Government unveils new savings plan and an updated infrastructure pipeline


The government has committed to saving £1.7bn from the cost of public projects, and hiring 20,000 construction apprentices, by 2020.

In a new construction strategy published today the government also pledged to roll out BIM level 3 and improve client procurement skills over this parliament.

Treasury minister Lord O’Neill also unveiled an updated infrastructure pipeline with over £100bn of centrally-funded government projects at a launch event at the Institution of Civil Engineers’ headquarters in Whitehall.

The construction strategy builds on Paul Morrell’s last strategy, which covered 2011-2016 and has been credited with saving the government more than £3bn in construction costs and sparking a digital revolution in the sector through its 2016 BIM level 2 mandate.

Morrell’s strategy targeted a 15-20% reduction in spend on construction projects over the last parliament.

The new strategy includes an absolute savings target of £1.7bn - based on today’s costs - rather than another percentage reduction.

A source close to government said: “We saved more than £3bn last parliament. But all the low hanging fruit has been taken, it was probably a lot easier for Paul [Morrell] to cut out the fat. Now it’s really hard work.”

Commenting on the apprentices target, the source added: “Because of the amount of money we’re spending, central government will be supporting 20,000 apprentices over this parliament.”

The government hopes to achieve further cost savings through better use of BIM and adopting whole-life costing.

The strategy also sets out ambitions for smarter procurement, fairer payment, improving digital skills and reducing carbon emissions.

Chancellor George Osborne’s Budget last week revealed the government’s commitment to rolling out BIM level 3. Building has learned the roll-out has been given £15m, more than BIM got in the last parliament.