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Government and industry have jointly launched a Construction Sector Deal worth £420m to transform productivity in the sector.
The deal aims to bring a “bytes and mortar revolution” to construction through digital building design and manufacturing technologies, which the government said would cut the time taken to deliver new-builds by 50%.
The sector deal paper said industry and government would work together to support the “adoption of new construction technologies and techniques developed through the Transforming Construction programme.
“The Transforming Construction programme will drive innovation and collaboration in the sector through investing in research and technology centres that can support this, and funding R&D and demonstration projects that will enable the development and testing of digitally designed and manufactured buildings and infrastructure,” the document said.
The construction sector will also develop “common metrics methodology for the capture and analysis of data on the use of smart construction in the housing sector”. This will include a data dashboard and a series of case studies.
Launching the partnership between government and industry at the Northern Powerhouse Summit today (5 July), business and energy secretary Greg Clark described it as the biggest government investment in construction for “at least a decade”.
“The construction industry is fundamental to growing our economy as we build to invest in our future,” he said. “Major infrastructure projects like HS2 and the commitment to deliver 1.5 million homes by 2022 mean we need a construction sector that can drive innovation, delivering homes and infrastructure quicker.”
The deal also means the government will work with the Construction Industry Training Board to ensure “a strategic focus on future skills” and increase apprenticeships.
It will aim to boost jobs and skills in the sector, with £34m of the funding being used to expand innovative construction training programmes throughout the UK, upskilling the existing workforce.
It will also support exports in the sector to target the growing international infrastructure market.
Trade secretary Liam Fox said British firms were at the “forefront of innovation in the construction and infrastructure sector and the government’s new sector deal will ensure that even more of our businesses have the confidence to do business in overseas countries”.