Today, senior leadership across the construction sector attended a virtual event hosted by NBS, The Construction Leaders’ Summit: The Digital Future. Day one of the conference focused on the big levers of change, looking at
political, economic and technological drivers helping senior built environment professionals better understand and prepare for the challenges ahead.
The double-whammy of a pandemic and a recession has made 2020 one of the most challenging and disrupted years in living memory. Digital adoption has ramped up exponentially this year and played an essential part in keeping the sector open for business. However, evolution will not stop there, and delegates heard about the tsunami of change approaching.
Nadhim Zahawi MP, the UK Government’s Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Business and Industry), and the Construction Minister, discussed the Government’s objectives for construction and outlined its commitment to the sector, from decarbonisation and building safety to digital technologies and modular construction. He also touched upon ‘Project Speed’ and the forthcoming Cabinet Office ‘Construction Procurement Playbook’.
The Minister said, “We want to build dozens more hospitals, upgrade hundreds of schools and get thousands of new homes up on the market. We will only achieve this by working in unison, using our position as the sector’s biggest client. Our aim is to drive innovation, spark industry investment and create more opportunities for SMEs to deliver government projects.”
He concluded his speech by saying, “I spoke today about greener, quicker, safer and more efficient building. I’ve not said the word ‘better’ all that often. That is because this is precisely what we mean by ‘building back better’, recognising our economy and people need support, building in a way that helps both but focussing on what we need to renew and where we want to be in the future. We are ensuring we build a better country now and for the decades to come. By embracing the technology at our disposal today, we can make sure that everything we’ve built is the best it can be.”
Dame Judith Hackitt, chair of the Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety, delivered an equally powerful speech about the changes which the construction industry must prepare for in the forthcoming Building Safety Legislation which is currently a Draft Bill yet to go through Parliament.