An ambitious new partnership between the government and the construction industry has been announced by the Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark, in a speech to the Northern Powerhouse Summit in Newcastle.
The £420 million investment in ‘bytes and mortar smart construction’ will transform construction through the use of digital building design, new manufacturing technologies and offsite manufacturing, helping cut the time taken to deliver new builds by 50%.
Ed Fowkes, development director at Prosperity Capital Partners, said, “The fate of the property industry is closely tied to that of our currently dysfunctional construction industry and this government announcement will help modernise both. By building homes differently, making use of emerging technologies, as well as offsite manufacturing, our industries can deliver much-needed homes in a quicker, more effective way.
“With Brexit looming, the government needs to tackle the structural issue plaguing construction, while encouraging the next wave of talent to join the industry’s ageing ranks. The sector deal outlined by this government will do just that, helping to secure construction and property’s shared future.”
With almost half of the economy reliant on the built environment and the services it enables, the government is bringing 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 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.
Andrew Wolstenholme, Co-Chair of the Construction Leadership Council said, “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 will deliver:
- £420 million investment 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.
Jonathan White, UK head of infrastructure, building and construction at KPMG, said, “We’re pleased to see the government recognise that construction needs support if it is to play a strategic role in the future of the UK economy.
“The deal rightly identifies a lack of digital investment and low profit margins as issues in the sector, yet the two are intertwined. With slim margins, firms find it difficult to prioritise tech, but without this investment they are unlikely to boost their productivity. The new funding will be welcomed to help finance this step-change.”
Peter Caplehorn, Construction Products Association Deputy Chief Executive and Policy Director, added, “These are ambitious plans that will improve and modernise the construction sector, whilst providing much-needed reassurance to the supply chain as Brexit-related uncertainty continues to weigh on activity.
“Our sector has already demonstrated where we can spark the ‘bytes and mortar revolution’ through off-site manufacturing and advanced manufacturing technologies that deliver high-quality buildings more quickly and efficiently, boost productivity and make a more interesting offer to our workforce.
“We were also pleased to see the Construction Products Association’s work around LEXiCON and product data referenced in the Sector Deal, as we believe this will be key to ensuring that homes and buildings perform as intended and are safe for those who use them.
“It is promising to see government commit to a long term vision. Now government and industry must work together to deliver real results on the ground.”