Muted response from built environment sector to Budget 2013

BudgetThere’s been a muted reaction by the building and construction sector to the Budget announcement of a boast to infrastructure investment and relief that revised energy management regulations are likely to be pushed through. CIBSE has welcomed the news that the Government will be giving a detailed response to last year’s Consultation on changes to Part L of the Building Regulations, which covers energy efficiency, by May 2013. The body which represents building services engineers had raised concerns that delays in changes to Part L of Building Regulations in England should not hold up much needed, cost beneficial changes to Part L for the non-domestic market.

In an article published in the December issue of CIBSE’s official magazine, CIBSE Journal, Technical Director, Hywel Davies had outlined concerns over a failure to sort out changes in relation to domestic buildings.

The Consultation on changes was launched in January 2012, and CIBSE has argued the uncertainty over 2013 changes to Part L is holding back activity and causing additional costs in the sector, with a potential cost both in terms of energy saving opportunities and to businesses committed to better building performance.

However commenting on the government’s promise of an additional £3bn of capital investment in new infrastructure projects, Simon Rubinsohn, RICS Chief Economist said: “The £3bn a  year announced by the Chancellor is welcome but will not come on stream until 2015-16 – far too late for many businesses that are struggling now. Our members have told us repeatedly that the success of infrastructure projects is about delivery on the ground.  RICS believe Government should spend more time and resource in supporting business to gain access to these public sector projects.

“The Government has largely failed to realise that infrastructure projects don’t need to be big to be effective in creating growth. In fact small might very well be beautiful.”

And Stephen Ratcliffe Director of the UK Contractors Group (UKCG) said: “What the construction industry wanted most of all was more assurance that government is focussing on delivery of projects but there is little detail about for example what the Treasury guarantees (announced last summer) have achieved and how deal flow in the public sector pipeline will be speeded up. The promised review of Whitehall’s capability to deliver projects will bring no immediate changes.”

by Sara Bean