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ICE says reduced costs need new commitments for the civils industry

Commitments to earlier supply chain involvement, innovation and a focus on life-cycle costs are enshrined in a new cost cutting charter for infrastructure drawn up for ministers by the ICE and other industry bodies.

Improved communication called for

Civil engineering firms signing up to the charter must also promise to improve communication with government client and seek joint ventures to spread risk.

The ICE alongside government and other industry bodies launched the charter to encourage “behavioural changes” needed to cut the cost of infrastructure projects. Creation of the charter was a key recommendation of Treasury Body Infrastructure UK’s infrastructure cost review published in March (NCE 7 April).

The review was instigated in response to widespread concern about major project costs in the UK, which are consistently higher than those in other countries.

The final report set out seven commitments for the government and four for industry, of which the charter was one.

Lowering costs key

All are aimed at bringing down costs. The ICE, the Association for Consultancy and Engineering (ACE), the Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA), and the Construction Products Association (CPA) has worked with government to produce the charter.

Infrastructure UK will take responsibility for making the changes within government, and will report annually on progress.

“Infrastructure UK has set out an ambitious programme of change for both the government client and our industry, and it is essential that we all work together to deliver an infrastructure sector that is fit for the 21st century,” said ACE chief executive Nelson Ogunshakin.

“The charter is at the heart of this change, defining and delivering a new model for behaviours by the client and the supply chain.

“Our four organisations welcome the chance to play a part in this process, bringing together the experience of the supply chain to support implementation of the charter across the industry”.

The Charter

The government wants civil engineering consultants, contractors and materials suppliers to sign up to the charter. The ICE, ACE, CECA and the CPA have already signed up.

Government commitments:

  • Provide transparency and certainty around its infrastructure programmeGroup projects into more efficient longer-term programmes
  • Encourage innovation and allow for earlier and integrated supply chain involvement
  • Seek the best whole life outcome rather than seeking the lowest construction cost
  • Make better use of infrastructure data

Industry commitments:

  • Improve communication with government clients
  • Be proactive in supporting government clients
  • Develop long-term strategies
  • Promote industry collaboration and joint ventures


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