As it is the end of the year, it is time for me to award my prizes for the construction winners of 1999. Here they are, in descending order. The decision of the judge (myself) is final, and the winners must buy their own prizes.
Sharing second position is Alan Crane, chairman of the Movement for Innovation, for driving forward the demonstration project programme, worth at least £2.9bn, to involve 85 projects and 500 firms; and the “Building Down Barriers” Defence Estates team and its supply side partners, Laing and Amec. But first place must go to construction minister Nick Raynsford, who has made himself immensely approachable and accessible, as well as popular and respected by the industry for his grasp of its problems. The industry has also praised his personal support for the Egan reform process, his anti-cowboy initiative and drive for better performance and cost reduction by the industry. In 1998, Raynsford launched the Construction Act, which had been on the statute book since 1996 but never activated. In the past year, he has pressed forward the entire reform programme in conjunction with the Best Practice Programme, the Movement for Innovation and the Construction Industry Board. He is a deserved Mr Motivator.
Second comes the Millennium Dome team, again for producing (hopefully on time) another structure and contents that millions of people recognise and talk about, and many will visit. OK again, it’s not St Paul’s Cathedral or the Taj Mahal, and it will not please everybody. Some deplore it being built at all with lottery money, when the hundreds of millions of pounds could have been used for hospitals or other good causes. But it is there, it has provoked massive interest, and it has focused the minds of the whole industry on the need to bring in a project on time, because in this case, time is of the essence.
We have the Clinton/Lewinsky award for the most gracious apology by any lawyer who had previously rubbished the Construction Act in advance
And in first place is Judge Dyson of the Technology and Construction Court, for his judgment in Macob v Morrison, when he robustly upheld the decision of the elected parliament of the UK that adjudication should be the usual and quick method of dispute resolution in construction if parties cannot settle their own differences beforehand. There have been further clear judgments since, but Dyson deserves the accolade for taking the vital first step.
I have some other awards with only a limited list of contenders.