Government's new Egan body is said to have DTI backing, but doubts remain over who will pay for it.
A question mark hangs over government funding for Constructing Excellence, a body to be formed from the merger of two Egan groups, just as its chief executive prepares to take up his post.

Construction minister Nigel Griffiths this week announced the appointment of Australian academic Dennis Lenard as Constructing Excellence's first chief executive.

Lenard's first task on taking up the post in September will be to draw up a business plan outlining how much government funding he will require. But it is not clear where the money will come from.

Constructing Excellence is to be created from Rethinking Construction and Construction Best Practice. Construction Best Practice currently gets £3.5m of its £5m turnover from the DTI. Rethinking Construction receives £1.5m in funds from the DTI, out of a £2.25m turnover.

Brian Wilson, the former construction minister, extended the initial three-year funding of Construction Best Practice two years ago. This is due to run out on 31 March 2004.

The director of CBP expressed confidence that renewed funding would be found. Brian Moone said the merger would not be a "cost-cutting exercise". He said: "The messages we've been getting from the DTI are that it doesn't want to cut funds. I'm not preparing an exit strategy at the moment."

The balance of the funding for the two bodies has come from industry subscriptions to the Movement for Innovation, part of Rethinking Construction. Support also comes from fund-raising conferences and construction luminaries who give unpaid demonstrations of their methods.

Stef Stefanou, chairman of concrete subcontractor John Doyle Group and a board member of M4I, said the industry's enthusiasm for Constructing Excellence would persuade the government to back it.

He said: "We have raised £400,000 in cash from supporters and members and in excess of £1m in sponsorship and secondments. This indicates a strong support for M4I and its successor, Constructing Excellence. So it is good value for the government."