What does a new government mean for Construction?

In her first public speech since the election, the newly appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rachel Reeves, has made her intentions clear: Britain is set to experience a construction boom to tackle the housing crisis and revamp infrastructure. We look at some of the opportunities and changes this brings to the construction industry.

Reinstating Housebuilding Targets

The Labour manifesto highlighted a focus on affordable housing and social rent properties, so Reeves has committed to bringing back compulsory housebuilding targets and building 1.5 million homes during the current parliament to address the housing shortage. This move will significantly increase project volume and is expected to considerably boost the construction sector with further employment and increased demand for materials and services.

Overhaul of Planning Restrictions

The Chancellor plans to streamline planning decisions, shifting major infrastructure project approvals to a national level. This change aims to cut through the red tape that delays significant projects. Additionally, there will be a recruitment drive for more planning officers to speed up the approval process. These measures should reduce bottlenecks and mean faster project approvals and accelerated project timelines, benefiting construction companies, workers and investors alike. This will help reduce the uncertainty and delays that often plague large-scale construction projects.

The spaces that will be used to build on have been addressed too. In her speech, Reeves said the government would prioritise development on brownfield sites and low-quality areas within the green belt, such as disused car parks. This approach is designed to protect high-quality green spaces while making efficient use of previously developed land.

Green Energy

Reeves has promised that the new government will lift the restrictions on onshore wind farms, potentially leading to hundreds of new turbine installations. This initiative is part of a broader plan to invest in green infrastructure, which could open new markets and project opportunities for construction firms and workers specialising in renewable energy installations.

To capitalise on these upcoming changes, construction leaders should consider the following strategies:

  1. Expand your capabilities and diversify your company’s expertise to include green building practices and renewable energy projects. This will position your firm to take advantage of the growing emphasis on sustainable development.
  2. Strengthen Planning teams. With changes in planning regulations, ensuring your team is well-versed in the new processes will be crucial. Investing in training and hiring experienced planning consultants could provide a competitive edge.
  3. Building strong relationships with local councils and planning departments can facilitate smoother project approvals and better alignment with local development goals.
  4. Have a contingent workforce that’s agile and ready to go. If project approvals get quicker, you will need to be able to respond with a workforce that can deliver the project efficiently.

The Labour Party’s goals for construction are ambitious and could mean tens of billions of pounds of investment. By preparing strategically, construction leaders can position themselves at the forefront of this new wave of growth and development as it happens.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *