The construction sector is vital to the regional and national economy, impacts the lives of everyone in the UK and even before the COVID-19 pandemic some radical change was underway with more expected. Worth over 8% of UK economic output (£413 billion contribution), the sector had seen growth each year since 2013 and there are over 3.1m jobs, including contracting (2.3m), associated manufacturing and professional services across the country (over 160,000 of these are in the North West). However, the construction industry has been under pressure in recent years to improve practices and processes, including through the adoption of new technologies and innovations to reduce costs and timescales.
The UK Industrial Strategy has set the aim of transforming construction techniques to improve efficiency, by taking advantage of new technologies to provide cleaner, greener and more affordable places to live. To do this, the Industrial Strategy lays out an intention to ensure UK businesses are at the forefront of developing world-leading capabilities including integrating cross-sector technologies and processes. In support of this, the UK government published a Construction Sector Deal.
The Construction Sector Deal offered strategic guidance of the intention of the UK government to create a long-term, ambitious partnership between industry and the public sector. This partnership would result in the transformation of the sector (particular sector and workforce productivity levels) through the use of innovative technologies and a highly skilled workforce.
More specifically, the Sector Deal aims to support the construction industry in delivering:
- Better performing building that take less time and money to build
- Cleaner, greener buildings that are more affordable homes and workplaces
- Better jobs, including more routes to employment such as apprenticeships
- Better value for taxpayers
- A globally-competitive sector that exports more, specifically to the global infrastructure market