At a time when progress in the Scottish construction industry is being hampered by global materials shortages, one of the sector’s most influential bodies is advocating a radical re-think of the supply chain as a catalyst for a more sustainable economy.

The Scottish Construction Leadership Forum (CLF), working with the Construction Scotland Innovation Centre, is unveiling a comprehensive information initiative designed to help the industry redirect itself away from dependence on imports and support a green recovery.

Ivan McKee, Minister for Business, Trade, Tourism and Enterprise and Chair of the Construction Leadership Forum (CLF), said “Developing home grown supply chains improves resilience, supports net zero and helps raise the economic benefits for Scotland. We have a good track record here of standing up local supply chains in PPE and other commodities.

“I am pleased to have recently taken over the chair of the CLF and look forward to working with the sector on this and other key issues. It’s good to see our Recovery Plan creating opportunities to share good practice and providing practical help for businesses.”

Roughly 60% of materials used in UK construction projects is imported from the EU and, with some supplies such as softwood timber for new-build housing, that figure rises to 90%. Items such as cement, steel, aggregates and plastics are also difficult to obtain.

As an integral part of its Recovery Plan, the CLF is now proposing that the industry in Scotland needs to look to a longer-term transformation to help build a stronger and greener economic future.

To indicate a pathway towards that goal, it is releasing a series of best practice case studies which show how industry can contribute more to local economies and play its part in supporting local suppliers.

Peter Reekie, chief executive of the Scottish Futures Trust and chair of the Executive Group of the CLF, said: “In an interconnected world, we won’t ever be completely self-sufficient, but it is time we started to think about it.

“One of the most effective ways of moving towards Net Zero carbon is to use local resources and recycled materials, and our case studies showcase some fantastic stories about Scottish companies and entrepreneurs who have really looked at how to make a difference.

“We hope that by raising the profile of these successful cases, we will inspire other businesses in Scotland to think more locally, and to consider the impact they could have on carbon reduction, supply chain issues and employment.

“These illustrative examples can be viewed as signposts on the road to the long-term goal of building a productive, profitable, low-carbon and socially responsible construction industry.

“I would like to thank everyone who produced the case studies and, of course, the forward-thinking stakeholders in each project which made them come to life.”

The solutions the CLF highlights include projects such as the community-led East Whins Eco-village near Forres, the NHS Louisa Jordan Hospital in Glasgow and the University of Glasgow Campus.

Innovative local supply solutions include companies making bricks and concrete from construction industry waste products and a company which manufactures insulation panels from locally grown industrial hemp.

The release of the case studies is the latest initiative by the CLF in its plans to help create by 2022 a responsible industry which offers quality jobs and fair work to a highly skilled and diverse workforce and a quality and life-time value product to its customers.