Incoming co-chair of the Construction Leadership Council, Andy Mitchell, has made an impassioned plea for the industry to overcome its fragmented structure and work better together to improve outputs and project delivery.
The Thames Tideway CEO was speaking at a CLC leaders’ briefing on implementing the Construction Sector Deal held at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy in London today.
“There are many different groups in the industry with different ways of doing things and this is a big issue,” said Mitchell. “We have a lot of fragmentation and as an industry we have chased the lowest cost. There has been a progress-stopping lack of coherence in what we do and that has to stop,” Mitchell said.
Addressing the challenge of implementing the Construction Sector Deal, one of only four industry strategy sector deals that have been approved by government, Mitchell said that success would only be achieved if the industry works together and does things differently. “We have to have the backing of the whole industry and we also need to look at the role of the Construction Leadership Council and how we work,” said Mitchell.
Mitchell’s key message, which he laboured at some length, was the absolute imperative of industry bodies subsuming narrow sectional interests for the greater good of the sector. “There are many groups and associations in our industry and the challenge for all of us is not to try and solve the same problems separately - the CLC must bring the whole of the industry together and that means companies and groups,” he said.
The new CLC co-chair said that an honest discussion was needed on the way forward with representative bodies and business associations. He called for the industry to be realistic about the challenges it faces. “This is not the time to be parochial, no matter how good you are - there is a bigger prize,” Mitchell said.
One of those present at the leaders’ briefing was ACE chief executive Hannah Vickers, who echoed the call for more joined up working across the industry. "I wholeheartedly agree with Andy Mitchell's vision for the industry and the need for representative bodies to unite behind the CLC to deliver the Construction Sector Deal," said Vickers. "ACE has a key role to play in enabling consultants to share their expertise and work in partnership with government and the wider industry to deliver better outcomes for society and I personally will be taking an active role as the CLC’s programme progresses," she said.
Attendees at the leaders’ briefing in Westminster included precisely those industry lobby groups and associations that Mitchell wanted to see working more effectively together. The Thames Tideway man said he was pleased to see leaders gathered together but he wanted to see real collaboration and real change.
“This is just the start, but we have to ask ourselves how are we going to do this together?” said Mitchell. “We must work better together and speak with one voice. It’s big talk and it’s been said before but that is what we are going to do,” he said.