Government public sector construction reforms net £447 million in savings

Government public sector construction reforms net £447 million in savings

Reforms to strip out inefficiencies in public sector construction – including the use of building information modelling (BIM) and the creation of a sustainable supply chain have generated £447 million in savings and will deliver up to 20 per cent savings in project costs by 2015, Cabinet Office Minister Chloe Smith has announced. By making links across departments the Government has also been able to act as a single customer to the construction industry and provide clear benchmarks for budgets by setting out the average price it expects to pay for projects. The Government has now published a new set of benchmarks that are designed to drive down project costs even further and encourage the industry to offer more competitive and innovative solutions.

Speaking at the annual Government Construction Summit attended by suppliers, contractors and those responsible for public sector construction projects, Chloe Smith said: “Government is a good client who pays on time and invests in projects that make an important economic impact to help the UK compete in the global race.

“We’ve always been ambitious in our plans to reform public sector construction, and the £447 million in savings generated by acting as a single customer shows just how we are spending public money more intelligently.”

“Working more collaboratively has identified where we can strip out unnecessary waste in construction projects and test out innovative models to help businesses of all sizes win government contracts.”

Some examples of projects where the Government has tested new ways to be more efficient are:

  • Ministry of Justice is building a new youth justice institution at Cookham Wood at 20 per cent less than the expected cost by focusing on early collaboration between contractors, utilising innovative building information modelling (BIM) technology to identify problems early and using a range of other efficiency measures.
  • Surrey County Council/May Gurney’s Five Year Highway Programme has focused on sustainability to create a wider integrated supply chain, sharing their success with other authorities and their suppliers to significantly increase the amount of recycling of construction material in the South East.
  • Highways Agency has been using Project Bank Accounts on all contracts awarded post October 2011, and nearly £2.2 billion of spend on government construction projects has already been paid via Project Bank Accounts since their introduction. This improves the speed and security of payment to members of construction supply chains down to tier 3 within a matter of days.

Civil Engineering Contactors Association (CECA) director of external affairs Alasdair Reisner said has organisation had welcomed the chance to be involved with this work, and were: “Pleased to see that the results are starting to emerge, producing sustainable savings that reduce the cost of construction for the taxpayer. We hope that the new approaches will be adopted widely, creating a leaner and more competitive industry that delivers exemplary results for its customers.”

Added CEO of Constructing Excellence Don Ward: “The early findings of the trial projects monitored by Constructing Excellence already point to smarter procurement delivering significant improvements in value for money for the public purse. Of course it is key to ensure savings do not impact on safety, quality or whole life performance, and our monitoring will focus on this as well as capital cost savings.”