The article entitled "We love you" (24 January, page 22) reaches some shocking conclusions about how much building consultants contribute to the economic well-being of the UK.
A prior article in Building (8 June 2001) suggested that the exact opposite was the case. That article discussed a report by the University of Warwickshire in which the UK's social housebuilding industry was compared with its counterparts in some other European countries.

It pointed out that the UK has a much higher proportion of office than production staff.

"Whereas production was the core skill in Continental firms," said the article, "the greatest concentration of expertise in UK firms was found to be in cost control." The report concluded: "The structural imperative of the UK construction industry has become controlling costs through overseeing contract relations, themselves circumscribing a range of narrow, clearly defined and priced tasks. Long-term improvements to and knowledge of the production and labour processes have become secondary to this."

The fact that our building consultants are earning lots of money tells me not that our country must be doing very well, but that it is not spending money in the right places. The attitude that costs must absolutely be controlled is one that pervades the whole of our society. It emanates from the City and from government, it can be seen in the management of the NHS and it reaches right across private industry. It is, by nature, short-termist.

Your recent article perpetuates the problem by encouraging yet more young people to aspire to office-bound jobs instead of getting themselves trained to do the real work.