Social Value - Underpinning our future legacy

10 min read

The construction industry is one of the largest employers in the UK and contributes 7% of our total GDP every year. That money not only boosts our economic productivity; the infrastructure it pays for unlocks further growth across the country. 

Driven by political uncertainty and social changes, the sector is increasingly reflecting on how it can ensure that all this money – £90bn a year – is being spent in a way that best benefits the local communities in which we work. 

This new research report from Mace outlines why we think the concept of ‘social value’ is so important to the future of the industry – and why it is key to ensuring we can successfully deliver the UK’s ambitious infrastructure and construction pipeline. 

It’s clear that construction is facing a number of big challenges in the short to medium term: a skills shortage, limited diversity and productivity stagnation. Making sure that social value is central to everything we do would help to solve these problems – as well as providing huge additional benefits to the economy and society. 

In a similar way to the sustainability or equality movement, social value is a concept which has rapidly climbed its way up the corporate agenda; from a niche topic to a core value which is being discussed at board level in almost every sector. 

However, there is a real risk that the construction sector is seen to be dragging its feet. Without a collective effort to address this emerging issue we believe the UK could face real delivery problems – and the legacy and perception of the construction industry could be permanently damaged. 

The report explores how social value is already being measured and leveraged on some of the UK’s largest projects and programmes. We outline a series of measures that we think need to be introduced by developers, infrastructure owners and construction companies to prioritise the delivery of social value. 

This is an ‘adapt or die’ moment. In less than five years, social value needs to be – and almost certainly will be – front and centre in every major procurement process in the industry. Will you be ahead of the competition – or falling behind?

I want a better perspective on