Lorna Carter

+44 (0)1223 785299 lecarter@greenwoodsgrm.co.uk

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Kathryn Gilbertson

+44 (0)1733 887621 kgilbertson@greenwoodsgrm.co.uk

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Project Speed – Time to build, build, build

Construction / 30 June 2020

The government has today announced the creation of a ‘Project Speed’ taskforce designed to fast track major building projects across the country and to fuel the UK’s economic recovery. It is hoped to accelerate the building of key infrastructure such as schools, hospitals and roads. 

The Infrastructure Delivery Taskforce is known as ‘Project Speed’ will be led by Chancellor, Rishi Sunak. Amongst other things, it will be tasked with:

—  assessing build-programmes in every city, town and village to ensure communities across the country can benefit more quickly from the improvements that infrastructure brings;

—  look across the full range of government’s public investment projects and aim to cut delivery times by removing bottlenecks at each step of development and delivery and;

— scything through red tape and getting projects delivered faster and hinting at changes to procurement rules to speed up appointments.

The government has announced plans to pump £5bn into fast-tracking key projects in the UK and puts the construction sector in the engine room of the government’s economic growth strategy.

In the Autumn, we can also expect the government to publish its delayed National Infrastructure Strategy which will set a clear direction on core economic infrastructure, including energy networks, road and rail, flood defences and waste.

The initiative is welcomed by most within the construction sector recognising that a building boom would help generate vast employment opportunities across the country, improving access to key infrastructure and advancing connectivity. There is likely to be a real focus on delivering sustainable, digital and innovative solutions, including an emphasis on “green projects”. You may recall we wrote about the Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission’s report earlier this year.

Lorna Carter, Head of Construction said: “There has however also been some scepticism amongst the industry indicating that the PM’s comments are clickbait and without true substance. It is inevitable that challenging times lie ahead. The proposed speeding up of the procurement rules is to be welcomed and details are awaited with interest.”

As stated by the chief executive of the Railway Industry Association, Darren Caplan, it is highly important that any railway investment “sets out a clear pipeline of work with specific delivery timelines” to enable businesses to plan and build teams for any accelerated work. This is likely to apply across the board for many sectors and includes a need for businesses to ensure they have the right contractual documentation and personnel in place. Consideration must also be given to any consequential health and safety at work requirements, whilst continuing to adhere to social distancing guidance.

Racing ahead with projects without a clear thought-process may lead to some inevitable disputes, or you may be on the receiving end of delays due to other projects being prioritised, or the health and safety of your workforce, clients or site visitors may be jeopardised. Whatever the issue, or if you need help getting the right documentation in place from the outset, please do get in touch with our specialist Construction and Regulatory team.

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