In response to the recent CSR and infrastructure spend announcements, plus the launch of the Industrial Strategy for Construction, divisional chief executive for Willmott Dixon Capital Works John Frankiewicz comments:

"Last week’s announcement of £100bn for infrastructure gave the industry a welcome insight into specific areas of spending focus. It also posed a number of challenges we have to tackle. The UK Government is our biggest client, but it’s a two-way relationship that is further underlined by this week’s launch of the industrial strategy for construction.

The role of Lord Deighton in bringing a joined-up approach across Whitehall is important and points to a wider agenda. Lord Deighton will bring a highly commercial approach to getting a better deal and speeding up the process of delivery. The onus as pointed out this week by chief construction advisor Peter Hansford will be on how our industry can respond in meeting the ‘more for less’ agenda.

The companies that will benefit most will be those who invest in technology, innovation and new processes to enhance how we deliver lean construction, reducing duplication, wastage and unnecessary cost. While the Government promises £300bn of capital spending over the next decade, it will look for our know-how to deliver that even more efficiently than ever.

A huge challenge we face is the rise in energy and material costs, and we have to ensure that doesn’t make us uncompetitive against global competition. Another task will be to demonstrate how major contractors ensure SMEs benefit too; this is not just prompt payment, it’s about articulating even more clearly how every pound spent will sustain local companies, create new jobs and drive regional growth.

For example, on our Scape framework, our goal is for clients to save 20p in every £1 spent on projects procured using Scape. We’ll also ensure 60 per cent of project budgets are spent on companies within a 20 mile radius; that’s the type of message Whitehall wants to hear from our industry.

I’m glad these themes were picked up by Peter Hansford’s industrial strategy. Setting bold aims such as finding a 50 per cent reduction in the time taken from planning to completion of projects, and a 33 per cent reduction in the initial costs of construction, feed into the two-way relationship our industry has with the Government’s spending plans commitment and the key role of Lord Deighton to support better delivery.

We should also take note of Peter’s call to embrace technology such as BIM and off-site manufacturing. Clients want companies that can do their projects faster and with predictable prices; if we cannot achieve that they will look at companies who can. We invested a seven figure sum in creating our standardised Sunesis concept with Scape to build faster with fixed prices; the result is a number of orders now from local authorities who need just that solution to meet the demand for school places.

Feeding into this opportunity is the role of LEPs. While the annual commitment of £2bn to the Single Local Growth Fund for LEP funding is not as much as some wanted, it’s our responsibility to be involved with LEPs and help shape their future, playing a strategic role that benefits our role as an enabler of growth.

So while we gear up for procurement opportunities that will come from last week’s spending plans, I’m also looking at delivering the strategic bigger picture our industry is expected to play in driving UK growth."