Our Opportunity – the Construction Industry Sector Deal

Andrew Wolstenholme, joint chair of the Construction Leadership Council (CLC), hosted an Industry Leaders’ Briefing Day at the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC), Ansty Park on 11th July 2017. Following from an earlier briefing meeting held in London, the event was held to update on progress in the development of the construction industry’s sector deal.

A number of key announcements were made during the day including:

• The launch of the Technology Roadmap for UK Construction and National Infrastructure, in a development led by Infrastructure Industry Innovation Platform (i3P);

• Confirmation that Innovate UK has provided £250,000 of match funding for collaborative innovation in the sector, backing a similar level of pooled investment by 20 i3P members;

• A presentation of a joint submission to the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund seeking £250 million of funding for a range of capital facilities and R&D programmes to drive industry innovation;

• Confirmation the Government and the CLC will support a reformed CITB;

• Confirmation of £300,000 funding from Innovate UK for the development of digital skills training plans in line with proposals developed by MTC and Digital Built Britain (DBB).

These developments confirm a significant acceleration in collaborative efforts by the construction industry to raise its game and to respond to the UK’s wider skills and productivity challenge. Evidence presented by McKinsey at the briefing highlighted construction’s productivity gap, which is costing the industry and its clients £15 billion per annum.  McKinsey also set out an evidence base that demonstrates that the wider application of current levels of innovation could increase productivity by 15%, potentially lifting output by up to £17bn per year without requirements for additional labour.

Lord Prior of Brampton emphasised the importance of the sector to the UK economy and one with the potential to deliver skilled and well-paid employment across the UK.  He urged the audience to take the opportunity provided by the Government’s Industrial Strategy to develop a sector deal that would deliver increased investment to drive productivity and growth, and transform the sector in the UK into a world leader.

Andrew Wolstenholme described how the CLC’s vision for industry change remains focused on three strategic outcomes:

• Digital – delivering better, more certain outcomes using digital technologies;

• Manufacturing – improving productivity, quality and safety by increasing the use of manufacturing;

• Performance – optimising through-life performance through the development of smart assets.

These outcomes will help to deliver more houses, cheaper energy and better public services and will be developed by three enablers which form the focus of the Industry Sector Deal:

• Procure for Better Value

• Industry-led Innovation

• Skills for the future.

Presentations by Mike Chaldecott of Saint-Gobain, Nick Sumption of i3P, Mark Bew of Digital Built Britain, Neil Rawlinson of MTC and Sarah Beale of CITB demonstrated the extent of progress that has been made in these areas. Attendees also had the opportunity to tour the facilities of the Manufacturing Technology Centre, the location for a proposed investment in permanent construction R&D facilities to drive the sector’s innovation agenda.

Andrew Wolstenholme closed the event by emphasising that the scale of the industry’s ambition has caught the attention of government and that we need to work collaboratively on all fronts – procurement, skills and innovation to deliver the outcomes that our clients and their end users require and deserve.

The CLC will continue to work with government and industry during the Autumn to develop the detail of the sector deal. Further opportunities to participate in the development of the detail will be facilitated by the CLC in due course ahead of the next Leaders’ Briefing which will take place later in 2017.

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