Construction 2025 Explained
THE UK’s Construction 2025 Report is important, but also quite dull. Here, we bring the document to life, explaining why construction matters, why it needs to change and how to approach the radical targets proposed.
The British government have an Industrial Strategy that supports job creation and economic growth. As part of that Strategy, they are forming partnerships with key, influential sectors – including construction. “Construction 2025” is the strategy developed by industry and the UK Government to improve construction by 2025.
WHY DOES CONSTRUCTION MATTER?
Construction employs nearly 10% of the UK population (equivalent to about 2.9M people) as well as contributing £90 billion to the economy – about 7% of its total. The sector is set to grow by up to 70% between 2013 and 2025, with the total global construction output reaching USD $12 trillion.
“The total global construction output will reach USD $12 trillion by 2025”
The industry creates and maintains the built environment that our society exists in. It’s extremely influential and what happens in it matters, to everyone.
WHY DOES CONSTRUCTION NEED TO CHANGE?
Construction is not working as well as it could be at the moment. And that’s a bit of an understatement.
We’re driven by output – how quickly and cheaply we can deliver built assets – rather than the ultimate outcome they're going to have on that business and our communities. We work in silos and don’t talk to each other. People are out for their own commercial gain. The margins are suicidal so everyone’s looking to price in risk or for contractual slip-ups that mean they can penalise someone else. Adversity is rife and the Forms of Contract we use only encourage it. There’s a low level of innovation, there’s not much knowledge sharing, there’s massive gender imbalance and many young people don’t see it as an appealing place to work.
Of course we’re highlighting the challenges here, but it’s not all bad. In amongst those issues are some incredible people, phenomenal feats of engineering, true innovation, rising stars, and most importantly: enormous potential.
So how do we realise it?
HOW DO WE CHANGE CONSTRUCTION?
In the context of the Construction 2025 report, several measures are proposed. Initially the UK Government and industry’s vision and aspirations are set out across 5 different areas:
1. PEOPLE: For construction to become an industry that is known for its talented and diverse workforce.
2. SMART: To have an industry that is efficient and technologically advanced.
3. SUSTAINABLE: To be an industry that leads the world in low-carbon and green construction exports.
4. GROWTH: For construction to drive growth across the entire economy.
5. LEADERSHIP: An industry with clear leadership from a Construction Leadership Council (formed of Government and Industry representatives).
It also sets four targets:
The four key targets as set out in the UK Government and construction industry’s Construction 2025 Report (©2013 Crown Copyright).
The report goes on to set out a number of short to medium term strategies for achieving the vision and targets.
It talks about adopting building information modelling (BIM) and exporting Britain’s expertise in that area, investing in low carbon technologies, driving up safety standards on smaller projects, focusing on occupational health, creating apprenticeships, clarifying the employment routes into the industry, changing procurement routes and promoting innovation – amongst a number of other areas. The strategy states that “By 2025, construction will be radically transformed”.
Stay with us. We know what face you’re pulling – because we pulled it too.
Yes, the targets are radical. But let’s be frank: reading them when you are flat-out busy and working in the current industry context makes them feel downright ridiculous. All those strategies sound great, but you may feel like they’ve been talked about a thousand times before.
That’s not an unnatural reaction to have. Such feelings really highlight how far behind we are, how bad things have got and how significant the change required actually is. It’s not that the targets are wrong or unrealistic. The shock comes in how far away from them we currently are.
Unfortunately there’s no secret sauce. This is going to come down to people. We created these problems and it’s not beyond our ability to fix them, especially in the technology rich world we now live in.
“This comes down to people. We created these problems and it’s not beyond our ability to fix them, especially in the technology rich world we now live in”
The 50% reduction in time is expected to come from changes to the planning and sign-off bureaucracy to make things slicker. The 33% reduction in cost will be coming from changes to the project delivery process to cut out wasted time and resources.
CHANGE is the key word here.
If you feel like you can’t take part in this because the contract you’re currently working under doesn’t enable you to: CHANGE IT. If you feel like the way you work has always inherently been a bit wasteful: CHANGE IT. If you’re fed-up with adversity: CHANGE IT. If you’re sick of the image that this industry has: LET’S CHANGE IT.
Please don’t think this is a PDF full of dreamy ideas that other people are going to deal with for us. We all need to play our part.
Let’s not be another generation that oversaw a period of status-quo in construction. Let’s be the generation that history remembers as the moment when everything CHANGED.
“Let’s not be another generation that oversaw a period of status-quo in construction. Let’s be the generation that history remembers as the moment when everything changed”
The B1M’s Fred Mills advocates change in the “Construction 2025 Explained” video.
Whilst Construction 2025 is focused on the UK industry, many of the challenges will resonate with those in other markets around the world and the proposed solutions may be just as applicable.
This video contains data and extracts from the UK’s HM Government Construction 2025 Report ©2013 Crown Copyright. Download the report and construction industry infographic for free
here. Image of the Green Mountain Energy Wind Farm (Fluvanna, Texas) courtesy of Leaflet.
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