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Delayed £420M construction sector deal revealed

Flickr/ Dean Hochman

The long-awaited £420M construction sector deal has been published.

Originally due in January, the deal focuses on better efficiency with offsite manufacturing and digital design taking top spots on the agenda.

The construction industry has lagged behind other sectors’ productivity gains in recent years. Sector deals were revealed as a key part of the government’s Industrial Strategy, published in November last year. 

As well as focusing on better efficiency, the deal pledges to steer the industry towards designing more efficient buildings in line with the government’s Clean Growth Grand Challenge mission to halve the energy use of new builds by 2030.

It also promises £34M for training and 25,000 new apprenticeships, as well as a focus on a more research and development (R&D) and better procurement systems.

Business secretary Greg Clark said: “The construction industry is fundamental to growing our economy as we build to invest in our future. Major infrastructure projects like HS2 and the commitment to deliver 1.5M homes by 2022 mean that we need a construction sector that can drive innovation, delivering homes and infrastructure quicker.”

The £420M is made up of £250M from construction firms and £170M of government funding. Business secretary Greg Clark said the money would be used to build a “bytes and mortar” revolution in construction.

ICE director general Nick Baveystock said the deal showed the govenrment’s commitment to transforming the sector.

He added: “We welcome, in particular, the focus on creating a new sustainable business model for construction, which the report recognises is in line with the work we have been doing on Project 13.

“This industry-led initiative has created a model that will boost certainty and productivity in delivery, improve whole life outcomes in operation and support a more sustainable, innovative, highly skilled industry; all things the sector deal has emphasised are needed.”

But Association for Consultancy & Engineering (ACE) chief executive Nelson Ogunshakin cautioned that the deal’s ambitions had not yet been proved.

He said: “Of course reducing new build delivery times by 50% is a welcome announcement, but time will tell whether this is an aspirational target, or a realistic deliverable.

“It is encouraging to see the government embracing new technologies, like digital design and offsite manufacturing, and we are pleased that a collaborative approach has been taken with construction skills. This holistic approach will ensure we have a sustainable and future-proofed construction workforce for years to come.”

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