Press release

Strategy sets foundations for UK construction growth

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

A long-term partnership between government and the construction industry to get Britain building and winning contracts overseas is announced

  • Market and technology plans aimed at exploiting changes in global green construction
  • GREAT campaign to promote British construction abroad and attract new business
  • Construction Leadership Council formed to lead joint vision to 2025

A long-term partnership between government and the construction industry to get Britain building and winning contracts overseas is to be announced today.

Speaking at the Government Construction Summit, Business Minister Michael Fallon will unveil the industrial strategy for construction‘Construction 2025’ – which will set out how the government and industry will ensure the UK continues to thrive in the face of increasing global competition.

The strategy includes an action plan of 10 joint commitments to ensure industry is best placed to achieve its ambitions by 2025. Highlights include reducing growth barriers for businesses, particularly small and medium-sized firms (SMEs) and sole traders.

Within the plan, the government and industry commit to improving access to trade credit and increasing fair payment practices. Together they pledge to secure 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 strategy follows news last week that over £100 billion of public investment is being committed to infrastructure projects to 2020, including the building of 200,000 affordable homes in the four years to 2018. New roads, railways, housing and energy projects will boost the economy and provide jobs across the country.

Business Secretary Vince Cable said:

Last week we announced £100 billion for new infrastructure to get Britain building again. New roads, railways and energy projects will boost the economy and provide jobs across the country.

I want to make sure we maximise our return on this money. Today’s industrial strategy will help firms innovate and export more. It will also help train a next generation of construction workers and look at what skills gaps we need to fill.

We cannot make these changes alone, all of this has been designed by working closely with the industry. I look forward to working even more closely with business through the new Construction Leadership Council.

Business and Energy Minister Michael Fallon said:

Construction accounts for nearly seven per cent of the UK economy, over 280,000 businesses and employs around three million people. It is a sector where Britain has a strong competitive edge, the capabilities for rapid new development and a potential for unlocking great wealth for our economy.

With the global construction market forecasted to grow by 70 per cent by 2025, Britain is now in a global race for growth and jobs, and we can’t afford to be left behind. Growth requires joint action, which is why industry and the government have come together to create this vision for the future of the construction sector.

The strategy outlines joint ambitions for a 50 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in the built environment, and an equal reduction in the trade gap between total exports and total imports for construction products and materials.

To help achieve these ambitions and secure new jobs and growth opportunities, the government and industry will develop market and technology based plans focused on driving carbon out of the built environment. This will be led by the Green Construction Board.

Efforts will be bolstered with the addition of the construction sector to the government’s GREAT marketing campaign. Launched by David Cameron in 2011, the initiative highlights the best of British innovation on the world stage.

Government Chief Construction Adviser Peter Hansford said:

Construction 2025 provides us with the strategic focus to transform British construction into a real force to be reckoned with on the world stage.

Businesses can provide the expertise to get us there, but the challenge now is to ensure these strengths align with the future needs of a greener, digitally advanced industry.

This strategy signals a new start for industry, for future growth and for new jobs but this will only happen if the government and industry continue to work together in partnership.

To deliver the strategy a new Construction Leadership Council has been created. Jointly chaired by Business Secretary Vince Cable and Sir David Higgins, Chief Executive of Network Rail, the group will oversee the delivery of the action plan and its strategic priorities.

Sir David Higgins, Chief Executive of Network Rail and co-chair of the Construction Leadership Council, said:

This strategy’s publication is just the first step in putting UK construction at the forefront of the global market - strong leadership will be vital in driving lasting change. The Construction Leadership Council will provide a forum for industry and government to work together in pursuit of our ambitions.

Notes to editors:

1.Developed with guidance and support from the Construction Industrial Strategy Advisory Council (CISAC), ‘Construction 2025’ represents a joint partnership by the government and industry to put Britain at the forefront of the global construction market, and to ensure the industry is well placed to respond to domestic challenges by the year 2025.

By working in partnership, the construction industry and government jointly aspire to achieve by 2025:

  • A 33% reduction in both the initial cost of construction and the whole life cost of assets
  • A 50% reduction in the overall time from inception to completion for new build and refurbished assets
  • A 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in the built environment
  • A 50% reduction in the trade gap between total exports and total imports for construction products and materials.

For further details and to view the strategy document visit: www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-business-innovation-skills/series/construction-industrial-strategy.

2.Launched in November 2011, the Green Construction Board (GCB) is a consultative forum for the government and the UK design, construction, infrastructure and property industries in order to ensure a sustained high level conversation and to develop and implement a long term strategic framework for the promotion of innovation and sustainable growth. Find out more by visiting www.greenconstructionboard.org/.

3.The GREAT Britain initiative is an international campaign to showcase the very best of what Britain has to offer to encourage the world to visit, study and do business with the UK. Find out more about the initiative by visiting www.gov.uk.

4.To provide clarity of purpose and strength of leadership a sector council has been created to own and oversee the implementation of the industrial strategy for construction. The new Construction Leadership Council will be jointly chaired by the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills and Sir David Higgins, Chief Executive of Network Rail.

Members of the Council include:

  • Rt Hon Vince Cable MP, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, co-chair
  • Sir David Higgins, Network Rail, co-chair
  • Rt Hon Michael Fallon MP, Minister of State
  • Mark Clare, Barratt Developments
  • Louise Clarke (CIRIA), 2050 Group
  • Geoff Cooper (Travis Perkins), Construction Products Association
  • Paul Golby, EPSRC
  • Iain Gray, Technology Strategy Board
  • Peter Hansford, Government Chief Construction Adviser
  • Terry Hill (Arup), UKTI Construction Sector Advisory Group
  • Steve Hindley (MIDAS), CBI Construction Council
  • Paul Kavanagh (Imtech UK), Specialist Engineering Contractors Group
  • Kevin Louch (Stanford Industrial Concrete Flooring), National Specialist Contractors’ Council
  • Judy Lowe, Construction Industry Training Board
  • Liz Male, TrustMark
  • Adrian Penfold, British Land
  • Tony Pidgley, Berkley Group
  • Jack Pringle (Pringle Brandon Perkins + Will), Construction Industry Council
  • Mike Putnam (Skanska), Green Construction Board
  • Neil Sachdev, Sainsbury’s
  • Paul Sheffield, Kier
  • Geoffrey Spence, Infrastructure UK
  • Anna Stewart, Laing O’Rourke
  • James Stewart, KPMG
  • Steve Murphy, UCATT
  • Mark Wakeford (Stepnell), Construction Alliance
  • Andrew Wolstenholme (Crossrail), ERG/IUK Joint Steering Committee

5.The government’s economic policy objective is to achieve ‘strong, sustainable and balanced growth that is more evenly shared across the country and between industries’. It set four ambitions in the ‘Plan for Growth’, published at Budget 2011:

  • to create the most competitive tax system in the G20
  • to make the UK the best place in Europe to start, finance and grow a business
  • to encourage investment and exports as a route to a more balanced economy
  • to create a more educated workforce that is the most flexible in Europe.

Work is underway across government to achieve these ambitions, including progress on more than 250 measures as part of the Growth Review. Developing an Industrial Strategy gives new impetus to this work by providing businesses, investors and the public with more clarity about the long-term direction in which the government wants the economy to travel.