Government launches playbook to boost construction productivity

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Construction Playbook

The new Construction Playbook details how government and industry can better work together to deliver public sector works in a more modern and efficient way

In 2018, public sector works contributed some £117bn to the UK economy, as well as supporting over two million jobs.

The Construction Playbook, launched today (8 December), outlines what government expects from these works, from new roads and railway lines to schools, hospitals and prisons.

The Playbook also outlines the key role the construction sector will play in both the UK’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic and work to bring greenhouse gas emissions down to net zero by 2050.

Measures include:

  • Providing greater certainty to the industry through long term plans for key programmes. This will include longer-term contracting across a range of areas which will give industry the certainty required to invest in new technologies, delivering improved productivity and efficiency savings
  • Incentivising industry to innovate by focusing on the output of what we want a project to achieve, rather than micromanaging how it is done
  • Modernising construction by standardising designs and parts, as well as embedding digital technologies including the UK Building Information Management Framework
  • Greater focus on building positive relationships with robust contract management between project leads and industry
  • Investing more in training and apprenticeships, driving forward innovation in construction, boost productivity and focus on value for money in public sector developments

Learning lessons from the Grenfell Tower tragedy, the Construction Playbook also makes it clear that the construction sector must put safety at the heart of everything it does.

Andy Mitchell, the CEO of Tideway and co-chair of Construction Leadership Council, said: “The government can influence the whole direction that our sector takes with the way it buys new public buildings and infrastructure.

“The Construction Playbook commits us all to drive positive change with better, long-term relationships and more efficient ways of working.

“The CLC will give its support to engage the industry to play its part in embedding the Playbook recommendations across our sector.”

Jaimie Johnston, director, Bryden Wood: “Modern methods of construction underpin the Playbook. The smart combination of offsite manufacturing and new onsite construction techniques means we can finally leave behind the crowded, dirty and dangerous construction site, and build more efficiently, more quickly and more sustainably.

“The Playbook signals a wholesale shift in the way public buildings should be procured, designed and built, and looks ahead to a new, closely integrated design, construction and manufacturing industry.

“This will give a massive – and very timely – boost of energy, productivity and innovation to UK manufacturing and construction. Those resistant to modernisation should be left by the wayside, but for those who can see the potential and are willing to adapt, the opportunity is enormous.”

‘The Playbook should be welcomed as a game-changer’

Jon Kelly, WSP strategic growth director, said: “Today’s launch of the Construction Playbook confirms the shared ambition between our industry and government to leverage the power of construction as a catalyst for change and progress, both in terms of process and outcomes.

“By promoting modern methods of construction and ensuring their adoption in public procurement becomes the norm, government gives the private sector the confidence to continue investing in these innovative solutions and redouble its efforts to deliver measurable social value, in line with the announced framework.

“On the whole, the Construction Playbook should be welcomed as a game-changer in the way public and private sector collaborate, as illustrated by the close collaboration over months which led to its publication today.”

Read the Playbook in full here.

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