Exclusive: Aggregate Industries chair and ‘single voice’ champion takes over as chair of the Strategic Forum for Construction


Bill Bolsover, chair of Aggregate Industries, has been chosen as the new chair of the Strategic Forum for Construction.

Bolsover, who until last month was chair of the Construction Products Association, took over as the chair of the forum from Lord Martin O’Neill after a meeting held last week.

The development follows months of discussion between industry leaders about reforming the Strategic Forum to become “single voice” for construction to speak to government.

But as revealed by Building last month, the UK Contractors Group, which represents over 30 of the UK’s main contractors, has distanced itself from the process by making it clear it would not support any new body that duplicated the work of the CBI Construction Council, effectively killing hopes of a “single voice” body.

Bolsover himself has been an advocate of reform of the forum to get a more cohesive message to government. This year he branded the forum “a nonsense” and called the industry “hugely immature”.

Bolsover, is expected to remain in the role for anywhere between six months and year depending on what changes are made to the organisation.

Paul Morrell, the government’s outgoing chief construction advisor, said Bolsover has “long been an advocate of the industry getting its act together across the full breadth of the supply chain”. He said case for the Strategic Forum “remained strong” but that it had “punched below its weight – at least in part because some of its members are nervous of it operating at its full potential”.

He said: “I remain optimistic that it can take this opportunity to become what it needs to become: a body that works with and through its members, including the CBI, to take possession of the industry’s whole agenda, and become a co-ordinating force for the many conversations that will always take place both within the industry and between the industry and government.”

Morrell added that it was not a “binary choice” between the forum and the CBI as a means of talking to government. 

Graham Watts, chief executive of the Construction Industry Council, said: “We’re really happy Bolsover is doing the job and I think that it’s important to get back to the Strategic Forum being run by someone connected to the industry – no disrespect to Lord O’Neill.”