The collapse of Carillion has dominated much of Infrastructure Intelligence’s online coverage over the past couple of months and it is inevitable therefore that our latest print edition and my editor’s comment also follow suit by looking at the fall out from the demise of what was a construction household name.
As Nelson Ogunshakin correctly highlights in his excellent article on page 28 of the current issue, Carillion’s fall should be seen as an opportunity for wholesale reform of business practices in the construction industry.
We have been here before of course and to address some of the pressing structural problems facing the industry and to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past, we will need to have honest, open and difficult conversations on issues such as procurement, supply chains, profit margins and value for money. Clients and government will need to be more enlightened and informed. Above all, they will need to look beyond the short-termism of the immediate balance sheet and take the longer view.
Politicians, some of whom have taken the opportunity to bash the industry in the wake of Carillion’s collapse, will also need to think carefully about how public sector projects are planned, procured and delivered. They need to engage with the industry at all levels, listen to what people tell them and act on it as a matter of urgency.
There must be no more Carillions. We cannot be here again.
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