William Eichler 18 April 2019

A £3m fund launched to improve infrastructure procurement

A £3m fund has been made available for pilot projects that explore new approaches to procurement in housing and council-led infrastructure construction.

Research from the Institute of Civil Engineers in 2017 found that current approaches in infrastructure procurement can hinder productivity, be wasteful, perform poorly, and fail to use technologies that benefit other sectors.

It also found that infrastructure delivery supply chains are locked in cycles of low margins, low investment, variable training standards and dysfunctional relationships, with the end result being construction that is behind schedule and over budget.

The Construction Industry Training Board has launched the £3m fund in order to discover better procurement practices.

‘While other sectors have seen increases in productivity in recent decades, construction has lagged behind with weak approaches to procurement playing a key role,’ said Steve Radley, CITB director of strategy and policy.

‘We want to explore new and more collaborative ways of working that can improve supply chain relationships within procured projects, meaning more housing and infrastructure delivered on time and on budget to the benefit of clients and the construction industry alike.’

Alasdair Reisner, chief executive of the Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA), said: ‘Our members are seeing significant changes in the way that the sector’s customers are engaging their suppliers, moving away from old transactional approaches to create a whole new business model for the sector.

‘Leading clients are looking to work in long-term relationships that are focussed on delivering outstanding outcomes for users, while harnessing new technologies to build more productively.

‘Industry needs to harness this new productivity, and we hope that this procurement commission can play a part in securing this.’

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