Construction is set to take efficiency lessons from the motor industry in a training scheme to be launched by the government-backed Construction Best Practice Programme.
Under the proposal, which was one of the main tenets of Sir John Egan's 1998 report, a master engineer from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders will teach contractors techniques to boost productivity.

The master engineer, who has yet to be chosen, will visit up to 12 construction firms on site suggesting how production might be improved. The National Federation of Builders is selecting the firms that will participate in a pilot, called the Industry Forum, that will run for 18 months.

Martin Watson, project manager at the Construction Best Practice Programme, said the industry should look more closely at how the production process was managed in other sectors.

He said: "The trainers will have a common approach and work with operatives, site supervisors and project managers.

"We want to demonstrate that this invasive training method can work for construction. The society has also successfully worked with the aerospace industry to improve its production techniques. Small solutions can have big effects in construction, where margins are tight."

The master engineer's impact on the firms' productivity will be measured against industry key performance indicators. The School of Industrial and Manufacturing Science at Cranfield University will help the society adapt its techniques to suit construction.

The Department of Trade and Industry has given £240,000 to the forum.