Scottish pipeline forecast tool gains traction

Construction Pipeline Forecast Tool - screen grab in July 2023
The Construction Pipeline Forecast Tool now holds details of more than 1,700 projects, worth a total of £13.4bn-plus.

The web-based Construction Pipeline Forecast Tool, launched two years ago by the Scottish Futures Trust, is gaining traction.

The Construction Pipeline Forecast Tool provides the industry with greater clarity and understanding of future public sector construction projects to be delivered across Scotland. By providing this transparency of future construction workloads, the tool aims to help construction businesses plan for the future and maintain their investment in skills.

To date, more than 1,000 businesses are using the tool. It now holds details of more than 1,700 future infrastructure projects, submitted by 48 Scottish public bodies, with a value of more than £13.4bn. At its launch in July 2021, the tool held details of 1,150 projects worth £8.5bn in total. In July 2022, the tool held details of 1,660 projects worth a total of £11.6bn.

The tool provides a longer-term view on planned public sector investment up to 2028, with the majority of the forecast spending occurring before 2025. Users can view data by various criteria, including the chosen procurement route, the procuring authority, contract value and sector.

The types of construction projects include new build, refurbishments, and maintenance across a wide range of sectors including roads, health, education, housing and cultural and heritage.

Of the 1,700 projects, 54% are below £2m in value, emphasising the opportunities that exist for construction SMEs.

Market intelligence processes

Andrew Waring, BIM manager at architecture practice Holmes Miller, said: “We’ve been using it as a supplement to our market intelligence processes to allow us to target clients with upcoming projects with our services.

“Sometimes when the project gets to tender it can be too late to provide information management services, so having some information on upcoming projects allows us to begin those conversations with clients much earlier. It also helps us gauge the health of the public sector pipeline when business planning.”

The tool was created by the Scottish Futures Trust in partnership with the public sector and the construction industry in response to actions coming from the Construction Industry Recovery Plan, developed by the Construction Leadership Forum.

Paul Dodd, head of infrastructure technology and improving project delivery at Scottish Futures Trust, said: “We welcome the continuing commitment by public sector bodies to submit their pipeline data. We are seeing new use cases for the data to support both procurers and industry to provide greater insights in relation to planning, skills and collaboration.”

John Gunn, director at Balfour Beatty, said: “The Forecast Tool has provided valuable insight for our business as we plan ahead, and we welcome the continued management by the Scottish Futures Trust and the ongoing support by public bodies in providing their data.

“I would welcome public sector bodies whose projects are not included to engage with the Scottish Futures Trust and support this key initiative and for industry to register to be updated on new projects.”

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