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£15bn a year can be saved by better project delivery, says government

Night roadworks

The government has published its plan to bring about better delivery of infrastructure projects ahead of the publication of a £600bn infrastructure investment pipeline today.

The Transforming Infrastructure Performance programme is set to boost the construction sector’s productivity in a move which it said could generate savings of £15bn a year.

The new programme, contains plans to transform infrastructure delivery. One of the ways it will do this is by using its purchasing power to drive modern construction methods, such as offsite. This drive extends to the Department for Transport’s arm’s length bodies such as Highways England, Network Rail and HS2 Ltd. Through this it hopes Britain will become a world leader in high tech construction.

It comes on the same day as the Infrastructure and Projects Authority (IPA) will release details of the £600bn pipeline of infrastructure projects for the next 10 years, one of the aims of which is to give investors certainty.

Within the programme there is a dedicated plan for boosting efficiency and productivity in transport sector. The new Transport Infrastructure Efficiency Strategy sets out seven core challenges to boost efficiency and productivity and has been produced by Crossrail, Highways England, HS2 Ltd, Network Rail, Transport for London, and the Department for Transport.

Through setting out the new challenges it said it wanted to support the delivery of efficiency in infrastructure projects by setting out practical recommendations and activities, provide case studies demonstrating where activities could be replicated or scaled up and provide a basis for collaboration and shared learning.

The seven challenges call on projects to be set up to deliver better outcomes for transport users, use benchmarking and more robust estimating in projects. It also said it wanted to see collaboration with industry to enable greater innovation, use of new technology and adoption of modern methods of construction.

It said underpinning this, should be a link from the strategy to a “concerted” effort to invest in skills and capability.

It also stated that the core challenges should also support the Construction Sector Deal which was announced by the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) last month. The deal aims to achieve a 33% reduction in whole life costs, a 50% reduction in project time, a 50% reduction in carbon emissions and a 50% reduction in the trade gap from built assets.

Crossrail chief executive and Construction Leadership Council co-chair Andrew Wolstenholme will chair the implementation taskforce.

Transport secretary Chris Grayling said the government was making undertaking the most ambitious improvements to the transport network the country had seen in decades, but steps had to be taken to ensure these were delivered on time and on budget.

“World-leading projects such as Crossrail, the Ordsall Chord and the huge investment programme in our major roads show that Britain can deliver on time and on budget, boosting jobs and growth and creating new opportunities across the nation. But we want to do better. This strategy shows the way and sets out our standards for how we will do more and better in future.”

Grayling said government projects accounted for a quarter of all construction projects, and by using this economy of scale it could drive innovation and encourage firms to invest in new technology.

The Treasury said methods such as off-site manufacturing, could boost productivity by reducing waste by 90% and speed up delivery times by more than half (60%).

“Today’s announcements tackle this head on and give the sector the certainty to start investing in the right technology and skills,” the Treasury said.

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