A joint deal between the UK government and the construction industry will see £420m invested in smart construction tech aimed at halving the time spent on the construction and energy use of new build homes


The UK Government is set to launch a £420m deal with the construction industry that will lead to investment in smart construction tech.

Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark will announce the start of the scheme – which the Government has dubbed a “bytes and mortar revolution” – during a speech at the Northern Powerhouse Summit in Newcastle today.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) claims the joint investment in smart construction tech could cut the construction time and energy usage of new builds in half.

Department secretary Greg Clark said: “Major infrastructure projects like HS2 and the commitment to deliver 1.5 million homes by 2022 mean that we need a construction sector that can drive innovation, delivering homes and infrastructure quicker.

“As buildings account for around 30% of total emissions, we also want to ensure that we are at the global forefront in designing and building smart, energy efficient and affordable homes and buildings through the Clean Growth Grand Challenge, saving families money on their bills.

“This sector deal is supported by the biggest Government investment in construction for at least a decade and will drive economic growth and create well-paid highly-skilled jobs in every part of the UK.”

Construction leadership council co-chair Andrew Wolstenholme said: “Our industry builds the schools to educate the young, the hospitals to care for the sick, the police stations to keep us safe, the roads and railways that get us to work, the power stations that keep us warm and the homes we return to each day.

“We are an industry that must be at the forefront of the UK’s drive for future growth and prosperity – and I’m confident that this deal will help to achieve that.”

The Government claims the “bytes and mortar” scheme will focus investment on technologies that improve digital design and off-site construction – which it hopes will chop new build times in half.


Construction tech investment will deliver £2tn return

The government is putting £170m into its ‘bytes and mortar’ deal with private firms in the construction sector.BEIS also believes its deal with the construction sector will deliver $2.5tn (£1.89tn) – but it has not set a date by which this is supposed to be achieved.

International Trade Secretary Dr Liam Fox said: “British firms are at the forefront of innovation in the construction and infrastructure sector and the Government’s new sector deal will ensure that even more of our businesses have the confidence to do business in overseas countries.

“With the global infrastructure market estimated to be worth $57tn (£43tn) by 2030, the opportunities are clearly there for our companies.”

It is estimated that the construction sector deal will increase apprenticeship starts to 25,000 by 2020.

Compelo asked BEIS if it also had an apprenticeship completion target for the construction industry, but has not yet received a response.

The government will chip in £170m of the overall budget while the private sector tops it up with £250m.

BEIS was expected to release details of the scheme six months ago, telling Construction News last November that details were expected within weeks.