Buildoffsite’s response to the Proposal for a New Approach to Building

In order to achieve the objectives of its Transforming Infrastructure Performance (TIP) programme, Transport Infrastructure Efficiency Strategy (TIES), Construction Sector Deal and Industrial Strategy, the government is committed to using its investment in social and economic infrastructure and supporting the construction sector to:

  • increase productivity;
  • drive innovation;
  • develop and train workers in the skills they will need in the future; and
  • improve the delivery, performance (including energy use) and information management of built assets to build a globally competitive sector.

Adopting digital and manufacturing techniques wherever appropriate in government-led building projects will help drive better performance in the construction sector and ultimately achieve the above goals.

At Autumn Budget 2017 the government committed to leveraging its buying power to support modernisation of the construction sector and create a stable cross-government pipeline of demand by announcing that five central government departments (the Ministry of Justice, Department of Health and Social Care, Department for Education, Department for Transport and Ministry of Defence) would adopt a presumption in favour of offsite construction. It also announced an investment of £170m to support innovation and skills in the industry as part of the Construction Sector Deal.

While the government recognise that there are other potential approaches which could improve performance in government-led building projects and we remain open to further proposals, the government are setting out a proposed approach to building, to be adopted across government departments, which is aligned to these commitments. This has been called a platform approach to design for manufacture and assembly or “P-DfMA”. By proposing details of a specific approach on how the presumption in favour could, where it represents value for money, be implemented and developed over time as part of departments’ capital programmes, P-DfMA builds on the progress already made in a number of sectors which use offsite construction. It will be underpinned by significant further research, as part of the £170m Construction Sector Deal, to design, test, provide assurance for and develop the components, standards and practices needed to support it.

Here you will find Buildoffsite’s (abridged) response to this call for evidence, which we hope reflects the thoughts of our members.

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