Government unveil details of £420m construction sector deal

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In further details released by the government, the construction sector deal identifies a vision to build new homes faster and a commitment to using digital technologies

The government’s vision is a construction sector that can build new homes in weeks, or even days, instead of months; where building can be put up at just a third of their current costs; and where all new homes are affordable and energy efficient.

At the core of the strategy is a pledge to exploit digital technologies, such as building information modelling (BIM) and offsite manufacturing techniques.

The Construction Sector Deal is the government’s reaction to the 2016 Farmer Review, which emphasised the UK construction’s productivity shortfalls, the unpredictability of future work and failed collaboration across the sector. It concluded that transforming the industry would require shared leadership by the industry, its clients and the government.

The Sector Deal sets out three strategic priorities:

  • Digital techniques deployed at all phases of design will deliver better, more certain results during the construction and operation of buildings. Clients, design teams, construction teams and the supply chain working in unison will improve safety, quality and productivity during construction, optimise performance during the life of the building and better our ability to upgrade and ultimately dismantle and recycle buildings.
  • Offsite manufacturing techniques are encouraged to reduce wastage, inefficiencies and delays that affect onsite construction.
  • Whole life asset performance will shift focus from the costs of construction to the buildings life cycle costing, particularly its use of energy. The government is promising that it will “ensure that our modern Industrial Strategy and our significant investments in housing and infrastructure support this change and innovation”.

The deal, which will establish a new partnership between the government and the construction sector, will be formally announced by business and energy Secretary Greg Clark, in a speech to the Northern Powerhouse Summit in Newcastle this afternoon.

Andrew Wolstenholme, Co-Chair of the Construction Leadership Council said: “We are an industry that must be at the forefront of the UK’s drive for future growth and prosperity – and I’m confident that this deal will help to achieve that.”

Build UK chief executive Suzannah Nichol said: “Today’s announcement sets out a bright vision for the future of UK construction along with a plan that the industry can, and should, all get behind.”

The Civil Engineering Contractors Association warned that “words must be met with action”.

1 COMMENT

  1. This this news has been long awaited. The housebuilding sector in the UK had an estimated £24bn of economic output in 2015 (HBF/NLP, 2014 base data), of which the timber frame manufacturers and housebuilders contributed £6.6bn or 27.4% of the total. Offsite manufactured structural timber system contributes circa 5% of all construction GDP and are a key contributor to the circa 750,000 employed in the construction supply chain. In comparison, construction provides more jobs than aerospace – 268,000; automotive – 247,000; chemicals and pharmaceuticals – 658,000.

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