Call to rewire infrastructure decision-making


A new plan for the infrastructure sector, supported by industry and government, has highlighted the need for better use of data, respect for nature and for improved delivery models.

The Infrastructure and Projects Authority (IPA) has published a policy paper, Transforming Infrastructure Performance: Roadmap to 2030, as part of its flagship programme to lead system change in the built environment.

The paper ‘presents a vision for the future where we collectively prioritise the societal outcomes we need, and use data, technology and improved delivery models to achieve them through our interventions in the built environment.’

It includes five focus areas ‘which illustrate the most significant opportunities and required transformations for how we intervene in the built environment’.

The first focus area is ‘Delivering new economic infrastructure to drive improved outcomes for people and nature’.

Under this heading, the paper states: ‘New delivery approaches, including platforms and [modern methods of construction] offer wider benefits than just improving project delivery.

'They open up the construction sector to a more diverse workforce by providing a safer and more controlled working environment than traditional building sites, particularly for women and people with disabilities, who have historically been underrepresented in the sector.’

It adds: ‘With more work occurring in fixed factory and manufacturing facilities, fewer workers will experience the stress of leaving their families to travel around the country to work on building sites. This can provide a more stable working environment, regular income and employment, and reduce the stress and mental health issues associated with traditional construction site working which have been serious issues for the sector.’

The other four focus areas are: place-based regeneration and delivery; addressing the need for social infrastructure using a platform approach; retrofitting existing buildings to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050; and optimising the performance of our existing built environment.

According to the IPA, the Roadmap builds on the progress made since the launch of the Transforming Infrastructure Performance programme (TIP) in 2017, and the publication of the National Infrastructure Strategy in November 2020 and the 25 Year Environment Plan in 2018.

The paper was published alongside the National Infrastructure and Construction Pipeline, which forecasts £650bn of investment in infrastructure over the coming decade.

In the foreword to the document financial secretary to the Treasury Lord Agnew wrote: ‘We know the scale of the challenges we face; moving the UK to a net zero economy alone is a gigantic undertaking that has never been done before. The Government is confident in the ability and ingenuity of the people and businesses of the UK to rise to them.

‘But for its part, government must rewire its decision making and other processes in order to embed respect for nature, better data sharing, greater safety and security for our society and a more effective long-term partnership with the private and voluntary sectors.

‘The Transforming Infrastructure Performance programme is central to this process of change. Its objectives and challenges are clear, and it falls to all of us now to step up and deliver.’

The Roadmap was also backed by the Construction Leadership Council, which helped produce it.

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