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Government knows what it wants and that's good news for you

This morning at the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), two documents were launched and both make for good reading if you’re in construction. 

Transforming Infrastructure Performance and the Transport Infrastructure Efficiency Strategy were both published by different government sponsors.

Infrastructure and Projects Authority chief executive Tony Meggs says he was asked over coffee, “isn’t this just more of the same”?

Mr Meggs says “no”. I say ‘yes’. But I would also argue that’s far from a bad thing (although at some point we need to talk about the number of trees dying for construction tomes).

The industry, its clients, supply chain and government are now all looking at, and committing to, better ways of doing business.

This is resulting in people tentatively making real commitments to doing things differently, like considering whole-life value rather than lowest cost and getting major infrastructure providers to share knowledge and improve procurement.

Or the government’s five central departments talking about recognising advanced manufacturing solutions when it comes to awarding work (which we learned was helped along by the Treasury’s exchequer secretary Andrew Jones).

Over the next ten years there is £600bn of investment expected in public and private infrastructure. Doing it better will aid the economy and create more sustainable businesses.

The industry now has to take advantage and prove its commitment to a new way for construction and give government and private sector clients the confidence to go further.

Look at the mega-deal today between Hammerson and Intu and the £2bn pipeline it created. Then consider who Hammerson and Standard Life just appointed to its £700m Brent Cross expansion (hint: they’ve got a track record for doing things offsite).

As Mace’s Jason Millett says: “It’s now up to contractors and consultants to show that we’re up to the challenge.”

Mr Jones says today: “I ask that businesses and investors skill up and scale up in order to meet rising demand. Doing so will mean we will have the confidence to deliver our future pipeline and see investment continue to flow for the next 10 years and beyond.”

Sadly it fell to one pesky journalist to remind the transport secretary that when he rattled off a list of projects the government was backing, he had failed to reference Crossrail 2 in his speech at the ICE this morning.

Chris Grayling said Crossrail 2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail should “march forward in lock step and I want them both to happen”.

But there’s £50bn to be found for the privilege of leaving the EU, remember, and something’s gotta give when one is taking back control.

Got 5 minutes?

Read that pesky reporter’s excellent interview with Mr Meggs here.

Got longer?

Show the government why you’re the best in the business. The CN Awards are open for entry. 2018 could be your year…

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