John Smith offers to bet me that Constructing Excellence can't improve the image of the construction industry in a quantifiable way in two years (6 February, page 33).
This is tempting indeed. He quotes Andy Warhol's comment that image is everything and reality nothing: that goes goes against the grain of what I am trying to achieve.

I advocate the bolstering of the UK construction's image, but it must go hand in hand with a real improvement in the substance of the industry. It must be efficient and safe, and it must deliver a valued and desirable product. If we work to change the reality – to improve site conditions, to spread the partnering ethos, to educate clients – then the image of this industry will change, too.

So here are the targets:

  • By the end of this year, 20% of projects will be undertaken by integrated teams;

  • By 2006, 300,000 people will be recruited and retained in the industry;

  • And by the following year we'll see a 50% increase in higher and further education courses.

With those targets achieved, the image of our industry will improve. The challenges ahead are significant, but we must start somewhere. It is not just organisations driving change that are responsible for improving the substance and image of the industry. We need unity and a collective commitment to create a world-class construction industry in the UK.