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Government response to Low Carbon Construction IGT reportJune 2011

The government response to the Construction Innovation and Growth Team (IGT) report was launched by Mark Prisk, Construction Minister, on 22nd June called the Low Carbon Construction Action Plan downloadable from the Department of Business Innovation & Skills website.

Addressing a significant gathering of senior members of industry, the Minister was at pains to stress that the work of the IGT had already found its way into a number of initiatives already published and was formed into policy. The Treasury "Plan for Growth" had adopted the need to reduce the regulatory burden on industry and specifically targeted house builders in a moratorium on new regulation. The "UK Construction Strategy" has responded to the forward workload planning request by agreeing to publish a two-year rolling government construction procurement programme. The strategy also created a Construction Procurement Board designed to bring together the main buying departments to improve government's role as a client. In a further response to the IGT recommendations the role of Building Information Modelling (BIM) has now been firmly adopted with a target of projects in excess of £5M to adopt BIM with 5 years.

With this background it was unsurprising that the formal response to the IGT was more a summary of things already in train rather than a tranche of new initiatives. However the Minister made it clear that he was delighted at the level of input into the IGT process and that he did not want the enthusiasm of the group to die with the issue of the report. Expressing his opinion that UK is seen throughout the world as a world class constructor he has agreed to chair, along with the Chief Construction Advisor Paul Morrell, a new "Green Construction Board" that is intended to maintain and develop leadership of the sector.

As yet the composition of the Board has not been agreed but it is intended to be a "doing" organisation comprising individuals with commitment and capacity to build the sector.

The IGT report itself contained 65 recommendations. Many have been already "adopted" by industry organisations and these are shown in the report's action plan. Others have yet to find a champion and are open to industry to support progression.

In his response to the Minister, Chief Construction Adviser Paul Morrell, stressed the importance being placed on helping create a market where integrated working could offer better value for money as well as achieving the low carbon targets that are being set. He cited the use of the BSRIA Soft Landings process as one example of how industry itself was developing processes to generate improvements and pointed to the many other initiatives that were being carried forward through the various umbrella bodies. At the conclusion of the meeting the participants were invited to submit specific examples of work moving to meet the IGT recommendations so that they could be added to the growing volume of knowledge that the new Green Construction Board could point to inn developing its future plans.

With the large number of construction-related policy announcements over the past few months, it is clear that our industry is no longer a passenger in the economy but has a key place in economic policy. The IGT process may be over now but it is clear that the planning for its outcomes has yet to be completed.

Andrew Eastwell
Chief Executive, BSRIA