I deliver training courses to clients, main contractors and specialists, so I hear a range of views on power relations in the industry (“Who calls the shots”, 24 November).
Most clients see main contractors as the repositories of all risks, while at the same time wondering what they actually do, and whether they could be done without.
In many main contractors, there appears to be a schism between the management at head office and the rest. The former invariably believe they are in control of their specialists. Site-based managers generally believe the opposite and complain that they are unable to exert control over events on site.
The specialists, meanwhile, express despair at their treatment by main contractors. Their biggest worries seem to be harsh contract terms and proper pay. Increasingly, they are seeking ways of working directly for clients.
So who does call the shots: main contractors or specialists? Neither. Both are victims of their own lack of vision and the old game of divide and conquer. It is clients who call the shots and they who are the main beneficiaries of this schism.