By way of an introduction to this matter, Gareth Bradford reported that the WMCA was at the forefront of discussions on Advanced Manufacturing in Construction (AMC) nationally and that positive discussions with the Government had been conducted on a £50 million ‘ask’ which was referred to in the recent £3.2bn Investment Case Document. Rachel-Ann Atterbury then presented her report and gave a PowerPoint presentation which updated the Board on research which was being undertaken as part of the joint work by the public and private sector partners to develop a comprehensive AMC strategy and roadmap throughout 2020.
The Chair welcomed the information contained in the report and the presentation but asked what steps were being taken to encourage manufacturing companies to locate in the West Midlands. These remarks were echoed by Councillor Ian Courts who advised that he had accompanied the WMCA Mayor on a visit to Hadley’s to view the steel components to be used in AMC. He commented on the need to attract those companies which could achieve scale and flexibility of construction. The Chair also requested that, in future, presentations be circulated in advance of meetings in order to afford members an opportunity to consider the detail in advance. Gareth Bradford undertook to ensure that future presentations were circulated wherever possible, in advance of meetings. He advised that Officers were working with the West Midlands Growth Company to support companies to locate / relocate in the region.
Councillor Jacqueline Sweetman supported the comments made previously but sought an assurance that a co-ordinated approach to AMC provision would be taken in order to ensure that the inward investment plans of local authorities were not compromised. She also requested further information on plans for discussions with training providers and the market intelligence information, as requested at the last meeting. Councillor Daren Pemberton asked whether the proposed Housing Delivery Vehicle would have a role in the utilisation of AMC. Gareth Bradford confirmed that the Delivery Vehicle would have a role to play and reminded the Board that the WMCA had the advantage over other regions inasmuch as it had a Single Commissioning Framework with its requirement for use of AMC methods and a pipeline of sites to which AMC could be deployed. The Chair commented that the WMCA had a role to play in promoting AMC including assisting with the provision of financial assistance in locating manufacturing facilities in the region. Gareth Bradford reported this was where the £50m ask of HMG was important as a step in that direction.
1. That the update on the AMC research undertaken to date, which informed the development of a comprehensive AMC routemap and strategy, which would be submitted to the next meeting of the Board, be noted;
2. That the excellent collaboration and support from the AMC Working Group of local authority Officers and the AMC Expert Panel (Chaired by Mark Farmer), on this research and the joint development of the wider regional AMC routemap and strategy, which would be submitted to the next meeting of the Board, be noted;
3. That the ‘ask’ to Government for £50 million ‘enabling funding’ to support the development of the AMC Industry in the West Midlands (land, skills, and facilities), as set out in the Investment Case Document submitted to Government by the West Midlands on 23 June 2020, be noted;
4. That a future report include details of discussions with training providers and on market intelligence;
5. That any presentations to be made to future meetings of the Board be circulated, wherever possible. in advance.