In July last year Construction 2025 – an industrial strategy for construction was published. At the same time, the Construction Leadership Council was established.
The strategy sets out bold aspirations for the industry for 2025: a 33 per cent reduction in initial and whole-life costs of construction; a 50 per cent cut in the overall time from inception to completion for construction projects; a 50 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in the built environment; and a 50 per cent cut in the trade gap between total exports and total imports for construction products and materials.
It is these challenging ambitions that the Construction Leadership Council has come together to deliver.
The CLC and its delivery group bring the whole industry much closer together. It is the key forum for the industry to identify and deliver priority actions which will help achieve a transformation.
Importantly, it also brings the industry much closer together with a range of important government departments: the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills; theTreasury; the Department of Energy and Climate Change; and the Department for Communities and Local Government are all playing an active role alongside key industry players.
Hitting the targets
How are we going to achieve our ambitions?
It starts with having a clear understanding of the future pipeline of work – and we are making good progress.
“As the economy improves, it is important that the industry creates the conditions for its supply chain to thrive”
The government published its most recent version of its construction and infrastructure pipeline on 5 December. We are seeking to build on this by developing private sector pipelines, too.
As the economy improves, it is important that the industry creates the conditions for its supply chain to thrive.
If we do not do that, then those important businesses in our supply chains will be unable to invest in skills or innovate. And if they are unable to do that, we will not achieve our ambitions.
The Construction Supply Chain Payment Charter that we have just published includes a commitment to reduce payment periods to 30 days from January 2018 to make payment fairer for all.
Skills challenges are becoming more acute across the industry. In the housebuilding sector, the leadership council is undertaking an exercise to get housebuilders to collaborate.
“There are tremendous opportunities for the industry in green and sustainable construction – and again we are making good progress”
We will take steps to promote the industry’s image and its attractiveness as a career option for young people, as well as attracting people who left construction during the recession back into the sector.
And to ensure the public has a better experience when they interact with the industry, we have relaunched TrustMark, the quality scheme that signposts people to reputable local tradesmen.
There are tremendous opportunities for the industry in green and sustainable construction – and again we are making good progress. In November last year, the Green Construction Board and Infrastructure UK published the Infrastructure Carbon Plan.
These are early days for the Construction Leadership Council. We are starting to tackle a number of issues, looking at short-term priorities while keeping a clear focus on where we would like to be in 2025.
With the support we continue to receive from across industry and across government, I am sure we can make real strides towards a modern industry delivering twice as quickly, offering a third better whole-life value, producing half as many emissions and halving the sector’s trade gap.
David Higgins is chairman of HS2 and industry co-chair of the Construction Leadership Council