Last edited 07 Dec 2017

Construction sector deal

The construction sector deal was trailed in the Autumn budget on 22 November 2017, then formally launched on 27 November 2017 in the Industrial Strategy: building a Britain fit for the future.

However, the main announcements relating to construction in the Industrial Strategy actually came under the heading ‘infrastructure’, rather than in section on the sector deal itself, which merited just a page of text making some rather vague commitments to transform the productivity of the sector by work collaboratively on procuring for value, industry-led Innovation and skills for the future.

Further detail on the construction sector deal were set out in a statement by Business Secretary Greg Clark on 29 November 2017. Ref https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-and-industry-cement-deal-to-give-uk-construction-the-edge.

The statement makes clear that the construction sector deal includes £170 million of government investment over three years through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, and £250 million of match funding from industry. It suggests this will transform the sector through better adoption of digital and manufacturing technologies to deliver quality infrastructure and housing more quickly, at reduced cost to the taxpayer, and boosting the skills of construction workers and training.

In relation to skills, the deal will deliver:

  • A reformed Construction Industry Training Board (CITB).
  • A co-ordinated approach to maximising the benefits of the Apprenticeship Levy.
  • A unified and more effective industry approach to promoting construction careers, and removing barriers to employment in the industry.
  • A Construction Skills Strategy aimed at retaining and retraining a workforce able to deliver infrastructure and housing.
  • A new National Retraining Scheme with a £64 million investment for digital and construction training.
  • A T level to be taught from 2020.

The statement then re-affirms the commitments set out in Construction 2025 (published in July 2013) to achieve:

The statement also provided more detail about the Centre for Digital Built Britain at the University of Cambridge, first announced in the 2016 budget. This will be part of the ‘Transforming Construction’ Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund investment, and will develop Building Information Modelling (BIM), sensors, data analytics and smart systems technologies that can be embedded in new building projects.

Finally, the government will invest £1.4 million in ‘Building for 2050’ a research project led by AECOM, to gather evidence from 3 housing developments in Swansea, Bristol and Manchester to uncover barriers to developing low cost, low carbon housing and to test innovative methods of construction.

Greg Clark said; “The Sector Deal we have announced today will see government and industry working together to support, invest and transform the construction sector, creating high-skilled and well-paying jobs, while delivering more housing for people across the country. The agreement embodies our vision for a modern Industrial Strategy, with government and industry working together in a strategic partnership towards the common goal of higher productivity, and a more skilled construction workforce with more earning power.”

Andrew Wolstenholme, Chair of the Construction Leadership Council (CLC), said; “We have a golden opportunity to reap economic gains from improved productivity and the more efficient construction of assets, creating high-skilled, well-paid jobs in all parts of the UK and driving up exports to the global infrastructure market.”

Tony Meggs, Chief Executive of the Infrastructure and Projects Authority (IPA) said: “It is vital that the construction sector is modern and efficient in the way it delivers these plans. Only then will we see future investment continue to flow and make progress in closing the UK’s productivity gap.”

A post on the CLC website states that 'A separate paper setting out the full details of the deal will be published in the coming weeks'. Ref http://www.constructionleadershipcouncil.co.uk/news/construction-leadership-council-welcomes-the-sector-deal/

NB, Simon Rawlinson, Lead on Communications at the CLC subsequently confirmed that the performance targets in the Construction Sector Deal were the same as those set out in Construction 2025, but that one third of the way into the plan, no measurements were being taken to assess progress. Ref http://www.theconstructionindex.co.uk/news/view/industry-targets-are-not-being-measured

NB The Construction Sector Deal was followed on 6 December 2017 by publication of Transforming Infrastructure Performance, setting out plans to improve infrastructure and boost the productivity of the construction sector with the intention of saving £15 billion a year on economic infrastructure such as transport and energy networks, and social infrastructure such as schools and hospitals.

A Transport infrastructure efficiency strategy was also published on 6 December, describing seven challenges that the Department for Transport and its delivery bodies will address to improve transport infrastructure efficiency.

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