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New data tool to transform Scotland’s construction industry welcomed by minister
Built Environment

New data tool to transform Scotland’s construction industry welcomed by minister 

A “revolutionary” new data dashboard could lead to greater openness, transparency and information exchange in Scotland’s construction industry.

Industry collaboration body the Scottish Construction Leadership Forum (CLF) launched the online tool in a bid to benefit the sector by collecting and disseminating data to help companies and individuals to make better-informed business decisions.

Its creators say it will have an immediate impact for businesses and will allow them to extract value from their data.

Companies and organisations can view up-to-date information from trusted sources such as the Scottish Government and the Office for National Statistics.

It will hold a huge cache of statistical knowledge on subjects as diverse as gross domestic product, gross value added, labour productivity, employment figures, the gender balance and health and safety. It is expected that the site will be of particular benefit to small and medium sized firms, for whom accessing such sources currently can be time-consuming and costly.

This shared understanding of the issues facing the sector will help CLF to define and target its strategic actions for as well as measuring the impact of delivery.

The Scottish Government’s business minister Ivan McKee has welcomed the construction industry’s “increased use of digital technology and data”.

He said the move could help boost productivity in line with the new national plan to transform the economy.

He added: “The introduction of this dashboard by the CLF is a big step towards providing the industry with the right tools it needs to make informed business decisions.

“It will significantly improve business insight and be of real benefit to smaller or medium sized businesses which may not have the resources to obtain this data by themselves. Using the dashboard we can also monitor the sector’s progress in improving key areas like health and safe working.”

Douglas Morrison, impact director at Built Environment – Smarter Transformation (BE-ST) and part of the CLF digital strategy steering group, said: “This is a big step in the right direction in giving people in the construction industry in Scotland the dynamic information tools they need for meaningful decision-making.

“Instead of having to input data in real time and run models, all the data which businesses might need is available instantly, and other datasets can be added for comparisons. It will greatly level the playing field for SMEs, which may not have the resources of bigger organisations.

“The dashboard, produced in partnership with Bellrock Technology, can support users to enhance forecasting, allowing for forward planning and realistic budgeting. The benefits of having instant access to this wealth of information will be enormous. The dashboard will also identify what areas we can improve on and provide actionable insight to drive transformation and positive change for the sector.”

Adam Brown, chief executive of Bellrock Technology, said: “We are very pleased to be partnering with the CLF and anticipate that this collaboration will be of real, practical value to organisations and commercial companies within the industry.”

Andrew Richards, managing director of Glenesk Homes and strategic director at Safedem, said: “During lockdown there was a severe lack of reliable data from which to form recovery plans. This dashboard excellently maps out and conveys so much of what the industry, and Scottish Government, needs to know to better inform all future decision-making processes.”

The data contained in the dashboard will be updated as the sources are, and users will be able to link to the microsite from the CLF, BE-ST, and other websites.

The forum, a collaboration between Construction Scotland and the Scottish Government, was established in March 2019 to develop and implement a recovery plan of actions aligned with government policies and the Construction Scotland Industry strategy.

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