James Wates, the Construction Confederation chairman, on the new order
The construction industry is responsible for about 10% of Britain’s GDP, but in terms of business discussions we just haven’t been on the radar. When I started looking at this issue in 2006, there were about 330 organisations that represented the industry but no consistent voice. The CBI is good on business issues, so it will help the industry’s position with government to have a strong voice within it.
For their part, I think they have seen the effectiveness of the input they get from sectors like manufacturing and once we met them it was like pushing at an open door.
We realised there were some key names missing from the Major Contractors Group, which hopefully will be resolved with the UK Contractors Group. It will have close ties with the CBI so it will benefit firms to get involved. Having a single body for building contractors has to be the long-term vision, but we want evolution rather than revolution.
One thing I’ll stress, though, is this doesn’t work without SMEs. We need to get them buying into that vision.