Construction and Scotland’s Economy


About the Inquiry

Cranes at Edinburgh St James

The Economy, Energy, Fair Work Committee agreed to hold an inquiry on the construction sector in Scotland. The remit of the inquiry was –

To understand the characteristics and challenges of Scotland’s construction sector to ensure the sector realises its full potential in contributing to a productive and inclusive Scottish economy. Specific areas of focus will include: economic impact; access to finance; skills; procurement; infrastructure investment; land asset management and innovation.

The Construction is a wide-ranging sector, where industry outputs vary from minor improvements to major capital projects across the realms of infrastructure, commercial, and residential. The sector is an important driver of the wider economy, due to the impact that construction investment has on other sectors. The sector helps to underpin Scotland’s economy via housing provision, developing transport infrastructure, contributing to the sustainability of the built environment, delivering infrastructure for health services, educational, and community activities across Scotland. Despite its role as a driver of economic activity, the sector is not without its challenges.

We focused on the following areas of priority within this Inquiry – 

  • Economic impact of the construction sector 
  • Access to finance 
  • Construction skills planning system 
  • The construction procurement model 
  • Meeting Scotland’s infrastructure needs 
  • Driving innovation
  • Land asset management 


The Committee issued a call for written views, which closed on Wednesday 13 February 2019.

Read the Call for Written Views

Read the written submissions

The Committee also launched an online survey targeted at SMEs. The survey responses were used to frame questions during the inquiry. 


The Committee held a scene-setting evidence session on 5 February 2019:

Official Report, 5 February 2019

We took evidence on land asset management on 19 February 2019:

Official Report, 19 February 2019

On 26 February we took evidence on procurement and skills:

Official Report, 26 February 2019

On 5 March we took evidence from construction apprentices. We also heard from further education organisations about their role in developing the construction workforce.

Official Report, 5 March 2019

The focus of our session on 12 March was Innovation:

Official Report, 12 March 2019

On 19 March we heard from trade associations and businesses on a range of themes:

Official Report, 19 March 2019

We had two panels on 26 March exploring infrastructure and access to finance:

Official Report, 26 March 2019

The Construction Scotland Industry Leadership Group gave evidence at our penultimate session on 2 April 2019:

Official Report, 2 April 2019

Our final session was with the Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Economy and Fair Work, Derek Mackay on 30 April:

Official Report, 30 April 2019

Visits and Events

On 18 February 2019, Committee members met with CCG and the Construction Scotland Innovation Centre (CSIC) and visited CCG's off-site manufacturing facility and CSIC's innovation factory. 

The Committee also held two focus groups with small and medium-sized construction businesses. 

As part of National Apprenticeship Week, Committee Members visited Edinburgh College on 4 March 2019 to talk to apprentices and staff about the construction opportunities for young people:

On 12 March 2019 we visited City Building Ltd:

The Scottish Parliament hosts primary and secondary class visits from schools across Scotland. Some of these classes were asked whether they would consider a career in construction. The following note lists the results. 


Following his appearance before the Committee on 30 April 2019, the Cabinet Secretary wrote to provide supplementary information.

The Committee received the following letter from NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde after the Committee agreed its report.


The Committee published its report, Under Construction: Building the future of the sector in Scotland on 2 July 2019.

The Scottish Government responded on 27 August 2019.

CITB Scotland wrote to the Committee on 17 September 2019 to inform it of its recently published three year business plan for Scotland which outlines how CITB intend to support employers.

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