Government reveals Construction Playbook plan to modernise the industry

Following extensive collaboration from across the public and private sectors to bring together expertise and best practices, the government-backed and long-awaited Construction Playbook has just been published to build on the recently published National Infrastructure Strategy and support the government’s ambition to transform infrastructure networks over the next decade so that the UK can build back better, faster and greener.

The Construction Leadership Council (CLC), through its own members and wider links with the industry, has collaborated and supported the combined efforts of the Cabinet Office and Infrastructure & Projects Authority, with input from across the public sector, to develop the Playbook and to endorse its aim of creating a more strategic relationship between Government and the construction sector.

Andy Mitchell, co-chair of the CLC, said: “The publication of the Construction Playbook is significant. It 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. 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.”

Mitchell said that the Playbook would also 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”. He also said that the publication would also 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 the country’s legal obligation to achieve net zero carbon by 2050 and levelling up across the UK.

Hannah Vickers, chief executive of the Association for Consultancy and Engineering (ACE), commented: “The Construction Playbook is great news for all of our members. It addresses many of the perennial challenges around tactical, short-term procurement approaches. Whether our members are advising clients on routes to markets, procurement strategies, or delivering technical services, the Playbook will ensure that there is a good practice blueprint to refer back to.

“ACE worked in close partnership with the Cabinet Office to develop the Playbook and we’re pleased that so much of our input and insight was taken on board. As a result, I think we’ve got an approach that really works for both industry and government and through the CLC we look forward to continuing this close relationship during the implementation phase.”

Construction Innovation Hub programme director Keith Waller called the Playbook “a critical game-changer in our transformative journey as a sector” and he welcomed the fact that with government the industry now had a collective vision for what the future must look like. “Fundamental transformation has never been more achievable,” said Waller.

Patricia Moore, Turner & Townsend UK managing director, said: “As government is the construction industry’s number one client, the Playbook is also a further piece of the jigsaw which sets the standard for how public works are delivered from conception through to implementation. Over the long-term, if we want to build a construction sector with a global reputation for excellence that is ready to seize export opportunities, the industry needs to transform. This requires a new, shared ethos with a modern methodology creating smarter relationships across industry, which is embodied by the playbook.”

Jon Kelly, WSP strategic growth director, welcomed the Playbook’s publication as an indication that the government understood the power of construction as a catalyst for change and progress. “By promoting modern methods of construction and ensuring their adoption in public procurement becomes the norm, government gives the private sector the confidence to continue investing in these innovative solutions and redouble its efforts to deliver measurable social value, in line with the announced framework,” said Kelly 

“On the whole, the Construction Playbook should be welcomed as a game changer in the way public and private sector collaborate. . . and while it is not the silver bullet that will solve all challenges associated with upgrading our public realm and infrastructure to be fit for a net zero, inclusive and resilient 21st century, it certainly is the catalyst the industry was hoping for and the public deserves.”

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