Government launches Construction Sector Deal

Author: ross sturley cimcig

The government has announced its sector deal for construction, whichinvolves £170m of government money in 'smart construction', applying new technlogies and thinking to improve productivity.

With almost half of the economy reliant on the built environment and the services it enables, the government wants to bring together the construction, manufacturing, energy and digital sectors to deliver innovative approaches that improve productivity in construction and accelerate a shift to building safer, healthier and more affordable places to live and learn that use less energy.

Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark made the announcement, he said: "The construction industry is fundamental to growing our economy as we build to invest in our future. Major infrastructure projects like HS2 and the commitment to deliver 1.5 million homes by 2022 mean that we need a construction sector that can drive innovation, delivering homes and infrastructure quicker.

"As buildings account for around 30% of total emissions, we also want to ensure that we are at the global forefront in designing and building smart, energy efficient and affordable homes and buildings through the Clean Growth Grand Challenge, saving families money on their bills.

"This Sector Deal is supported by the biggest government investment in construction for at least a decade and will drive economic growth and create well-paid highly-skilled jobs in every part of the UK."

Andrew Wolstenholme, Co-Chair of the Construction Leadership Council said: "Securing this deal sends out a statement about the vital contribution our sector makes to the country. Our industry builds the schools to educate the young, the hospitals to care for the sick, the police stations to keep us safe, the roads and railways that get us to work, the power stations that keep us warm and the homes we return to each day.

"We are an industry that must be at the forefront of the UK’s drive for future growth and prosperity – and I’m confident that this deal will help to achieve that."

The Construction Sector Deal aims to deliver:

  • £420 million investment in ‘bytes and mortar smart construction’ - investment aims to transform construction through use of digital building design, new manufacturing technologies and offsite manufacturing helping cut the time taken to deliver new build by 50%
  • cheaper energy bills for families and businesses – support Industrial Strategy mission to halve the energy use of new builds by 2030
  • 25,000 construction apprenticeship starts and 1,000 Construction T Level placements by 2020 to help give young people the skills that industry needs – with £34m to scale up innovative training models across the country
  • $2.5 trillion of global exports – a globally-competitive sector targeting the growing international infrastructure market that is set to grow by 70% in the years ahead

The £420 million joint investment aims to transform construction productivity by driving the development of new innovative construction materials and techniques which will speed up building time, reduce disruption and ensure the homes, workplaces and public buildings of the future are more energy efficient. The deal will aim to support the development of affordable, easy to construct homes, schools and other buildings which can be quickly and sustainably manufactured offsite, then assembled where and when needed.

As part of the deal, the government will work with the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) to ensure a strategic focus on future skills needs and increase significantly the number of approved apprenticeships standards. With a third of the industry’s 3 million workers aged over 50, the Construction Sector Deal includes £34 million for expanding innovative construction training programmes across the country to up-skill the existing workforce and a commitment to increase the number of apprenticeship starts to 25,000 by 2020. Government will work with industry to prepare for implementation of new construction T Levels by supporting the sector to offer high quality construction industry placements. There will also be a single industry portal to support construction careers based on Go Construct.

According to government figures, the construction sector, including the supply chain and professional services, had a turnover of £370 billion in 2016 and employed around 3.1 million workers, or around 9% of the UK workforce. The sector also exported over £8 billion of products and services. Increasing construction productivity would have a significant economic impact. Industry will be contributing up to £250 million, catalysed by a £170 million injection from government through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.