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Building an International Language of Construction

ConstructionSkills, the Sector Skills Council for construction is working with partner’s worldwide to identify and benchmark international best practice for installers, site supervisors and managers, to help UK employees develop the international skills needed for modern off-site methods of construction and to support the integration of migrant workers in the UK.

The benchmarking project seeks to promote both mutual recognition of skills worldwide and to establish a forum in which best practice can be shared internationally.

Skills development consultancy Cambridge Professional Development (CamProf) will work with the International Forum for Construction Occupational Standards (IFCOS), an international group of experts in construction skills, to identify the impact of modern methods of construction, such as, offsite manufacturing, production and fabrication, modular construction, pre-fabrication, pre-assembly and standardisation.

IFCOS was set up by the participants of an earlier benchmarking project in 2005, which identified the need to address international labour mobility.

When completed the project will improve the UK National Occupational Standards. National Occupational Standards specify the standards of performance that staff are expected to achieve in their work and the knowledge and skills they need to perform effectively. They have been agreed by employers and trade unions and approved by the United Kingdom Co-ordination Group. The standards form the basis of National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs) and Scottish Vocational Qualifications (SVQs).

David Cracknell of ConstructionSkills said, “This project will give the construction industry a common language worldwide. The industry is evolving fast; to keep up with developments and demands we must share good practice. By recognizing and agreeing universal standards of working we improve skilled worker opportunities and give employers a bigger, better qualified, pool of recruits to choose from, raising standards.”

Nigel Lloyd, Principal at CamProf said “There is much to learn from other countries’ experience in off-site work, we can learn from their experiences and vice-versa. This project gives us the platform to begin to do just that. There are approximately 300,000 people working in the UK’s traditional construction crafts and a further 6,000 installers. Standardising international qualifications and sharing best practice will improve their business opportunities.”

In October the IFCOS network experts will meet for a working session to discuss standards and the best ways of working together internationally. The benchmarking process will conclude before the end of the year and the results will be shared with the IFCOS network and a final report submitted to the project’s steering group, the Built Environment Skills Alliance. The Alliance is a range of sector skills councils, standards setting bodies, regulatory authorities and others who will promote and encourage joint working and a partnership approach where appropriate.

The IFCOS network currently includes members from Australia, Belgium, Canada, Estonia, New Zealand, Romania, and the United Kingdom. To learn more about the network or to join contact Nigel Lloyd on + (44) (0)845 3455 1999/299, mobile +(44) 7831 619669 or email

For further details read the full press release

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