A row has erupted between the Health and Safety Executive and members of the strategic forum over proposals to use safety legislation to force construction teams to put supply chains in position from an early planning stage.
Sir John Egan is understood to be using his position as chairman of the strategic forum to pressure the HSE into including proposals for integrated supply chains in a government consultation paper due to be published in September. If he is successful, the rules would eventually become part of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations.

For its part, the HSE is unsure whether it is feasible for the control of construction project teams to be governed by safety legislation.

The HSE's head of construction policy, Steve Wright, said the issue of integrated supply teams would be included in the HSE's consultation document in September and put to the industry.

He said a firm decision was yet to be made on whether to use legislation to force firms to be part of an integrated supply team. He said: "The issues being looked at are what exactly an integrated supply team is, and what different types of models could be used."

It has to be something people want … safety cannot be used as a Trojan horse

Mike Cosman, head of construction, HSE

Rudi Klein, chief executive of the Specialist Engineering Contractors Group, said the issue of integration was a priority of the strategic forum.

He said the concern with the HSE is how the principle of the integrated supply teams is drafted within legislation. He said: "The construction industry will not change unless there is a legislative environment for change. This does not mean there is one catch-all model for supply-team integration for the whole industry – there can be lots of models for different sectors."

Mike Cosman, head of construction at the HSE, confirmed that there are still issues about whether the CDM regulations should be a vehicle for supply-team integration.