The Government sets out its proposals to deliver £600billion-worth of projects for construction, including £44billion of housing, in the next decade in the Construction Sector Deal.
The Government has produced a Policy Paper on construction that it says will deliver £600billion-worth of infrastructure improvements over the next decade, including £44billion-worth of new homes.
Called the Construction Sector Deal, it was published on 5 July – six months late and over budget, which seems appropriate for the sector. It has, unsurprisingly, received general support from the industry.
Among the questions being asked about its proposals are where the labour and materials are going to come from to deliver such an ambitious programme. According to property agent Knight Frank in its annual Housebuilding report, 86% of housebuilders believe the Government’s targets are completely unachievable and 99% of respondents did not think it would be possible to build 300,000 additional homes each year by 2022. The respondents included more than 100 developers accounting for almost 75% of all newly-built homes across the country each year.
In the Construction Sector Deal the Government says it believes increased efficiencies and more apprentices will make its targets achievable.
The Construction Sector Deal builds on Construction 2025, published by the Government and the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) in 2013.
The new Policy Paper sets out an ambitious partnership between the industry and the government, using nearly half-a-billion pounds of tax-payers' money. The aim is to transform the sector’s productivity through innovative technologies and a more highly skilled workforce.
A forword to the document jointly signed by Greg Clark, Secretary of State for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, and Andrew Wolstenholme OBE, Co-Chair of the CLC, says: “We are in the early days of one of the greatest construction programmes in our history, from delivering more homes that people can afford, in the places they want to live, to major infrastructure projects such as Crossrail and the third runway at Heathrow. This infrastructure pipeline represents more than £600billion over the next decade, including at least £44billion for housing.
"The pace of this change, and the size of this opportunity demands a construction sector that is the best in the world.”
The Paper says its proposals will deliver:
- Better-performing buildings that are built more quickly and at lower cost
- Lower energy use and cheaper bills from homes and workplaces
- Better jobs, including an increase to 25,000 apprenticeships a year by 2020
- Better value for taxpayers and investors from the £600billion infrastructure and construction pipeline
- and A globally-competitive sector that exports more, targeting the $2.5trillion global infrastructure market.
The Paper proposes a framework that it says will produce:
- a 33% reduction in the cost of construction and the whole life cost of assets
- a 50% reduction in the time taken from inception to completion of new build
- a 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in the built environment, supporting the Industrial Strategy’s Clean Growth Grand Challenge
- and a 50% reduction in the trade gap between total exports and total imports of construction products and materials.
These goals, it says, will be met by focusing on strategic areas:
- Digital techniques deployed at all phases of design to deliver better, more certain results during the construction and operation of buildings
- Clients, design teams, construction teams and the supply chain working more closely together to improve safety, quality and productivity during construction
- Optimisation of performance during the life of the building and a better ability to upgrade and ultimately dismantle and recycle buildings
- Introduction of offsite manufacturing technologies that will help to minimise the wastage, inefficiencies and delays that affect onsite construction, and enable production to happen in parallel with site preparation – speeding up construction and reducing disruption
- A shift in focus from the costs of construction to the costs of a building across its life cycle, particularly its use of energy.
The National Federation of Builders (NFB) sees "ambition" in the Paper. Richard Beresford, chief executive, says: “This is a deal that recognizes all parts of the construction industry and how, alongside the Government, it can work together to deliver growth and a positive global reputation for UK PLC.”
The Mineral Products Association, which represents primary mineral producers, has also welcomed the Deal. Chief Executive Nigel Jackson says: “The mineral products industry is highly productive and looks forward to helping to make a success of the Construction Sector Deal. We also welcome the recognition of the key supply chain value of the minerals products industry and look forward to working with Government to strengthen it.”
Julia Evans, Chief Executive of BSRIA (Building Services Research & Information Association) says: “BSRIA welcomes this announcement as part of government’s mission to halve the energy use of new buildings by 2030 through developing innovative energy and low carbon technologies to drive lower cost and high quality construction techniques. BSRIA has said time and time again that more quality housing is needed throughout the length and breadth of the UK.
"And reducing the cost of retrofitting existing buildings to make them more efficient and more sustainable is at the heart of BSRIA’s continuing strategy. Indeed, BSRIA and its members lead the way in delivering quality housing. We now look to government to make good on its promise. BSRIA members stand ready."