Author of Rethinking Construction says that housebuilders did not try to improve their businesses during the 'nice decade'

Sir John Egan has slammed housebuilders for not implementing the recommendations in his Rethinking Construction report.

Speaking at a reception at the House of Commons to mark 10 years since the publication of his report, Egan said he would rate the construction industry’s performance since as “four out of 10”.

Egan particularly criticised housebuilders for failing to follow the guidelines laid down in his report.

He said: “[Housebuilders] have made no cost improvements at all. Absolutely nothing. Also, their productivity processes actually generated much less than half of the demonstration projects.”

“I just don’t think they were trying. In this ‘nice decade’, as the Bank of England called it, they really didn’t try. And now they’ve got their comeuppance. It’s very, very sad.”

Egan said that housebuilders could have made progress with simple productivity and design improvements and more off-site building. “the houses could be costing a great deal less than they do, and there would still be a market.”

Egan also claimed responsibility for John Prescott’s plans to build £60,000 homes last year, but he said he wanted the target to be £50,000 and for the homes to be three-bed.

Egan went on to say that the government was partly to blame for “not trying” to be a good client in its construction projects.

Summing up the lasting impact of the report, Egan said: “We have to say we’ve got pretty patchy results. And certainly nowhere near the improvement we could have achieved, or that I expected to achieve.”