A leading client has written to construction minister Nick Raynsford to pledge support for the beleaguered Construction Industry Board.
David Adamson, director of the Cambridge University Estate, said he was publicly supporting the CIB because the industry needed an organisation to co-ordinate the initiatives of clients, contractors and suppliers.

He said: "There is a need for a strategic body such as the CIB to provide leadership. A lot of current initiatives are very good but it is helpful if there is some degree of co-ordination." The show of support comes just days before a crunch meeting of the CIB board, due to be held on Wednesday, to discuss its future.

Leading client body the Confederation of Construction Clients threatened to pull out of the group last week, allegedly because of concerns that the CIB lacked a strategic approach.

CIB chief executive Don Ward said he hoped that the CCC would clarify its position.

He said: "To be fair, the CCC has set out where it sees the body going. Our meeting will discuss the supply chain's response to that and we hope to go back to the CCC with a positive response. Whatever happens there will be a strategic forum by the end of it, but the picky details are still up in the air." However, a source close to the CIB said the future looked bleak. He said: "We're hanging by a thread. If the umbrella organisations of the group will not come to the table then clients will not be interested." Adamson emphasised that he was not seeking any personal involvement with any scheme to rejuvenate the CIB. He was previously a leading figure at the Construction Clients Forum before it became the CCC.

He said: "I am sure that there are plenty of clients who would be happy to have an involvement but I am really quite busy and not pushing for anything more." The CIB was set up in 1995 to push through the recommendations of the Latham report. A year-long review of the body, unveiled last June, found that clients should be given more of a say in the way government-backed initiatives are run.

The review also resulted in the Construction Industry Council, Constructors Liaison Group, Construction Products Association, Construction Confederation and the Federation of Master Builders each holding two seats on the CIB board.

The CCC was not available for comment.