Industry responds to government’s £600bn infrastructure pipeline plans

Infrastructure sector leaders have responded warmly to the government’s ten-year £600bn National Infrastructure and Construction Pipeline and welcomed the focus on improving productivity to generate £15bn savings a year.

Jason Millett, Mace’s chief operating officer for consultancy, said: “As a British firm working with government to deliver some of our most complex programmes and projects, Mace welcomes the publication of both the revised infrastructure pipeline and this new guidance. Transforming our infrastructure delivery in the UK has the potential to radically improve our productivity and so deliver more sustainable growth for the economy as whole.

“It’s fantastic to see such a healthy infrastructure investment pipeline boost. Combined with the recently announced £170m construction sector deal, these new policies show a clear commitment from the government to work with the private sector to change how we design and deliver infrastructure for the better. It’s now up to contractors and consultants to show that we’re up to the challenge.”

David Whysall, head of infrastructure south and UK commercial services at Turner & Townsend, said: “These strategies are not only positive steps for UK infrastructure, but an early indication of what could be possible across construction as we implement the new sector deal. The important achievement here is that we have a set of practical, measurable and realistic steps which are shared across industry. In transport, we now have a clear efficiency agenda that’s supported by all of the major infrastructure delivery operators.

“Efficiency isn’t simply defined as slashing costs and driving down supply margins, but working together to achieve better performance throughout delivery and the whole life of assets, ultimately leading to better outcomes for customers. This relies on embracing a data and technological revolution, using benchmarks to understand and improve performance, and developing stronger, and more sustainable relationships through an integrated supply chain.”

Whysall said he was particularly pleased to see the emphasis on alignment of operating models across infrastructure programmes as well as improving project and programme initiation and set up. “By better coordinating the set up and approach to our mega-projects, the industry will respond by establishing new delivery models, and make the much-needed investments in modern technology, off-site manufacture and logistics capabilities,” he said.

Nelson Ogunshakin, chief executive of the Association for Consultancy and Engineering, said: “We’re pleased to see a focus on productivity and encouraging the adoption of new digital and manufacturing technologies. As a sector, we look forward to working closely with the IPA which will co-ordinate infrastructure delivery across disparate Whitehall departments.

“However, we need to reiterate our message to Government that we cannot allow the final fifteen months of the Brexit negotiations to derail delivery of this Investment Pipeline. We need the current focus on infrastructure to remain, even if Brexit looms ever larger over Westminster.”

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