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Industry policies in need of tender loving care

So the industry got what it wanted: a majority Conservative government and business, more or less as usual.

There are, of course, new ministers for the industry to impress, who will have their own priorities and agendas.

But construction can look forward to a familiar and largely positive course of travel: a benign business environment and £100bn of spending on infrastructure, including £13bn on transport to help create the ‘Northern powerhouse’.

As well as its own dedicated minister, the region also stands to benefit from the east-west High Speed 3 route, while the future of High Speed 2 must surely now be guaranteed.

It ain’t broke

But while ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’ might be the overarching narrative, the machinery of delivery certainly needs a good look under the bonnet.

So then, a quick reminder of a some key policies and procedures that could do with a little TLC.

PF2 and private sector investment: the wall of cash the coalition anticipated has been more of trickle, yet much of the £466bn in the National Infrastructure Plan is still riding on private money.

Hinkley Point C is still to be signed and PF2 has been a total flop. And who knows what the EU referendum could do to the money markets?

“Construction can look forward to a familiar and largely positive course of travel”

Lowest level of housebuilding on record: there’s certainly no magic bullet to solve the UK’s housing crisis, but giving greater attention on stimulating supply rather than demand would be a good place to start.

The Green Deal and existing housing stock: it was a laudable experiment that hasn’t worked.

If anyone can sort it then it’s the much-admired new energy secretary Amber Rudd, but she may fare better by starting all over again.

Construction Leadership Council: industry representation around the table with the business secretary and Sir David Higgins is certainly not to be sniffed at.

Questions being asked

But widespread industry mutterings are starting to question the point of the CLC and exactly what it’s achieving, the painfully slow progress of the fair payment charter being one example.

If it’s to continue with Sajid Javid at the helm - and let’s hope it does - it needs a few quick wins and a greater dialogue with the sector.

Investment in BIM: it was an inspired idea to force the industry to collaborate more by imposing new technology on the supply chain as part of the government procurement process.

But the surveys on uptake continue to flash big red lights - the latest from Pinsent Masons suggests 71 per cent expect the 2016 Level 2 target to be missed.

Time to bring back the BIM Taskforce?

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