Government Construction Strategy

What’s happened to the Government Construction Strategy?060111_1314_GovernmentC1.png

Firstly, I have to say I like the Government Construction Strategy (The Strategy). It was concise in articulating

  • the need for change,
  • proposing what needs to be done and
  • formulating an implementation plan.

In doing so, The Strategy was practicing what it preached by demonstrating clear leadership, one of its important tenets. Separate task groups implemented the plan and after 12 months, there was an update report. At the same time, Building held the first of what has become an annual Construction Summit, with the principal aim of coordinating the key messages and progress of the Strategy.

As I’ve blogged on the Strategy (previous posts link) and I wanted to review progress; not least because as we enter 2015, I was reminded that the principal objective of The Strategy was to reduce costs by up to 20% by the end of this Parliament (i.e. May 2015).

So what’s happened with the implementation of the Strategy?

In short, a lot has happened. Each task group has delivered outputs, with reports available on the Government website. The BIM Task Group has been the most visible with their own micro-site and twitter feed and has been instrumental in setting standards and coordinating the development of industry capability. Progress with procurement has seen the production of guidance on new procurement models and numerous trial projects take place. Moreover, work of the procurement task group has merged with Infrastructure UK who have *quietly* produced some outstanding documents on improving delivery in relation to the Project Initiation Routemap. And there is plenty more positive progress on, amongst other things, soft landings, developing client capability.

However, it’s unclear to me how the Government has done in relation to its original target for cost (and carbon) reduction. The 12 month update indicates savings, but there is, to my knowledge, no subsequent publication that clearly articulates progress. Don’t we need to understand how the Government has actually performed against the key objectives?

I have previously challenged whether The Strategy would result in any lasting change? On this note, in the interview with Stef Stefanou (£ Building) he lamented that despite being an industrial reformer, he no longer believes the industry will ever change. It’s my concern, that whilst there are persuasive arguments for change, we are a long way from reaching the tipping point of a more productive way of delivery.

The Strategy is a good document, a lot of good work that has taken place, however the question has be “how much influence has it really had?”

Keeling Curve hits 400 …

Keeling_Curve_Over400The Keeling Curve is important as it measures the amount of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere. It keeps rising as the graph illustrates. The data has been collated by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography since 1958 when the level was approximately 315.

Why is this important?

Well the SAFE LEVEL of CO2 in the atmosphere is deemed to be 350, which was passed in the late-1980’s. This heightened awareness about climate change resulting in the Earth Summit at Rio de Janerio in 1992 and subsequently the United Nations Framework Convention for Climate Change. The inextricable rise of the graph indicates a growth of between one and two points per year (the long term trend is 1.5 ppm increase per year), and this trend is accelerating. It needs to be reversed, hence the initiatives to reduce carbon in the atmosphere (CO2 is not the only contributor to climate change)

So, what happens if it’s not reversed?

Well there is a TIPPING POINT of CO2 in the atmosphere which is deemed to be


beyond which level of atmospheric C02 will be irreversible. At the rate of increase in the late 1980’s this was anticipated to be 2050. Hence the Kyoto Protocol and commitment to reduce carbon emissions by 80% by 2050. However, the rate is increasing; for the past decade it’s been 2ppm per year, so we are likely to reach tipping point sooner – 25 years or 2040!

Whilst we might be undertaking plenty of initiatives to reduce carbon, we as a planet are still producing more carbon. With, inter alia, population rise and the transition of less developed countries, the demand for carbon-producing activities continues to rise.

The rise of CO2 in the atmosphere is not abating and suddenly 2050 2040 is not so far away. It’s now 25 years since we broke through the safe limit, and unless we continue to act now, the prospects for future generations should the tipping point be reached are bleak.

Are we / are you doing enough?