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12 Ruth Hynes, CIRIA Network Manager discusses industry progress within Construction 2025 targets and areas of focus for the CIRA network in 2015 COMMUNITY • SHARING • LEARNING • CONNECTING It is almost two years since the release of the joint government and industry strategy Construction 2025. The strategy was heralded as a key strategic step towards creating a clear and defined vision for the UK construction industry to promote growth and improve the image of the sector. The strategy focused on five key themes – people, digital engineering, sustainable, growth and leadership – and included an initial action plan identifying industry and government bodies to take these forward. So where has progress been made and what impact is the strategy having across the wider industry? Ruth Hynes, CIRIA Network Manager Advancements have been made in a number of areas. Improvements in procurement are being led by Infrastructure UK (IUK) and the Cabinet Office, developing a common approach to the central government procurement process, and following the New models of procurement published by the government earlier this year. Improving diversity of the construction workforce continues to be a priority, with the creation of a diversity framework group that aims to co-ordinate the various campaigns and communications from across the industry and create a collective voice for change. Addressing the challenges and future gaps in skills, including increasing and diversifying apprenticeships, allows a move towards a common standard for industry competence cards within the Construction Skills Certification Scheme and increasing access to business relevant training. Future of construction: progress towards Construction 2025 On 27 April the CIRIA network brought together a number of industry leaders for the event Future of construction; progress towards Construction 2025, to report on activities in specific areas including Lean construction, procurement, DfMA, BIM, low carbon technologies and the UK engineering research landscape. Please refer to pages 16-17 for details of some of the presentations. The discussion on the day focused on the role of innovation and research across all areas identified by Construction 2025. The strategy outlined the need to “bring forward more research, development and demonstration to the wider industry and work to remove barriers to innovation”. Further discussions highlighted the need to develop and support innovation in the industry and bring discovery-research to the stages of feasibility and implementation. Developing a clear and consistent industry-wide approach to innovation needs to be prioritised, as fresh approaches are required to meet efficiency, and economic and environmental targets. Innovation strategy The Construction Leadership Council and the Construction 2025 Delivery Group are currently developing an innovation strategy to address the challenges faced by the construction industry, which is traditionally risk adverse and slow to adopt new technologies. This developing innovation strategy will focus on: Smart Infrastructure and Buildings; New Business Models; Industrialisation of Construction processes; Improving use and performance of existing stock. Huge investment in discovery or ‘blue-sky’ research in recent years through the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) has resulted in a number of world class research centres being established. These centres have focused on future infrastructure, resilience and business models, and sustainable and environmental design. Infrastructure resilience in an interdependent world A CIRIA network workshop Infrastructure resilience in an interdependent world to be held jointly with the Adaptation and Resilience in the Context of Change Network (ARCC) on 2 July in London will bring together academics from three of the major research centres the UK Infrastructure Transitions Research Consortium (ITRC), the International Centre of Infrastructure Futures (ICIF) and iBUILD with industry representatives. The workshop will explore the overlapping themes that have emerged from the separate research programmes, and workshops to explore how these relate to industry needs, shaping and highlighting future work streams. The network will be working closely with university members and other research centres in 2015. In addition, CIRIA was recently appointed co-ordinator for the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) environmental risks to infrastructure innovation programme, a five-year programme to fund short-term feasibility studies and longer term translational projects relating to infrastructure resilience and mitigating the effects of extreme weather events and climate change. CIRIA will be working with participating industry organisations and academic researchers to broker the relationships and support collaborative innovation. Moving to a low-carbon industry is a key priority highlighted in Construction 2025 and subsequent supporting reports, including the Infrastructure carbon review,


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