Transforming UK Construction

July 2018

Transforming UK Construction  

The challenges facing the Industry are vast but the Sector Deal should deliver real change and ensure UK construction remains world class. Every so often it is good to step back to look at the bigger picture. Government and construction industry leaders have been working together for some time to develop a strategy that that will improve the way our industry operates. We are now at a point where strategy must convert into delivery and over time we will see the entire landscape within which we operate change and improve.

The Case for Change

Several government reports from Latham to Egan set out a few home truths about the way our industry operates and identified the need for culture change and a move to more collaborative business models. It was clear that a concerted effort by industry and government would be required to implement the recommended changes. In relation to skills, the Farmer Review warned that we are standing on a burning platform and Brexit uncertainty has added to our anxieties about skills shortages.

If this wasn’t enough to spur us into action a series of events through 2017, from Grenfell to the collapse of Carillion made us stop and pay attention. We are now seeing redoubled efforts to change. Industry is becoming more proactive and Government is doing its bit to facilitate change. There are almost weekly developments to track on skills from Trailblazers to T-levels.

Industry is becoming more proactive and Government is doing its bit to facilitate change.

The Industrial Strategy

The Industrial Strategy Green Paper set out plans for an economy that would boost productivity and the earning power of people throughout the UK. The Construction Leadership Council (CLC) was set up with a brief to develop a construction specific strategy. Construction 2025 included proposals for a partnership between industry and Government that would lower construction and whole life costs of assets by 30%, reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50%; improve delivery by being 50% faster and make improvements in exports by 50%.

Securing Investment in Industry Improvement

The CLC has since developed a series of more detailed strategies under various workstreams to deliver comprehensive change and has secured government investment through the Sector Deal signed in July 2018.

The Sector Deal is an ambitious partnership between Industry and Government designed to address the key challenges and opportunities facing construction. It promises to deliver wide ranging change that will benefit specialist subcontractors, from fairer payment practices to reformed prequalification, funding for innovation in housing building, and a reformed skills landscape that will deliver the people we need to continue to be successful in the future.

CONSTRUCT is a Trade Association member of Build UK and this is enabling the industry to speak with one voice to government. As a board member of both the Construction Leadership Council and Build UK I am proud to represent the supply chain and our specialist subsector at a range of forums addressing topics from Brexit to payment practices. We are now developing mechanisms for the dissemination of information from the CLC to CONSTRUCT so that members can stay abreast of developments.

Industry 4.0 – the fourth industrial revolution?

Experts say we are moving towards a fourth industrial revolution or “Industry 4.0”.  Others might argue that the future is happening right now.

Whichever way we look at it, new technologies from artificial intelligence to robotics have enormous potential to transform construction, from re-defining how cities are planned to how buildings are built.

What is certain is that the world around us is changing and, while the challenges are vast, so are the opportunities. The Sector Deal provides an unprecedented opportunity for the sector to transform itself and ensure that UK construction remains world class.