The Construction Playbook – what’s been updated?

The UK government’s Construction Playbook saw its first revision earlier this month, since it was originally introduced in December 2020. 

Co-developed and endorsed by the Construction Leadership Council and wider industry, the Construction Playbook aims to step up productivity and innovation in the UK’s construction sector. Its 14 policies are central to the government’s plan to build back better, faster and greener. 

Driving the adoption of digital technology 

Technology has a key role to play in delivering the vision of the Playbook. Existing technologies hold many potential benefits for public (and private) sector construction projects, ranging from improving collaboration to reducing waste and minimising errors.  

A dedicated section in the Playbook outlines a strategy for embedding digital technologies to improve the consistency and quality of data relating to UK construction. This will help to improve safety, enable innovation, reduce costs, and support more sustainable outcomes. 

The Playbook recommends contracting authorities and suppliers apply the UK Building Information Management (BIM) Framework. This is an overarching approach to implementing BIM in the UK, which includes standardised approaches to defining information requirements, generating and classifying data, information security and data exchange. 

Adopting the UK BIM Framework will also support the Information Management Framework. This a common framework of technical and non-technical standards and protocols that will enable secure, resilient data sharing across organisations and sectors. 

In turn, the Information Management Framework will be a key enabler of the National Digital Twin – an ecosystem of connected digital twins across the built environment. 

The Playbook defines digital twins as “realistic digital representations of assets, processes and systems that have a data-connection with the real world.”  

They will help to improve the performance, sustainability and value for money of projects and programmes by providing data-driven insights that improve decision–making. 

What’s changed in the Playbook?  

The Construction Playbook has been revised to address carbon reporting, digital and offsite manufacturing technologies and the Building Safety Act.  

The whopping 83-page document now consists of 89 pages since the revision. So, to save you time, we’ve summarised the changes below.  

  1. Embedding digital technologies

The updated guidance builds on its strategy for embedding digital technologies to include progress made in areas such as modern methods of construction (MMC) and information management.  

For instance, arm’s length bodies and government departments must now set targets for using MMC in the delivery of programmes and projects.   

  1. Improving building safety 

The Playbook now references The Building Safety Act, which became law in April of this year. 

Accountability for safety through the lifespan of a building, guidance for those involved in projects and procuring buildings, as well as advice on embedding the right behaviours have all been added. 

  1. Further steps towards Net Zero

With the Government committed to delivering ‘better, faster and greener’ solutions, sustainability was already a common theme throughout the entire Playbook. 

The updated guidance incorporates benchmarking data of social value and greenhouse gas emissions (as well as schedule and cost), backed by a new Infrastructure and Projects Authority (IPA) benchmarking hub. 

This pushes the need to be greener at every stage of business case development. 

  1. Managing contracts

Getting involved as early as possible in the procurement stage is deemed best practice for those who are delivering contracts. 

Also encouraged further in the update is having the correct skills and team involved at the correct stage. This echoes the Project Initiation Routemap, another IPA toolkit, which features this.  

  1. Contracts and frameworks

“Constructing the Gold Standard” (commonly known as the Mosey Review), an independent review of public sector frameworks, was commissioned by the UK government in 2021. 

The requirements outlined in the Construction Playbook match up closely with the 24 recommendations detailed in the Mosey Review. All recommendations are supported in the Playbook update. 

Digital Construction Week and the Construction Playbook 

Ollie Hughes, Co-founder and Director of Digital Construction Week, said: 

“The Construction Playbook is an invaluable tool for driving positive change in the construction industry. Now the updated version, underpinned by developments in offsite construction, prefabrication and modular platform approaches, gives us an even clearer vision of how the sector should operate in the future.  

Although the Playbook has been created to support public sector construction, its principles offer plenty of insight for the private sector too. Ultimately, whichever part of the construction industry you work in, the Construction Playbook is something you should familiarise yourself with. 

Digital Construction Week is the perfect place to discover the upcoming technology and innovations that are transforming construction and delivering the change outlined in the Playbook. And you can also get practical guidance on implementing new ways of working direct from expert speakers.”

Sinead Morgan, “the construction playbook – whats been updated?” Digital Construction Week

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