Speech to RICS describes state sector as slow, ineffective and "totally wedded to tendering".
Sir John Egan has attacked the government's record as a construction client ahead of the publication of Accelerating Change, the follow-up to his 1998 Rethinking Construction report.

Speaking to industry leaders at a RICS lunch last week, Egan described the government, which procures 40% of UK construction projects by value, as a bad client.

He said: "The government produces pretty reports on construction that satisfy most civil servants and politicians, but it still is a bad client."

Egan followed this judgment with a gloomy prediction. He said: "I don't think they will ever change. They are totally wedded to tendering."

His speech came as the government moved to cut the length of time it takes to get projects built, especially those financed using the PFI .

Egan said he would use his role as CBI president, which he assumes in the autumn, to encourage clients to improve their performance.

In a wide-ranging speech, Egan called for a revitalised approach to construction. He said: "I just do not believe we will be a successful nation if we do not plan to rebuild ourselves on a more regular basis than we have done in the past.

There is a huge amount to be done, and it should be done to world-best standards."

Egan stressed that the partnering was particularly important in the UK, given that no firms controlled the whole construction process.

Egan's remarks on the government's performance were backed by sector leaders. Oliver Whitehead, the chief executive of Alfred McAlpine, said: "No major capital project in recent years done by the government has been done well. You've got to wonder about government procurement – it hasn't got the procurement mechanisms to spend its money. Civil servants shouldn't be expected to run a major construction job."

A draft version of Accelerating Change is due to be published next month. The document advises the creation of independent construction advisers, new government guidance for public sector clients and project-based insurance.

In his foreword, Egan says: "I am frustrated that the rate of take-up has not been as rapid as it should be."