The Construction Sector Deal – What’s it all About?
Last week we brought you some exciting news for the construction industry here in the UK, news about the Construction Sector Deal which was launched to increase productivity in our sector through investment in innovation and skills. This initiative was created in order to create new jobs and maximise export potential. Over the coming weeks we’ll be taking a more detailed look at the Construction Sector Deal and all the elements that are considered vital to its success.
The construction industry has an important role to play in the government’s Industrial Strategy as we face the challenges ahead which include:
- Maximising the advantages from a global shift to clean growth
- Becoming a world leader in the future of mobility
- Meeting the needs of an ageing society here in the UK
- Putting the UK at the forefront of the AI (artificial intelligence) and data revolution
Despite the fact that the construction sector here in the UK has a turnover of around £370 billion and represents 9% of our overall economy, the sector’s potential has been hampered by a level of productivity which is lower than the wider economy, on average 21% lower since 1997.
According to the Farmer Review (a review of the UK construction labour model commissioned by the Construction Leadership Council at the request of the government and published in February 2016), emphasised a combination of factors that have contributed to the problems described, including:
- A lack of collaboration across the sector
- The unpredictability of future work
- The cyclical nature of the sector
The Farmer Review advocates shared leadership by the industry, its clients and the government in order to transform the sector to ensure that it can fulfil its potential and deliver wide-ranging social benefits for everybody in the UK. These benefits will include:
- Better performing buildings that are constructed quickly and at lower costs
- Lower energy use and cheaper bills for homes and workplaces
- Better jobs, including an increase in the apprenticeship scheme to 25,000 apprentices a year by 2020
- Better value for tax payers and investors from the £600 billion infrastructure and construction pipeline
- A globally competitive sector with increased exports, targeting the $2.5 trillion global infrastructure market.
This builds on Construction 2025 which provides the framework to deliver the following:
- A 50% reduction in time taken from inception to completion of a new build
- A 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in the build environment in line with the Industrial Strategy’s Clean Growth Grand Challenge
- A 50% reduction in the trade gap between total exports and total imports of construction products and materials
- A 33% reduction in the cost of construction and the whole life cost of assets.
In order to meet these goals, focus on three strategic areas will be vital – digital techniques, offsite manufacturing technologies and a shift in focus on whole life asset performance from the costs of a building, across its lifecycle, particularly in terms of energy use.