Government and construction industry publish plans to cut cost and length of construction projects by 2025

Out-Law News | 03 Jul 2013 | 2:15 pm | 2 min. read

Construction projects should take half as much time to complete and cost one third less by 2025, according to a template for the future of the sector agreed by the Government and construction industry.

Construction 2025, the Government's new industrial strategy for construction, sets out 10 joint commitments that will "radically transform" the sector over the next decade, according to the document.

The strategy also identifies four measurable targets, to be jointly met by industry and Government. These are a 33% reduction in both initial construction costs and whole life costs; a 50% reduction in the overall time taken from inception to completion of new build and refurbished assets; a 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in the built environment; and a 50% reduction in the 'trade gap' between imports and exports of construction products and materials.

"Construction is a sector where Britain has a strong competitive edge," the Government said. "We have world-class expertise in architecture, design and engineering, and British companies are leading the way in sustainable construction solutions. It is also a sector with considerable growth opportunities, with the global construction market forecast to grow by over 70% by 2025."

The strategy will be implemented by a new Construction Leadership Council of industry and government representatives, chaired by Business Secretary Vince Cable and Network Rail boss David Higgins.

Infrastructure law expert Chris Hallam of Pinsent Masons welcomed the strategy, which he said "sets out a clear vision as to where the Government feels construction will be, or should be, in 2025".

"The strategy follows hot on the heels of the launch of the Global Construction 2025 Report, which forecasts 70% growth in the global construction market by 2025," he said.

"At the heart of the strategy is to create a more efficient, technologically advanced, greener industry to drive growth and promote export. It is nothing short of ambitious, aiming for a one third cut in cost, a halving of emissions and a 50% reduction in project delivery time. The industry and key stakeholders now need to work with the Government in order to ensure that the vision comes to fruition – that's the hard part," he said.

The strategy sets out a vision for a smart, sustainable construction industry with clear leadership, which attracts and retains staff and drives economic growth. It proposes to address current weaknesses such as the lack of workforce diversity, the lack of integration between contractors and their supply chain, late payments and low levels of innovation.

Among the ten industry and government commitments set out in the strategy are to build on the UK's competitive advantage in smart construction and digital design, to develop market and technology-based plans to drive carbon out of the built environment and to identify and exploit global trade opportunities for UK professional services, contracting and product manufacturing. The strategy also proposes to work with academic and research communities to remove barriers to innovation, develop and refine the 'pipeline' of future construction opportunities and explore options to make the procurement process more efficient.

The strategy also sets out benefits for small and medium-sized businesses. It commits to an increase in the number of suppliers offering greater trade credit to small businesses, as well as developing a 'fair payment charter' for construction.

The Government has reiterated its commitment to mandatory use of building information modelling (BIM) programmes for all centrally-procured Government contracts from 2016 as part of the strategy. "Industry must therefore meet the challenge - only through the implementation of BIM will we be able to deliver more sustainable buildings, more quickly and more efficiently," it said. "BIM is also critical to the successful implementation of a wider offsite manufacturing strategy."