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Watts Bulletin (Issue 141)

Welcome to the July issue of the Watts Bulletin and a month in which government departments and industry bodies have been busy issuing a range of new regulations, consultations and initiatives in advance of the summer holidays.

In this edition, we take a look at the government’s new industrial construction strategy (not to be confused with the Construction Strategy). This new initiative sets targets for reductions in time, cost, carbon emissions and the trade gap in construction materials and products, while setting out a vision of the UK construction industry that the new Construction Leadership Council aims to achieve by 2025.

Changes to the Building Regulations came into effect in July and we outline the details of these and the proposals for a revised ACOP for managing and working with asbestos. We also consider the impact of the new Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) Complex Projects Contract and the new rules now in force which have raised the threshold for design and access statements. Finally, the RICS has updated its guidance for those providing residential condition surveys. The aim is to give more flexibility to chartered surveyors working in this sector while making the products they offer more consistent.

Watts Bulletin (Issue 141)

Government collaborates with industry to launch new vision for construction

Property and construction leaders have been working with the government to produce a new industrial strategy, announced this month. The new approach is designed to speed up projects, reduce emissions and costs and cut the trade gap between imports and exports of construction products by 2025.

July Bulletin Main

The strategy identifies ten key commitments set out in a vision for construction that the government hopes will see the industry “radically transformed” by 2025. This vision is for a construction industry that:

  • Attracts and retains a diverse group of multi-talented people working in safer and healthier conditions and which represents a sector of choice for young people when they are choosing their future careers
  • Leads the world in research and innovation
  • Drives and sustains growth
  • Meets and exceeds sustainability targets
  • Benefits from clear direction from a Construction Leadership Council that reflects a strong and enduring partnership between industry and government.

Underpinning these aims are four key strands:

  • A 33% reduction in construction and whole life costs
  • A 50% reduction in the time taken from project inception to completion
  • A 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from buildings
  • A 50% reduction in the trade gap between imports and exports of construction materials and building products.

However, Peter Hansford, the government’s Chief Construction Adviser, told Building magazine (2 July 2013 issue): “This is not about measuring so much as about direction of travel and philosophy...This is not a strategy coming out of government – it’s industry and government together and in that sense is very different to what’s gone before.”

Mr Hansford told Building that the intention was not to “replace or deflect” any other built environment policies such as the Construction Strategy, which is focused on procurement, or the Green Construction Board, but instead the aim was to bring industry and government together in a cohesive vision of what the construction industry should be in 12 years time.

The strategy will be executed by the newly established Construction Leadership Council, jointly headed by Vince Cable, Business Secretary, and David Higgins, Head of Network Rail. The council will comprise 30 other members drawn from government and industry.

For more information and to download the full report, go and search Construction 2025.

For a professional opinion on Construction 2025, speak to Trevor Rushton, Technical Director at Watts Group PLC, on 020 7280 8099.

Do you believe the measures put in place by this new strategy will result in long term improvements within the construction industry? Would you like to see any further measures incorporated into the plan? Let us know your thoughts on Watts’ Twitter page or join the Watts Bulletin group on LinkedIn.

The Watts Bulletin is the technical companion to the Watts Pocket Handbook, the essential guide to property and construction, as used by professionals since 1983.

Watts Bulletin editor: Trevor Rushton.