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Trade bodies welcome sector deal

04 December 2017

Electrotechnical and engineering services trade body the ECA and the Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) have both welcomed the government’s decision to focus on improving productivity as a key element of its special ‘sector deal’ with construction.

Construction has been chosen as a front runner alongside life sciences, artificial intelligence and the automotive industry for a new partnership between government, academia and business as part of the government’s new Industrial Strategy. Other sectors to benefit from similar deals will be announced next year.

The construction sector deal could involve around £250m in extra investment, designed to improve the industry’s output and underpin plans to increase house building and infrastructure development, according to Business Secretary Greg Clark.  The agreement includes £170m to be spent on R&D and innovation targeted at improving the industry’s productivity. Construction businesses will be encouraged to match the funding.

Paul Reeve, ECA Director of Business, welcomed the new sector deal, but said: “the built environment should be seen ‘in the widest sense’ in order to maximize the benefits of the deal”, which he said had been proposed to government on the basis of whole life asset value “and not just for asset owners, but society as a whole”.

BESA’s Legal and Commercial Director Rob Driscoll said the announcement was: “hugely positive” and demonstrated that the government recognised the important role played by built environment professionals in delivering “social, economic and healthcare benefits”.

“Part of improving construction productivity must be a focus on the ‘whole life’ performance of the built environment i.e. ensuring that assets are designed and delivered in such a way that they continue to be fit for purpose throughout their operating life,” said Mr Driscoll.

BESA and the ECA said they looked forward to “working with the government and our industry partners to deliver these targets.”

Mr. Reeve added:Boosting industry productivity is possible, notably by engaging fully with digital processes and procurement, but to underpin productivity, the supply chain must also be involved early, and paid reliably.”