BRE rallies sector to act collaboratively now to deliver the Construction 2025 strategy

Construction 2025 is the joint strategy from government and industry for the future of the UK construction sector. Construction 2025 sets out challenging industry targets that include: 50% reduction in trade gap; 33% lower costs; 50% lower emissions; 50% faster delivery.

BRE, in collaboration with public and private industry partners, takes seriously its obligations to contribute to meet the Construction 2025 targets through its leadership role and directly by the solutions and services its develops for industry.

BRE solutions include cutting edge research to develop a range of products, services, standards and qualifications that are used to bring about better productivity and quality. These include the global market leading BREEAM suite of products, and BIM that improves the quality of information provided at the design and construction phases.

BRE Academy delivers a range of high quality, affordable online & classroom courses for the built environment. YellowJacket and SMARTWaste are online tools produced and managed by BRE to measure waste, energy consumption and transportation on construction sites, as well as related CO2 emissions, water use, timber procurement, health, safety, quality and process efficiency.

Simon Cross, BRE Construction Sector Business Lead and a Member of the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) and Chair of one of its Innovation in Buildings workstreams, says: “As we move inexorably towards 2025, construction, over the past 20 years, productivity increase has been negligible (1%) compared to many other comparable industries. It has become the laggard as other sectors have forged ahead.

“The consequences for construction are shrinking contractor margins, a lack of investment in R&D and a skills deficit to other industries that have or are perceived to be more progressive or attractive. I’m calling for all of us in the sector to work collaboratively and at pace to meet our challenges and the Construction 2025 Strategy targets.”

Cross has outlined the following 10 factors that provide a provocation for us together to act upon our immediate and future needs, to meet the Construction 2025 Strategy targets and to create greater resilience in the sector:

1. The construction industry has the potential to be 20-40% more efficient which would significantly increase operating margins, provide R&D capital, and develop sector resilience.

2. Skills and training are essential to meet the immediate workforce challenges of Brexit and adaptation to an increasingly technologically driven workplace, including on construction sites.

3. Digital technology, including BIM, needs to be embraced because it improves measurability of economic, environmental and social indicators which provide the evidence to improve performance.

4. Offsite and advanced industrialised manufacturing adaptation is vital for the sector to attract talent, improve efficiencies, expedite build times, enhance environmental performance and increase operating margins.

5. Changes in construction company business models are essential to embrace the potential of digitisation and industrialisation.

6. Disruption should be welcomed as it will move the industry forward, make it more attractive to a graduate and skilled workforce, and ultimately make the sector more resilient.

7. Knowledge transfer from other progressive sectors e.g. automotive and aerospace should be fostered to accelerate learning and implementation of advanced industrial manufacturing – the sector benefits, UK Plc benefits.

8. Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), through the cultivation and exploitation of knowledge partnerships and via the initiation of practical applications (where gaps are identified), needs to be strengthened.

9. Export markets are increasingly critical as we transition to Brexit, so the sector must maximize the opportunity of its positive international reputation for delivering high performance standards, underpinned by an evidence first approach.

10. Clusters of Excellence should be encouraged to stimulate the innovations the sector requires to meet its productivity challenges. Critically, they need to be developed at scale, aligned with Construction 2025 Strategy targets, and have measurable outcomes.

Cross says: “Construction can no longer continue its business as usual approach. Together, we must adapt to offsite and advanced industrialised manufacturing, embrace digital technology and up-skill our workforce. We practically must work together at pace and with pragmatic ambition to meet our present challenges and future needs, and in doing so become a more resilient industry.”

Simon Cross presents his vision ‘Productive Quality within Construction’ at UK Construction Week, NEC Birmingham, 4.30pm-5pm on 10 October.