Last edited 20 Oct 2016

Construction 2025

In July 2013, the Government published: Construction 2025, Industrial Strategy: government and industry in partnership, setting out its long-term vision for ‘…how industry and Government will work together to put Britain at the forefront of global construction…’

Construction 2025 front cover.jpg

The construction industry is seen as crucial to the long-term success of the UK economy as it includes more than 280,000 businesses and accounts for 3 million jobs (10% of total UK employment), (ref BIS analysis of Labour Force Survey micro-data).

The report builds on some of the themes raised in the Latham report and Egan report, and the strategies set out the in the 2011 Government Construction Strategy, which called for ‘...a profound change in the relationship between public authorities and the construction industry to ensure the Government consistently gets a good deal and the country gets the social and economic infrastructure it needs for the long-term…'

Construction 2025 is described by Sir David Higgins, Chief Executive, Network Rail as ‘the first step in putting UK construction at the forefront of the global market.’

It rather ambitiously proposes:

  • 33% reduction in the initial cost of construction and the whole-life costs of built assets.
  • 50% reduction in the overall time, from inception to completion, for newbuild and refurbished assets.
  • 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in the built environment.
  • 50% reduction in the trade gap between total exports and total imports for construction products and materials.

NB In 2011, the Government Construction Strategy stated an intention to reduce costs by 20% by the end of the parliament (subsequently rephrased as 15-20%).

Construction 2025 sets out five key components to the long-term vision for the industry:

  • PEOPLE: An industry that is known for its talented and diverse workforce.
  • SMART: An industry that is efficient and technologically advanced.
  • SUSTAINABLE: An industry that leads the world in low-carbon and green construction exports.
  • GROWTH: An industry that drives growth across the entire economy.
  • LEADERSHIP: An industry with clear leadership from a Construction Leadership Council.

It then makes the following commitments:

  • Build the UK’s competitive advantage in smart construction and digital design through the Digital Built Britain agenda.
  • Develop market and technology based plans to secure the jobs and growth opportunities from driving carbon out of the built environment, led by the Green Construction Board.
  • Identify global trade opportunities for UK professional services, contracting and product manufacturing, develop partnerships and promote UK construction through the GREAT brand.
  • Improve the image of the industry by inspiring young people and through a coordinated approach to health and safety and improving performance in the domestic repair and maintenance market.
  • Engage with bodies across the industry to ensure that capability and capacity issues in construction are addressed in a strategic manner.
  • Develop and refine the pipeline of future work opportunities and make it more useable for all construction businesses.
  • Drive procurement efficiency and explore options for further efficiency gains in the procurement process, led by the Government Construction Board and the IUK (Infrastructure UK, now the Infrastructure and Projects Authority) Client Group.
  • Create conditions for construction supply chains to thrive by addressing access to finance and payment practices.
  • Work with academic and research communities to bring forward more research, development and demonstration to the wider industry and work to remove barriers to innovation.
  • Lead the transformation of the industry through the new Construction Leadership Council, with actions owned and delivered by industry bodies.

An action plan is set out in Annex B of the report that will continue to be updated and supplemented as the strategy is taken forward. However, the plan is a little vague in terms of detail and is described as ‘tactical rather than strategic’.

Coming so soon after the Government Construction Strategy, and proposing such ambitious targets, there is some scepticism that the vision is achievable. There have been a great number of reports about the construction industry, and numerous attempts to improve efficiency. Despite this, the perception persists that the industry is wasteful. It might be inferred from this either that; under the circumstances the industry operates more effectively than it appears from the outside; expectations are unrealistic; or recommendations have been consistently poorly implemented.

The Construction Leadership Council (CLC) was established to oversee implementation of Construction 2025. This is an industry / government council jointly chaired by the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and an industry representative (at present Sir David Higgins, Chief Executive of Network Rail). See Construction Leadership Council for more information.

It is not entirely clear what the relationship is between the Government Construction Strategy and Construction 2025, or between the Government Construction Board (which oversees the Government Construction Strategy) and the CLC. Construction 2025 simply states that one of its objectives is to “Drive procurement efficiency and explore options for further efficiency gains in the procurement process, led by the Government Construction Board and the IUK Client Group.”

At the September 2015 Construction Industry Summit, Chief construction adviser Peter Hansford, announced that a new government construction strategy for 2015-20 would be published in the following months. Construction Manager suggested that the strategy would map the route to Level 3 BIM and Digital Built Britain, and focus the industry on improving diversity.

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Comments

Is anyone else of the opinion that the Construction 2025 report is similar to the rubbish we have been reading in previous reports?


If all of the savings projected in all the reports had actually been delivered, construction would now be free. There is a list of similar reports all the way back to 1934 at Construction Industry Reports.

They all say similar things, but fail to resolve the contradiction between making substantial savings in construction costs whilst also delivering whole-life value. Whole life value requires recognition of the fact that the cost of construction is tiny compared to the cost of running a business through the life of a building - ie short term savings may run against long term interests.