Last edited 27 Mar 2013

What's changed since 2010

The construction industry is not one that stands still for very long, but are we now in a period of unprecedented change? The double whammy of a new coalition government combined with prolonged austerity is having a profound impact, the consequences of which have yet to be properly understood.

So what has changed since the coalition government came into power in May 2010, just two years ago? Here are a few of the headlines:

  1. The Welsh building regulations have been devolved.
  2. The Office of Government Commerce (OGC) has been absorbed into the Cabinet Office.
  3. Hundreds of pages of OGC guidance have been archived.
  4. The GC Works contracts are no longer being updated.
  5. NEC contracts have been adopted in the public sector.
  6. The Localism Act has been introduced.
  7. The National Planning Policy Framework has been introduced.
  8. Regional planning has been abolished and neighbourhood planning introduced.
  9. The Government Construction Board has been created, a Government Construction Adviser appointed - and replaced.
  10. The Government Construction Strategy has been published - and revised.
  11. The Common Minimum Standards have been revised.
  12. Building Information Modelling (BIM) is being rolled out across the public sector.
  13. The Private Finance Initiative has been heavily criticised by the National Audit Office and a House of Commons Treasury Select Committee.
  14. Building Schools for the Future has been scrapped.
  15. The Priority Schools Building Programme has been created.
  16. Free schools have been introduced.
  17. The community infrastructure levy has been introduced.
  18. Home Information Packs (HIPS) have been dropped.
  19. New Enterprise Zones have been awarded.
  20. Parts G, F, J and L of the building regulations have been changed.
  21. New fair payment practices have been introduced for public sector contracts.
  22. The Construction Act has introduced changes to payment procedures, adjudication and the right to suspend work.
  23. The government’s National Infrastructure Plan has been published.
  24. The government has announced that capital expenditure will fall from £50.0 billion in 2011-12 to £46.4 billion in 2014-15.
  25. The government’s Plan for Growth was published, including a commitment to publish a two-year forward programme of infrastructure and construction projects.
  26. The government announced that they would accelerate the release of public sector land to encourage the construction of new homes.
  27. The Bribery Act has been introduced.
  28. The Energy Act has been introduced.
  29. The Social Value Act has been introduced.
  30. The self build initiative has been introduced.
  31. The Flood and Water Management Act has been introduced.

Whilst all of these policy changes have been going on, the industry has been struggling with the effects of the recession. Construction output has fallen by more than 6% and employment by around 8% since 2007 (ref ONS Construction Statistics 2011). As a consequence, productivity is higher and profitability lower than at any time since records began in 2000 and median annual training days for consultants has dropped from 3.2 days in 2004 to just 0.7 in 2011 (ref BIS Construction Industry KPI Report 2011).

So in this time of intense pressure, how will the industry stay on top of the continually changing legislative and political framework? And if those within the industry struggle to keep up, how is everyone else going to manage? Clients coming to the industry for the first time, self-builders, neighbourhood forums, the newly qualified and team members from outside the UK; how will they navigate this complex and rapidly changing industry?

There simply isn’t time for us all to know everything.

Designing Buildings Wiki is an opportunity to share the things we do know with each other, so that when we face a new situation, it doesn’t have to be a leap into the unknown.