House of Lords report calls for construction sector overhaul

A report published by the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee has declared that a “radical overhaul” of the construction sector is needed to meet UK Infrastructure needs.

The report was launched at One Great George Street
The report was launched at One Great George Street
  • Updated: 20 July, 2018
  • Author: Amy Cox
The report entitled a 'Off-site manufacture for construction: Building for change' states that the construction sector as it currently operates cannot meet the UK's need for housing and may struggle to meet the need for infrastructure.

Launched at One Great George Street, the Home of Infrastructure, the report found the construction industry too ‘‘fragmented’’ to implement widespread off-site manufacturing, which requires early collaboration between clients, designers and contractors.

Contributors to the report included Martin Chown, member of the ICE lead Infrastructure Client Group (ICG); who gave evidence exploring the barriers to offsite construction.

In Chown’s evidence session he used the opportunity to showcase Project 13 to the committee and explained it had been launched to change how projects went to market and to improve collaborative procurement.

Project 13 was welcomed in the report as a way in which industry has addressed business models to make the more effective.

The report also highlighted the skills gap and said Government must ensure that the next generation entering the workplace have the skills for modern construction needs.

Responding to the report Nick Baveystock, Director General of ICE, said: “We are pleased to see the House of Lords’ report on offsite manufacturing. In order to improve infrastructure delivery, lift productivity levels and raise the performance of infrastructure networks, new thinking like this is important.

“We believe the move toward offsite manufacturing will have multiple positive impacts. It offers the opportunity to reduce the costs to the public over the lifetime of assets, to rebalance jobs more equitably across the country, and to minimise the disruption to communities during the construction process. In the last budget, five government departments agreed to a ‘presumption in favour’ of using offsite manufacturing from 2019, and this report indicates the need for success measures of that. It is becoming clear that this is the prevailing direction of travel for UK infrastructure.

“We are also pleased to see the committee’s interest in, and recognition of, the industry-led initiative, Project 13. This programme seeks to establish a new approach within the construction sector—based on an enterprise, not on traditional transactional arrangement. Better efficiency with off-site manufacturing was top of the agenda in the government’s delayed construction sector deal, which was published earlier this month. "

Read the House of Lords' report on the Parliament website.