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UK Government publishes Construction Playbook to ensure fast and green public construction projects

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The UK Government is moving to ensure public construction projects are delivered faster, better and greener, with the release of the new Construction Playbook. 

Construction will be central to the UK’s recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, with Boris Johnson promising to ‘build back better’. Although, the Prime Minister has been very specific that he wants the UK to lead the green revolution, meaning any construction projects will have to take into account their impact on the environment. 

With all that in mind, the Construction Playbook has been published to offer some guidelines on how to build back better for both the country and the environment. The recommendations include: 

  • Focusing on longer term contracting to give necessary certainty to business, improve productivity and increase efficiency
  • Encouraging innovation
  • Modern methods of construction and increased use of BIM and digital technologies
  • Focus on direct employment, apprenticeships and training and value for money in public developments

Reception to the Construction Playbook

The Joint Industry Board (JIB) has been speaking to the government through the Department for Business, Energy, Innovation and Skills, and the Construction Leadership Council (CLC), about the gold standard for employment JIB member companies achieve operating under the National Working Rule Agreements. This includes the excellent reputation JIB member companies have for direct employment, apprenticeships and training and JIB member companies are well placed to meet the terms of the Construction Playbook.

Andy Mitchell, industry-side co-chair of the Construction Leadership Council, said the Playbook “aims to embed a new approach to the procurement and delivery of construction projects and programmes, which is more collaborative, engages the whole supply chain, encourages investment in innovation and skills, and supports a more sustainable, resilient and profitable industry, capable of delivering higher quality, safer and better performing built assets for its clients.”

He continued, “It will create the foundation for a new approach to construction, where we can utilise digital and offsite manufacturing technologies to increase the capability of the industry and accelerate the delivery of built assets. It will also aim to deliver a better and fairer industry, with stronger and more open relationships between the industry and its clients, fewer disputes, and more equitable contractual terms, that ensure prompt and fair payment and a balanced allocation of risk, where these are managed by the organisation best placed to do so. Finally, it will help ensure that investment in construction projects creates the greatest economic, social and environmental value possible, and contributes to the delivery of strategic policy objectives such as our legal obligation to achieve net zero carbon by 2050 and levelling up across the UK.”

The Construction Playbook also references the minimum weighting of 10% social value which should be applied to procurement for central government contracts under Procurement Policy Note 06/20, which again puts JIB member companies in a strong position to highlight the benefits of direct employment, apprenticeships, industry recognised terms and conditions, modern slavery and skills development.

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