UK building costs to mirror the Continent

The UK government has announced a series of recommendations, aiming to get the cost of building new projects in line with the rest of Europe.

Driven by Treasury body Infrastructure UK, the report identifies ways to shave £30bn off the cost of new projects over the next decade.

Speaking at a press briefing today, outgoing chief executive of Infrastructure UK James Stewart said that although the recommendations were "no silver bullet" they suggest fundamental changes in the way government procures large projects.

The report comes after it was revealed that major projects can cost twice as much in the UK and they do on the near Continent.

The investigation, led by Terry Hill, head of transport at engineering consultancy Arup, found there were five key areas that needed to be improved. These included increasing levels of transparency and clarity, more efficient governance and leadership, greater discipline in implementing specification and standards, a smarter use of competition and better productivity in the industry.

The report, which included 120 interviews across government and industry, also found a lack of certainty over long-term workflow was leading to a fragmented supply chain. "Stop-start procurement prevents us from building long-term relationships and engaging with contractors early," said Stewart.

Stewart said the list of pilot projects would be announced in the new year but will include Highways Agency deals, the High Speed 2 line and the flood defence programme.