Industry experts express concerns about £420m sector deal

“We have really struggled in the industry for decades about what are we doing and where are we going.”


Leading construction figures have expressed their concern about whether the sector can deliver on the £420m research and development and innovation deal launched last July.

Speaking at the 2019 Futurebuild conference alongside the likes of Rider Levett Buckwall director Ann Bentley and the UK Research and Innovation’s challenge director Sam Stacey, Peter Caplehorn – deputy chief executive and policy director of the Construction Products Association – said: “We have really struggled in the industry for decades about what are we doing and where are we going.

“Quite often at the moment we take over a building and we don’t actually know what products are in that building.”

Good Housing Alliance chair Lynne Sullivan expressed  concern around retrofitting, saying: “We don’t talk about it nearly enough.

“We really have to assess the existing stock.”

Also speaking at the conference was Julia Barrett, Director of Re-thinking at Willmott Dixon, who expressed concerns about modular and factory-built housing, saying: “I fear factory set and modular production is being seen as a panacea for all ills.

“I worry about whether we are lulling ourselves into a false sense of security.”

Barrett added: “I would ask whether we have challenged ourselves to go far enough and fast enough.”

Published in July 2018 by the Department for Business after a six-month delay, the £420m sector deal covers research and development and innovation.

The deal aims to:

  • Increase productivity and build homes quicker with less disruption
  • Promote the use of digital design and offsite construction
  • Boost the delivery of the government’s ambition to deliver 1.5 million new homes by 2022
  • Halve the energy use of new-builds by 2030

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