The rift between housebuilders and contractors is confirmed by the HBF's vote to quit industry umbrella body.
Members of the House Builders Federation this week voted to leave the Construction Confederation after complaints that it was playing second fiddle to major contractors.

The move, predicted in Building last year, was rubber-stamped at an HBF meeting on Tuesday. If ratified, the HBF will leave the confederation in 18 months – by January 2003.

An HBF insider claimed that the move was inevitable following the historic split of housebuilders from contractors in the 1990s.

The insider said: "The confederation and HBF haven't lobbied for anything together for a long time. They deal with different subjects and issues. There hasn't been much common ground."

Despite the split, the HBF is likely to buy services from the confederation such as advice on tax and labour relations matters. It is understood to still want to rent its offices from the confederation.

Housebuilders have complained that the confederation was not sufficiently representative of their interests.

The CC and HBF deal with different subjects and issues. There hasn’t been much common ground

HBF insider

In particular, they have criticised the direction that the confederation has taken in its dealings with the government, saying that it has not voiced their concerns about the planning system loudly enough.

Last year, the confederation decided that it would focuses on issues such as recruitment, e-commerce, prime contracting and sustainability. This led housebuilders to take the view that they needed a strong lobbying organisation of their own.

The HBF's vote comes in the wake of last year's announcement by the Federation of Building Specialist Contractors' of its withdrawal from the confederation.

The FBSC, which formed the National Specialist Contractors Council along with other specialists in the early 1990s, is understood to have felt that the Construction Confederation was dominated by major contractors.