Just transition for the built environment and construction sector: a discussion paper

This discussion paper is intended to support engagement on a just transition for the built environment and construction sector. Building on this engagement, a draft targeted action plan and route map (late 23/24) will outline the key steps to delivering a fair transition for the sector.

Just Transition Plan Process – What are we doing and why?

Co-design is at the heart of just transition policy making.[7] Throughout the summer and into early autumn of 2023, we want to hear from those who work in the construction industry, as well as particular groups who are most likely to be affected by changes to our buildings. By seeking these lived experiences, we can begin to build a picture of what a just transition for the built environment and construction sector looks like and what actions will be required to make this happen.

This paper is intended to be a springboard for such conversations. We want to encourage discussion, challenge and the development of effective solutions. We know that there are still gaps in our evidence, our approach and priorities. Our hope is that our engagement will surface, or confirm these, so that they can be built upon.

As part of the engagement process, we will also regularly take stock of those we have not yet heard from and shape our engagement accordingly to explore what the transition means for as many different groups from as many different areas as possible.

As we develop a draft plan for public consultation, we will use our engagement to test approaches, develop and refine content, develop actions and more fully understand potential effects. The draft plan will aim to sequence actions, and identify who is responsible for them (for example, national and local governments, businesses, workers, communities and individuals).

This discussion paper is not only intended for use by the Scottish Government in its engagement – we ask that interested partners use it to facilitate their own conversations and input to the Just Transition team via the following mailbox: BECJTP@gov.scot

Summary of Our Targets in the Built Environment and Construction

The Built Environment and Construction Just Transition Plan will build on our existing work. For example, the Construction Accord established a shared vision for the construction industry and the public sector, including key principles such as fair work, diversity and inclusion. The concept of a Construction Accord was a recommendation of the Infrastructure Commission for Scotland and aligns with the priorities set by National Strategy for Economic Transformation (NSET) to maximise the opportunities of the next decade and achieve Scottish Government's vision of a wellbeing economy.

The Construction Accord identified the following priority work areas:

  • Reforming construction procurement practices and supply chain management.
  • Developing and publishing transparent forecast pipelines of construction Investment.
  • Increasing the capacity, capability, and diversity of the workforce with a focus on future skills and industry attractiveness.
  • Creating conditions for everyone in the sector to have a safe and rewarding career with high quality and fair work with reference to the Fair Work Convention Construction Report.
  • Creating a sustainable quality culture and behaviours.
  • Increasing the take up of digital technology with a focus on SMEs.
  • Increase the take-up of modern methods of construction and optimise Scotland's place in that emerging market.
  • Driving a just transition to being net zero in embodied carbon, industry operations and over asset life cycles.
  • Maximising opportunities for shortened and resilient supply chains.
  • Collating usable, high-quality and meaningful data about the Scottish construction sector.

Further context can be found in the annex to this paper. The additional value of the Built Environment and Construction Just Transition Plan will be to identify the interventions necessary to empower all parts of society to play their part in the net zero transition.


Email: justtransition@gov.scot

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