Major Contractors Group to be disbanded as industry reorganises to maximise lobbying firepower

The construction industry is to get its own division within the CBI as part of a shake-up intended to increase its effectiveness in lobbying the government.

John McDonough, chairman of the new Construction Council

A Construction Council, chaired by John McDonough, Carillion’s chief executive, will begin work in October. The move is intended to lend the industry the CBI’s prestige when it tries to get the ear of policy-makers.

The council aims to become industry’s main voice on business issues such as procurement. It will contain 25 members from across the contracting, housebuilding, engineering and building materials sectors. It will also include representatives from smaller companies.

Firms within the CBI include some of the sector’s major players, such as Persimmon and Miller Group. It is understood that CBI members are now being approached to fill the positions on the council.

As part of the rationalisation, the Major Contractors Group (MCG) and National Contractors Federation (NCF) are to be disbanded and replaced by a UK Contractors Group. This is intended to complement the council by speaking on non-business matters such as sustainability, and specific issues, such as the OFT inquiry.

Membership of the group will cost £15,000 a year compared with the £35,000-50,000 charged by the MCG. It will be open to contractors currently outside the MCG and NCF, including the UK arms of foreign firms.

As part of the same process, the Construction Confederation will be scaled back, although its precise role is yet to be decided. James Wates, the Construction Confederation chairman, will continue in the role, and it is expected he will also chair the UK Contractors Group.

It is intended that the body will have joint members with the Construction Council.

Wates said: “Added to the UK Contractors Group we hope these changes will create a truly modern, powerful voice for the industry.”