Fascinating though it certainly is to read yet another article on how best to manage construction projects from such seasoned professionals as Colin Harding and Rab Bennetts (21 April, page 60), I am left wondering who really will be in charge when, sooner or later, something goes wrong.
The bottom line for architects, and sometimes for builders too, is their professional indemnity insurance policies. Once these come into play any "integrated supply chains" and all that chummy partnership stuff will be thrown straight out the window as their respective insurers invoke their dreaded subrogation rights and - true to the national tradition - everyone runs for cover.
In my opinion, these two erudite gentlemen are deceiving themselves and their clients. It simply is not good enough to promise "integration" on the one hand and rely on confrontational PI insurance on the other. These two bedfellows are utterly incompatible. There never has been, and never will be, a properly integrated construction industry in the UK unless the use of single-point liability or project insurance becomes everyday practice. This is not unproven rocket science. It has already been well tested over many years.
The Strategic Forum, with the full backing of the Treasury, which has at last grasped this fundamental point, and the tentative support of the UK insurance industry, is now ready to make project insurance a reality. The train is ready to leave the station and the sooner experienced hands like messrs Harding and Bennetts get on board and refrain from writing articles that (however well intended) are nothing more than self-delusion, the better for everyone.
John Goodall, Brussels