With the Green Deal staggering through another round of media spotlighting, opinions are still divided on whether its promises can live up to reality.
The claim that the Deal will produce hundreds of thousands of new construction jobs has faced industry criticism from SMEs and their representatives, who fear that the new skills required to safely install retrofitted energy equipment will not be ready in time for the launch of the scheme.
The Deal is supposed to come into full effect in April 2012, when a “Green Bank” created by the government will begin lending money to support green construction projects. SMEs have voiced fears that construction health and safety will suffer as UK building contractors struggle to roll out new working practice.
Will the CSCS Card Scheme Reflect the Green Deal?
The CSCS card scheme will have no direct provision for reflecting the skills required for green construction jobs until Construction NVQs in the requisite trades have included green construction and retrofitting in their modules. The UK construction industry is concerned that there will be no way of tracking the competency of individuals in green building or retrofitting areas while the slack is taken up by the NVQ.
UK construction jobs will also suffer, should the work done under Green Deal guidelines fall short of proper standards of competence and health and safety. And there has been a general outpouring of concern voiced over the possibility that high street end users will team up with large contractors to control the work.
Small UK Construction Firms and the Green Deal
The government recently opened a series of Green Deal workshops aimed exclusively at small UK construction firms. The idea is to offer smaller contractors an entry point into the Green Deal scheme, ensuring that they have the wherewithal and know how to take advantage.
The Green Deal workshops commence this month with a meeting on June 16. Small building firms have been invited to voice their concerns in the presence of civil servants, who will endeavour to show those firms how they could be included in Green Deal retrofitting projects.
First Signs of Industry Optimism – the Green Deal and New UK Construction Jobs
Despite the doom and gloom widely voiced by smaller building contractors in the UK, the Green Deal is being approached with cautious optimism by leading industry figures. Alun Pearson, the new head of the ECA, has seized the opportunity to rally electrical contractors with visions of the “wealth of business opportunities” that the Deal should bring them. As UK construction jobs continue to teeter on the uncertain ground left by a long recession, such optimism is very welcome.
The success of the Green Deal is dependent on the involvement of the people who are going to make it happen. It’s still not clear whether the government’s enthusiasm to be seen to be doing something about making green construction profitable has jumped the gun on industry readiness.