Chief construction adviser: industry was guilty of “irrational exuberance”

Paul Morrell, the government’s chief construction adviser, is working on simplifying the pre-qualification process and improving payment times.

He is working on the initiatives within the department of Business Innovation and Skills as part of a plan to create a more restrained and efficient approach to design and building. 

Speaking last night at a reception at the House of Commons held by the Joint Contracts Tribunal Morrell said: “Whether we are talking about cash or carbon, irrational exuberance has affected the building industry as much as any other.”

He called for a number of “habits” to achieve the new approach, including more standardisation. He said: “Off site manufacturing and repetition will bring economies of scale and need not stifle creativity.”

Morrell also advocated more efficient use of IT, simplifying the prequalification process and improving payment times. He said: “Within BIS we are simplifying the pre-qualification process so that SMEs don’t have to restate their sustainability policy hundreds of times every time they bid for a job. BIS will also push the timescale for payments.”

Morrell said clients must play a key role in achieving the new approach and called on the government to keep delivery agencies. He said: “The first condition of good building is good clients, so do not get rid of delivery agencies. The first thing clients must know is what constitutes a good enough building and the second is what they should be paying for it.”