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UK contractors urged to form Chinese tie-ups

The UK’s social housing market could benefit from closer ties with Chinese construction materials manufacturers, new CIOB president Li Shirong has said, including UK contractors making more use of Chinese manufacturing for off-site construction work.

Professor Li, who is also Chongqing Foreign Trade and Economic Relations Commission (Coftec) deputy director general, told Construction News: “The UK needs to build a lot of residential buildings. It is a good time to set up this partnership internationally which will benefit both regions.”

A UK-Chongqing memorandum of understanding signed late last year has been followed by an action plan of eight projects, including the introduction of BREEAM in China, a preservation project and a system for off-site construction development.

While the UK has good and proven technology for off-site construction, she argued Chongqing in central China has a competitive advantage.

“Company income tax there is 15 per cent, whereas it is 25 per cent in other areas of the country,” she said.

A good rail connection means freight times to Europe are about 15 days.

Li Shirong also said that if UK firms want to win work in China they should set up a complete package, combining design, architecture, urban planning and construction finance.

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