Building the future
This week saw Business Secretary, Greg Clarke, announce a new government deal designed to transform the construction industry.
The flagship deal could see billions of pounds added to the UK economy through delivering better homes and infrastructure. Since the launch of the Industrial Strategy green paper to agree the Sector deal, the government and industry have been working together to develop a joint strategic direction. The ambitions are to modernise the industry, respond to the challenges of both demographic change and the implications of Brexit.
The deal will prepare the UK construction sector for the future, helping companies build better performing buildings and infrastructure at a greater speed and reduced cost, while supporting the government’s ambitious programmes in both infrastructure and housing.
The Construction Sector Deal hopes to transform the sector through better adoption of digital and manufacturing technologies, reflective of the BIM mandate, leading to an efficient and effective sector; while also dealing with the skills shortage.
Some £170M of government funding will be invested over three years through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, matched by £250M from industry. The deal will bring together the construction, manufacturing, energy and digital sectors in a new hub to commercialise technologies capable of building assets which are both cost effective and energy efficient.
Business Secretary Greg Clark said: “Our construction industry makes a vital contribution to the UK economy and is one of our most important sectors, with businesses that add £138 billion a year to the economy, contribute 8% of our GDP, and employ over 3.1 million workers.
“The Sector Deal we have announced 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, said: “I am delighted that construction has been included in the first wave of sector deals. It presents a huge opportunity for one of the UK’s largest industries and the broader economy.
“With a projected £600Bn pipeline of infrastructure projects to be delivered over the coming decades, it is vital that the industry and government work together to realise the full potential of the deal.
“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: “This government has ambitious plans for infrastructure over the next decade. 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.
“The IPA very much supports this Construction Sector Deal; we will support and align with industry as it implements the programme.”
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