An in-depth analysis of the future pipelines of key Whitehall departments reveals a clear and defined market opportunity for platform solutions across social infrastructure such as schools and hospitals, supporting a key policy ambition set out in the Government’s recently published Construction Playbook.

Of a £50 billion pipeline examined by the Construction Innovation Hub as part of its Platform Design Programme, around £35 billion has been identified as being suitable for delivery, in whole or in part, through a platform solution.

The full findings of the Hub’s analysis will be published early in 2021 as part of a report titled Defining the Need. Some of the key insights will include:

  • More than 50% of space types (such as hallways, bathrooms and storage) are not department-specific and could be delivered with a standardised platform solution;
  • 38% of spaces across the new build pipeline will be ‘Residential Spaces’, presenting a secondary market for the private sector; and,
  • There are 104 different names for toilet spaces alone across the government estate, highlighting the need for a common way of naming spaces that is machine readable, so future demand can be accurately analysed and harmonised.

The next step following the formal launch of Defining the Need in early 2021 will involve the development of a freely available ‘Platform Rulebook’. The Rulebook will contain the standards and processes that will be key to enabling the £35 billion market identified in the Hub’s pipeline analysis to flourish.

Defining the Need follows an exercise carried out by the Hub to collate and aggregate the forward pipelines of key Whitehall departments including: Education, Health and Social Care, Housing, Justice and Defence. The aim of the exercise was to better understand the technical requirements across social infrastructure to assess the potential for harmonisation, standardisation and rationalisation across Government.

The Hub’s Manufacturing Impact Director, Trudi Sully said:

“Our Platform Design Programme comes at a crucial time for both the sector and Government. The National Infrastructure Strategy and the Construction Playbook, both published in recent weeks, have given public bodies a clear mandate to transform their approach to infrastructure delivery through the adoption of better, faster, cleaner solutions.

The insights generated by our Defining the Need report are deeply encouraging and exciting. The platform approach has real potential to fundamentally transform how we build schools, hospitals and other vital social infrastructure. By adopting our ‘kit of parts’ at scale, departments could quicken the pace towards greater levels of productivity, cut down dramatically on waste and drive a wholesale switch towards whole-life value.”

Infrastructure and Projects Authority (IPA) Programme Director for Modern Methods of Construction, Will Varah said: 

“The IPA is delighted to be supporting the development of the Construction Innovation Hub’s Platform Design Programme, which closely aligns with our P-DfMA approach.

The insights revealed by the Hub illustrate the enormous potential of the platform approach to transform how we build critical social infrastructure. We look forward to continuing our close collaboration with industry through the Hub, so we can deliver a more sustainable future for the sector and society, in line with the ambitions set out in the National Infrastructure Strategy and the Construction Playbook”.


  • CLICK HEREto download the summary report
  • If you would like to receive a copy of the final report when it is published in January 2021, please email
  • Born out of the Construction Sector Deal and the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, the Construction Innovation Hub brings together world-class expertise from the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC), BRE and the Centre for Digital Built Britain (CDBB) to transform the UK construction industry. Working around the four core themes of Value, Manufacturing, Assurance and Digital, we are changing the way buildings and infrastructure are designed, manufactured, integrated and connected within our built environment.
  • CLICK HERE to find out more about the Hub’s Platform Design Programme
  • Background detail on Platform Design Programme:
    • With individual projects and diverse stakeholder wants and needs, there is lack of commonality, compatibility and standardisation pan Government. The Platform Design Programme seeks to initiate the paradigm shift.
    • Through the application of systems engineering and manufacturing techniques, the project team have begun the journey to develop, prototype, test and demonstrate a platform design and delivery system that can:
      • Be implemented at scale across a pan-government pipeline of social infrastructure works
      • Reduce cost, delivery time and lifetime carbon emissions
      • Boost productivity and increase the asset whole life value
      • Offer an opportunity to integrate active renewable energy systems

Find out more about the Construction Innovation Hub Manufacturing theme »