Chief executive Pollard says spending having little effect as he announces restructuring and redundancies

Nick Pollard, the chief executive of Bovis Lend Lease, has said the government’s plan to bring forward billions of pounds of public spending has brought little benefit to the construction industry.

Pollard, who was speaking after Bovis announced that it was restructuring its business in response to the downturn, echoed concerns expressed by the heads of trade bodies, including Stephen Ratcliffe, the director of the UK Contractors’ Group.

He said: “My feeling is that the public sector still has not stepped up to the mark in the way some other nations have and used construction to ease recession, despite its protestations to the contrary.”

The govenment’s pre-Budget report in November pledged to bring forward £3bn earmarked for the 2010/11 financial year. Pollard said this stimulus had had limited effect on the industry, and that “the government is running significantly behind the curve it originally forecast”.

Bovis’ restructuring is aimed at expanding its market coverage. It has traditionally been strong in the public sector, particularly in education, and in the commercial sector. It now intends to expand into the rail and waste markets. There will also be a move into the energy sector, which will include the construction of nuclear power stations.

The public sector has not stepped up to the mark in the way some other nations have

Nick Pollard, Bovis Lend Lease

To support the move, the company is merging its consultancy and engineering functions, which are carried out by Bovis Lend Lease Technologies and Lend Lease Projects. These will become a single division, to be called Bovis Lend Lease Consulting.

Pollard told staff at the end of last week that he was instigating the changes to improve profitability and cut overheads.

The move will result in a further round of redundancies at the company, which lost 50 staff in March. Although he did not give a number, he did say the company’s office in Elstead, Surrey would be closed as part of a rationalisation of support staff.

The company has also formed a new unit, Lend Lease Project Management, to improve the way the company bids for work, particularly in the PFI sector.