Industry cites lack of clarity in 2016 government construction strategy
The government has recently published a paper outlining its construction strategy until 2020, which will see efficiency saving totalling £1.7bn. The Treasury’s document also outlines plans for supporting 20,000 apprentices in the industry over the same period.
The Infrastructure & Projects Authority (IPA) report outlines the government’s ideals for fairer transactions and cleverer procurement going forwards. The plans are intended to cover all elements of the construction industry, from bricks and mortar to bespoke tensile fabric structures.
Lack of clarity
Sections of the industry are calling for more clarity, despite the commitment to continued support of building information modelling (BIM). The current plans focus on BIM level 2 and ensuring it is embedded properly before level 3 is targeted at a later date.
Working with industry
The government intends to develop digital standards to allow businesses to embrace BIM level 3 under the Digital Built Britain Strategy umbrella. Some nominated departments will run trials to understand how far-reaching the benefits might be, although others feel more immediate and wide-ranging action is required.
The IPA is trying to push departments to use project bank accounts if not already doing so; speed up payments to smaller companies further down the line; and make the whole process fairer. They are using Highways England as an example of how this best practice works. Critics complain that there is a long list of associated bureaucracy that goes with the practice, including meetings to be held and matrices to be developed.
The IPA team for construction will work with the government and departments to assess the capability of construction clients. The output of these reviews will be assessed by the Client Capability Working Group (CCWG) and specific actions for improvement will be delivered for each construction client.
While some sectors are nervous about a lack of clarity and a need for recommendations to be adopted across the board by other public sector clients, the Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA) is confident in the IPA’s plans, believing the government strategy will deliver more productivity. Companies such as http://fabricarchitecture.com/ are likely to be following developments closely.
Industry influencers will be monitoring the progress keenly over the coming months.