Social economy

Building a sustainable legacy through social impact

Incorporating social value into construction projects offers advantages beyond the function of the construction project providing economic value to communities and stakeholders involved, writes Chris Boyle, Framework Director at McLaughlin & Harvey.

It plays a pivotal role in enhancing the sustainability and success of the projects themselves.

Social value in construction through the use of the SCAPE construction framework and the merits of adopting a comprehensive perspective when approaching infrastructure projects enables these projects to yield outcomes that surpass mere monetary value.

By harnessing the full potential of social value and acknowledging the intricate interplay between construction, society, and the environment, contractors can elevate social value to a fundamental facet of modern construction practices.

Established to modernise and improve the way public sector construction projects are procured and delivered, the SCAPE construction framework presents a strategic approach that delivers exceptional value across every aspect of construction. At its core, the framework is committed to fostering local economic growth and generating community benefits. By implementing essential projects at the utmost level of quality, the framework also focuses on a crucial principle: ensuring that the financial resources allocated to these projects remain within the local economy.

One of the standout features of the SCAPE framework is its emphasis on creating a positive impact on the communities where projects are executed. This is not solely about completing projects efficiently; it is about maximising the positive ripple effects within the local area. By sourcing materials, services, and expertise from local businesses, the framework bolsters economic growth and empowers nearby businesses, social enterprises, and people.

Furthermore, the SCAPE framework prioritises a strong connection with the local community. This involves engaging with the local community, understanding their needs, and tailoring projects to align with their aspirations. By integrating local insights and perspectives, the framework ensures that projects are not just built, but are woven into the fabric of the community, contributing to its overall wellbeing.

King’s Buildings Nucleus, The University of Edinburgh.

A distinctive hallmark of this approach is its unwavering commitment to fairness and inclusivity. Recognising the significance of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) within the local economy, the framework is dedicated to supporting these businesses. This involves not only fair payment terms but also active engagement and investment in local SMEs, helping them thrive.

In essence, the SCAPE framework represents a holistic strategy that exceeds the traditional metrics of time, cost, and quality. It encapsulates a comprehensive vision that integrates economic growth, community enhancement, and equitable engagement. By channelling resources back into the local economy, collaborating closely with the community, and ensuring fairness for all stakeholders, the framework sets a commendable standard for the construction industry.

The SCAPE framework uses the national Themes, Outcomes and Measures (TOMs) framework to measure and report on social value outcomes. This emphasis on social value outcomes as a key component of overall project success reinforces the importance placed on the work by SCAPE, us, and our clients.

As an active partner within the SCAPE Scotland and Northern Ireland construction frameworks, McLaughlin & Harvey’s commitment to social value is integral to its operations and is at the heart of our approach to these projects. To date, we have completed 10 projects with five more currently on-site. These include projects in healthcare, higher education, and schools, to name a few.

Woodland View School, East Dunbartonshire Council.

Community and economic empowerment

Our dedication to social value extends to communities and the broader economic landscape of our project areas. We prioritise utilising local subcontractors who hire local talent, thereby reinvesting in regional economies. This dual approach generates both individual economic activity and community growth.

Engaging with locally based suppliers for building materials contributes to bolstering local economies, ensuring the benefit remains within the communities we work in.

Support for social enterprises

McLaughlin & Harvey commits to spending 0.2 per cent of the contract value on social enterprises. This allocation supports organisations engaged in community-centric or charitable work. An exemplar of this commitment is our partnership with a social enterprise that employs disabled and vulnerable individuals in high-quality manufacturing of bespoke doors and furniture.

Our efforts extend beyond economic support to charitable initiatives. For example, we collaborate with organisations that aid women’s reintegration into the workforce after incarceration and champion the fight against modern slavery. The scope of our social enterprise engagement showcases our multifaceted approach to social value.

Recently, in collaboration with students at Abertay University, we created an interactive game using Revit models to aid children with additional support needs (ASN) transition to a newly built school. Additionally, we organise regular visits to our construction sites for school children, fostering educational and experiential engagement.

By intricately weaving social enhancement into our SCAPE projects, we ensure our footprint leaves behind a positive community impact while driving economic growth and inclusivity.

For more information about McLaughlin & Harvey or to discuss a project, visit:

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