UK construction body unveils plan to boost industry productivity by 25%
28 September 2023
A UK-government sponsored body that aims to lead transformation in the construction industry, has set out a plan to boost productivity in the industry by 25%.
The Construction Leadership Council (CLC) said that the measures it is recommending could result in a potential £45 billion (€51.9 billion) in savings and additional value.
The CLC’s analysis, which draws on ONS data and existing industry research, explores why average productivity per worker in construction lags 13.5% behind the wider economy.
It has set out three key areas of focus for improving productivity. They are:
- Better preparation: creating a productive environment to develop and deliver projects; through reforming the planning process for housing and major infrastructure projects; showing consistent leadership in project scope, creating more effective delivery teams, improving supply chain relationships and more collaborative working during the design process; delivering a potential 17% productivity boost and £30billion (€34.6 billion) in annual value added.
- Better building: delivering construction more productively; through maximising the use of Modern Methods of Construction, supporting workers in the industry to re-skill and extending their careers; and reducing re-work through the elimination of errors; delivering a potential 7% productivity boost and £12.7billion (€14.7 billion) in annual value added.
- Better business: supporting our industry to do business more productively; through supporting digital investment for SMEs, better utilisation of capital and improved data on productivity at a sector level; delivering a potential 2% productivity boost and £2.8bn in annual value added.
The report includes a series of recommendations and measures for industry and government to follow, many of which are built on already existing programmes of work; highlights of these include:
- Reform planning: Allow industry to pay increased planning fees in returned for guaranteed standards of performance, learning from the best of the current planning authorities who already deliver efficiently.
- Streamline planning data: Creating and champion a new data framework that enables digitisation of the Planning system
- Showing consistent leadership in infrastructure planning: Adopt the proposed National Infrastructure Commission recommendations around accelerating the planning process for Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects.
- Supply chain development: Work with the industry to bring about widespread fair and balanced commercial terms and payment practices.
- Enhanced quality and assurance; both culturally on large programmes and to understand the link between enhanced competence of domestic builders to improve quality and productivity and if sufficient, introduce licensing.
- Set out a clear policy and regulatory roadmap to accelerate domestic retrofit across UK housing stock.
- Organise government project data: Implement the information management framework within government procurements to drive consistency and efficiency for clients and asset owners.
Richard Robinson, deputy chair of the Construction Leadership Council and chief executive officer, UK & Europe at AtkinsRealis, said, “Improving the construction industry’s productivity offers the UK one of our largest economic opportunities. If we can build faster, at a reduced cost, we can spur growth and job creation across the UK – delivering the places and infrastructure our communities want and our economy needs without delay.
“At a time when construction costs and the complexities of planning policy are rightly under scrutiny within the UK, this latest report from the CLC lays out the scale of the opportunity and sets out a roadmap to partner with Government to help us realise it. This isn’t just something that benefits our industry – it’s something that could be transformative for the entire country.”