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Industry Reaction: Construction strategy, £22bn pipeline and BIM

Industry leaders have hailed the government’s new construction strategy and forward pipeline but warned that greater clarity of government policy is needed to allow the industry to plan with confidence.

Interserve director Martin Ballard:

With the recent announcement from the government of construction spend reaching up to £22bn over the next three years, the support and confidence these proposals will give to the sector is very significant.

Where the challenge lies is to deliver the 20 per cent savings also outlined in the recent construction strategy. The alignment of the sector as a whole needs to be further developed to support this.

With a greater clarity of government policy and direction moving forward, the visibility of the future funds available and how they will be split means that as an industry we are now able to plan with greater confidence.

As a main contractor this planning and understanding of funding moving forwards will also enable us to invest further in our support for the supply chain, moving towards yet further integration.

What visibility also does is open up avenues to develop more innovative solutions, particularly in the education marketplace, which will be the largest slice of funding at £4.6bn.

Fundamentally the shift from a new-build focus to a greater need for repair and maintenance works also means that the industry has to shape itself to become more flexible.

With other announcements on the change of how councils will be able to retain portions of business rates, potentially opening up opportunities for borrowing against future income for larger projects, we are now seeing a more positive future ahead.

Aggregate Industries director of sustainable construction Miles Watkins:

Aggregate Industries wholly supports the Government Construction Strategy and, along with our supply chain partners, can absolutely assist the government in achieving the 20 per cent target reduction in construction costs.

As a company that works at multiple levels of the supply chain, we completely support the principle of closer collaboration across the supply chain delivering better value. The government clearly understands the importance of the materials providers and those that actually do the work on our construction projects.

Now we must assist the government and its departments by pro-actively pushing the strategy, engaging with our clients and having what may be difficult conversations around the principles of the strategy.

We welcome the pressure on the government to up-skill from a client and project management perspective and agree that there is a critical requirement to understand whole life cost, learn how to specify for it and not just buy on price for short term budgetary gains.

If we take infrastructure as a case example, the way we currently plan engineering works is wasteful and expensive and the current approach of ‘worst first’ is costing the government four times as much to maintain than an alternative ‘whole life’ approach.

The announcement of £22bn to be invested into public construction projects over the next three years is very promising and we look forward to gaining visibility of the rolling forward programme in its full form in the autumn.

There is a growing understanding across the government that further investment is required in both construction and the country’s infrastructure. Industry must not sit back and simply wait for more funding. It must collectively respond to the Government Construction Strategy and maximise value from current and future investment.

Civil Engineering Contractors Association director of external affairs Alasdair Reisner:

The publication of a preliminary Funded Construction Pipeline represents the first small step in a hugely important journey towards the provision of clear, comprehensive and regularly updated information about future public sector construction activity.

For a decade CECA has pressed the case for greater clarity over future investment. We welcome the early publication of the programme, recognising that the first official publication in the autumn will add detail to what is at this stage an outline document.

In order to ensure this official programme meets the needs of industry, we will be working with colleagues from across the industry to provide guidance back to the Cabinet Office on the pipeline.

We hope that by doing so the final programme can provide the vital clarity that will help industry secure vital efficiencies on future public sector construction works.

 

The government officially launched its Building Information Modelling strategy this week, a move which has been hailed by industry as being a driver for greater collaboration and as being complimentary to the government and chief construction adviser Paul Morrell’s drive for change in the industry.

 

Thomas Vale managing director Tony Hyde:

To be able to derive data that can transform the design in a virtual construction model ensures that designers and design teams are able to accurately anticipate a projects programme – from start to finish, as well as helping clients and end-users understand the functionality of a building, how it will feel and how it all fits together.

Five years ago we were invited by the (then) Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform to review worldwide innovation and its implementation in America and Canada, and most recently as Japan. That’s how long ago we started our BIM journey.

Vinci Construction BIM leader Will Hackney:

Government is our industry’s biggest client and it’s great to see them taking the lead on BIM. Vinci Construction UK has spent many years researching and developing the technologies and processes that make BIM a workable and efficient solution. 

Delivering projects using BIM will enable us to do more for less and reduce our carbon impact. It’s a win-win solution.

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