17/07/2008

CIOB In Support Of Construction Industry Champion

A report by MPs on the Business and Enterprise Committee has called for the Government to create a new post of 'Chief Construction Officer', to tackle the problem of fragmentation in construction policy and procurement across Government.

Chris Blythe, Chief Executive of the Chartered Institute of Building, said: "We support the recommendation to create this new post, and see this as a useful first step in dealing with the UK Government's fractured approach towards the industry.

"The construction industry interfaces with the Government as a client, regulator and as a provider of funding. With its regulatory and funding provider hat on the Government has no fewer than eleven departments and bodies influencing construction industry policy. As the largest single procurer of construction works, every government department and local authority are clients to the construction industry.

"We believe it's a good sign that the proposed post falls at the official level rather than ministerial level. Ministers often have competing responsibilities and portfolios, whereas a senior official would have operational responsibility for construction in key departments and the delivery of construction policy.

"To put UK construction into context, our output in 2006 was £113.5 billion, which is ranked in the top ten outputs of the world. We would hope that future administrations give the industry a clearer and stronger presence in Government."

The ability of the construction industry to deliver major projects in the future requires long-term investment in capacity for training and new ways of working. The public sector, as the industry’s largest single client, has an important role to play in securing the long-term flow of work for the industry, and helping the industry plan its workflow.

The CIOB sees a key role of the recommended CCO to engage early with the construction supply chain, improving the flow of information to the industry, and in so doing, help the construction industry plan more effectively.

(JM/NS)

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