Government Construction Strategy 2016 2020
Government Construction Strategy: 2016 – 2020 was published by the Cabinet Office and the Infrastructure and Projects Authority (IPA) on 23 March 2016, setting out plans to deliver £1.7 billion of efficiencies and 20,000 apprenticeships.
It is part of a suite of documents prepared by the IPA to improve delivery, efficiency and performance. This includes the National Infrastructure Delivery Plan 2016-2021, published at the same time, which, amongst other things, draws together Parliamentary plans for large-scale housing and regeneration, new local schools, hospitals and prisons investment.
The Government Construction Strategy: 2016 – 2020 (GCS 2016-20) pulls together a number of previous commitments and sets some new targets and strategies. It builds on the original Government Construction Strategy published in May 2011 (now referred to as GCS 2011-15), which set out plans to reduce the cost of public sector construction by up to 20% by the end of the parliament and to stimulate growth in construction. It is also consistent with ‘wider ambitions’ described in Construction 2025, Industrial Strategy: government and industry in partnership, published in July 2013, which set out a long-term vision for how industry and Government would work together to put Britain at the forefront of global construction.
 Did GCS 2011-15 deliver the projected savings?
GCS 2011-15 set an intention of reducing the cost of public sector construction by up to 20% by the end of the parliament. It suggested that the public sector accounted for 40% of the total £110bn per annum expenditure on construction in the UK. This means that a 20% saving would have amounted to around £8.8bn a year by the end of the parliament.
In 2012, Government Construction Strategy: One Year On Report and Action Plan Update re-framed this figure as 15 to 20% saving, that is, at least £6.6 billion a year.
However, GCS 2016-20 reported that efficiency savings of just £3 billion were achieved over the entire period 2011-15, clearly well below the target.
 Objectives of GCS 2016-20
GCS 2016-20 highlights the fact that the construction industry is a major part of the UK economy, with an output of £103 billion In 2014, that is 6.5% of GDP, and providing 2.1 million jobs, 6.3% of the UK total.However, it remains highly fragmented with a staggering 956,000 SME’s accounting for 99% of businesses.
It accepts that government is the biggest single construction client, and as such, it should be using its position to drive collaboration and deliver efficiencies and better value for the taxpayer.
The strategy sets out to support the delivery of £163 billion of planned projects identified in the spring 2016 Government Construction Pipeline, with ambitions for:
- Smarter procurement.
- Fairer payment.
- Improving digital skills.
- Reducing carbon emissions.
- Increasing client capability.
It forecasts efficiency savings of £1.7 billion over the course of this Parliament, very much lower than the 20% target set out in GCS 2011-15.
GCS 2016-20 will be delivered by the Infrastructure and Projects Authority (formerly the Major Projects Authority (MPA)) in partnership with the construction spending departments and agencies that make up the Government Construction Board (GCB). A ‘living’ Action Plan detailing how GCS 2016-20 will be delivered is presented in Annex A.
A newly established Strategic Delivery Group (SDG) will coordinate the activity of working groups that will lead on specific work streams, and will report progress to the GCB.
One of the major components of GCS 2011-15 was its mandate requiring fully-collaborative 3D BIM with all project and asset information, documentation and data being electronic by 2016. This represented a minimum requirement for Level 2 BIM on centrally-procured public projects.
GCS 2016-20 suggests that the BIM Working Group will develop a more ambitious set of measures to enable departments to derive further benefits from BIM, enabling departments to gradually move to BIM Level 3. This will involve allowing team members to access and modify a single, shared project model, held centrally.
The next generation of digital standards will be developed to facilitate BIM Level 3 under the remit of the Digital Built Britain Strategy, and early adopter departments will be sought to help understand the full potential benefits of BIM Level 3.
GCS 2016-20 suggests that young people are underrepresented in the construction industry, with just 10% aged between 19 and 24. The 2015 report, Fixing the Foundations: Creating a more prosperous nation established a commitment to deliver 3 million apprenticeship starts over this Parliament. The Procurement Policy Note – Supporting Apprenticeships and Skills through Public Procurement, published in August 2015, required that the public procurement of contracts of more than 12 months in duration and worth £10 million or more, should support skills development and the apprenticeship commitment.
GCS 2016-20 states that the government intends to support the delivery of 20,000 apprenticeships through construction procurement during this Parliament (a relatively small proportion of the 3 million commitment). The Construction Leadership Council (CLC) is developing a guide explaining what good skills investment looks like, and Infrastructure UK, (now part of IPA, which published a National Infrastructure Plan for skills in 2015) is developing a tool to help clients use pipeline data to model current and future skills requirements.
The IPA construction team will continue to work with the Fair Payment Working Group to support departments in realising the full benefits of Project Bank Accounts (PBA’s) as a means of enabling faster payments through the construction supply chain.
 Whole-life approaches
The Construction 2025 industrial strategy set a target of a 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in the built environment. GCS 2016-20 rather vaguely points to a robust approach to the measurement and analysis of sustainability indicators, and encouraging innovative sustainability solutions on carbon reduction where value can be demonstrated.
NB Transforming Infrastructure Performance, published by the Infrastructure and Projects Authority (IPA) in December 2017 committed that the IPA would 'refresh' the Government Construction Strategy in 2018. This will '... promote a more joined-up approach to procurement, contracting and risk allocation, working with the Government Construction Board, the Infrastructure Client Group and the Construction Leadership Council, to reduce the unnecessarily bespoke amendments made to standard forms of contract and consider contracting approaches that support more collaborative models.'
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Building Information Modelling.
- Building our Industrial Strategy: green paper.
- Construction 2025.
- Construction industry organisation.
- Construction Leadership Council.
- Cycling and walking plan.
- Digital Built Britain.
- Fixing the foundations.
- Government Construction Board.
- Government Construction Pipeline.
- Government Construction Strategy.
- Government Construction Strategy 2011 2015
- Infrastructure and Projects Authority.
- List of construction industry reports through history.
- National Infrastructure Delivery Plan 2016-2021.
- National Infrastructure Plan.
- National Infrastructure Pipeline.
- Transforming Infrastructure Performance
 External resources
- UK Government Construction Strategy 2016-2020 Explained - video by The B1M.
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