Furthering the industrialisation of construction, developing smart infrastructure, exploring new business models and recognising the importance of retrofit are the key innovation priorities to be explored by the new-look Construction Leadership Council.
The Council, set up in 2013 as part of the Government’s Construction 2025 industrial strategy, is being scaled back and reformed as part of changes that will also see the scrapping of the role of the chief construction advisor.
The advisor role has been held by Peter Hansford since December 2012. He stands down next month but last week told NCE’s Future Technology Forum that the strategy will live on.
Hansford outlined how the council will now focus on the four priority areas, each led by heavyweight industry figure.
Crossrail chief executive Andrew Wolstenholme is to chair the Council and will also lead a smart and innovation workstream. This will tackle the industrialisation and smart infrastructure priority areas.
Skanska chief executive Mike Putnam will lead a green & sustainable workstream and will tackle the retrofit priority area.
Bouygues UK chief executive Madani Sow will lead a supply chain & business models workstream and will tackle the new business models priority area.
Laing O’Rourke chief executive Anna Stewart will lead a people and skills workstream, BDP’s David Cash will lead a exports & trade workstream and Arcadis’ Simon Rawlison an industry communications workstream.
Hansford said Government will set out how it will support this work by continuing to improve as a client in a update to the Construction Strategy within the next two months. But he said the onus would remain on industry to drive and deliver innovation with limited government funds available for research & development.
“Government is clear that it wants industry to lead. It is about being clever about where we need government support and then getting the ask right,” he said.
Hansford said changing the business models in the industry was crucial.
“Margins are particularly small in construction. There must be a better business model,” he said.