Construction Confederation president Sir Martin Laing has called for the industry body to rejoin the European Construction Industry Federation.

Speaking at the Construction Confederation’s annual dinner on Tuesday, Sir Martin said rejoining the pan-European group would enable the confederation to engage in critical “social dialogue” between government, industry and trade unions, the main mechanism through which European legislation is agreed.

Sir Martin said: “There are moves afoot to extend the process to individual industrial sectors. If this takes place – and now there is probably about an even chance that it will – we must make sure that we are at the negotiating table. That can only be through membership of the ECIF.” Sir Martin added that the group has transformed itself into a more efficient, user-friendly organisation since the Construction Confederation pulled out. He acknowledged that rejoining the group would involve paying substantial subscription fees, but said the investment was crucial “if we want a truly first-class trade association for our industry”.