An imaginative programme to accelerate transformation in the construction industry, increase the capacity of the construction industry to deliver infrastructure and support the growth of emerging contractors was launched by the Deputy Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure  Bernice Swarts and the Construction Industry Development Board (cidb).

“The B.U.I.L.D. Programme is a major step forward to create development opportunities for people and enterprises in the construction sector and to enable emerging contractors to grow their businesses,” says Swarts. “Investment in infrastructure is a prominent feature of our economy as we expand services to the people. B.U.I.L.D. will ensure social development goals are achieved through construction tenders issued by government. It will contribute meaningfully to achieve national priorities such as skills development, enterprise development, job creation and a healthier and safer construction sector.”

B.U.I.L.D. gives the green light to national departments and public entities to build social development goals into infrastructure projects above R20 million, when calling for tenders.

It also creates a national fund for implementation of development initiatives to grow delivery capacity in construction. It determines that contractors awarded projects over R20 million in value will have to contribute at least 5% of the project value toward developing people and enterprises, says Bongani Dladla, CEO of the cidb.

“Through this fund, we are uplifting the entire construction industry through investments in skills development and the wider participation of emerging contractors, including women and the youth,” he adds. The cidb is already supporting emerging enterprises including women-owned contractors to obtain certification to construction management systems, to run sustainable businesses. And to be recognised to an industry-wide competence standard.

Details of the programme were published in a Government Gazette in 2020 and B.U.I.L.D. has gradually been phased in at various levels of government and the private sector. The cidb, a public entity with the mandate to promote improved performance in construction, oversees the programme and manages the B.U.I.L.D Fund.

The B.U.I.L.D programme determines that public sector entities that implement construction projects must include developmental goals to the deliverables defined in the tenders. Contractors are required to include these goals in the plans and pricing when they submit their tender bids.

Swarts says B.U.I.L.D. will help rebuild the construction sector in an inclusive manner and ensure higher levels of participation by emerging contractors into the major projects that flow from the government’s investments in infrastructure. It provides a clear framework for the private sector to ensure their participation in infrastructure projects contribute to the broader national priorities. The cidb already supports emerging enterprises who want to participate in future infrastructure projects, and B.U.I.L.D. will further facilitate this process.

“Through B.U.I.L.D we are addressing some of the fundamental stumbling blocks that inhibit the meaningful participation of small and emerging entrepreneurs. Their potential is often stifled by lack of access to finance and credit as well a shortage of opportunities for vocational and management training,” says Dladla. The government has a primary role to remove these obstacles through its procurement processes and through dedicated delivery programmes designed to support the participation of emerging contractors.

The programme sets prescribed minimum standards for project contributions to social development and introduces standard measurements of reporting and accountability for the public and private sector clients.

The cidb will collect the individual project contributions toward the B.U.I.L.D. Fund and act as the implementing agency for the allocation of money to the development initiatives that will be supported. Clients must register their contracts and report their contributions to the fund through the cidb’s Register of Projects.

The deputy minister says the government is investing highly in infrastructure. Construction must be the leading contributor to job creation and skills development as the economy grows. “Through the B.U.I.L.D. programme we will further strengthen the growth of a world-class construction sector that will play a vital role in infrastructure provision in future,” she adds.

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