Construction Sector Deal – focus on transformation
At the end of November 2017, business secretary Greg Clark MP announced a flagship deal for the UK construction sector that aims to modernise the industry and recruit the next generation of highly-skilled construction workers.
At the launch, business secretary Greg Clark said: “Our construction industry makes a vital contribution to the UK economy and is one of our most important sectors, with businesses that add £138 billion a year to the economy, contribute 8% of our GDP and employ over 3.1 million workers.”
This is the first of a number of Sector Deals that the government is making under its Industrial Strategy. Supported by £170 million of government investment over three years and £250 million of funding from the construction industry, the deal brings together the construction, manufacturing, energy and digital sectors in a new hub to commercialise technologies capable of building assets which are ‘both cost effective and energy efficient’.
The government has set out ambitious objectives for increased housebuilding as well as improved infrastructure. As the construction sector’s largest customer, the government has a vested interest in helping to improve the performance of the industry, which is currently seen as wasteful and inefficient.
The Construction Sector Deal has four clear and ambitious objectives that are to be achieved by UK construction by a deadline of 2025, representing transformative change for the sector:
• 33% reduction in the cost of construction and the whole-life cost of assets
• 50% reduction in the time taken from beginning to end of new build and refurbished assets.
• 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in the built environment
• 50% reduction in the trade gap between total exports and total imports of construction products and materials.
By transforming the sector through better adoption of digital and manufacturing technologies, the Deal aims to deliver quality infrastructure and housing (see also our news story on the £600 billion investment) at greater speed and reduced cost.
Skills and training are a key part of the Deal.
It will look to deliver a substantial boost to the skills of current workers and help retrain existing workers, alongside a new National Retraining Scheme.
The Construction Industry Training Board will be reformed with greater industry leadership and engagement. It will focus on delivering the future skills needed, particularly amongst SMEs. There will also be a ‘coordinated approach’ to maximising the benefits of the Apprenticeship Levy which was introduced in 2017.