HBF members unhappy with neglect of land and planning as major contractors set new agenda.

The House Builders’ Federation is set to withdraw from the Construction Confederation after complaints that it is playing second fiddle to major contractors.

It is understood that housebuilders want to re-establish the HBF as a lobbying organisation and to develop better links with MPs.

It is also believed that members are keen to leave the City headquarters that the HBF shares with the confederation and acquire premises nearer to the House of Commons.

A number of housebuilders have criticised the direction that the confederation has taken in its dealings with the government.

They believe that the HBF’s concerns, particularly over planning, have not been put forcefully enough.

The confederation decided recently that it would concentrate on a limited number of issues, including recruitment, e-commerce, prime contracting and sustainability.

Many housebuilders believe that this change in strategy has weakened their position because the issues they are most concerned about, such as planning, have been deemed less important.

Confederation chief executive Jennie Price confirmed that the HBF was considering its position but said any split would be amicable.

Price said: “Land and planning are the big issues for housebuilders and the HBF does a good job looking after that, but issues such as recruitment affect the entire industry, including housebuilders.

“But whatever happens, the HBF will continue to buy services from the confederation and we will continue to have a relationship.”

HBF chief executive Stuart Hill said: “Relationships between the HBF and the Construction Confederation are clearly not what they used to be. The confederation is likely to be focusing on the contractors’ side of the business from now on and so it is up to our members to decide whether we stay in or not when we vote on the issue later this year.”

The move comes at the same time as the Federation of Building Sub Contractors has negotiated its withdrawal from the confederation. It is understood that the FBSC, which formed the National Specialist Contractors Council with other specialists in the early 1990s, also feels that the Construction Confederation is dominated by the major contractors.

An insider said: “There is an air of desperation about the Construction Confederation at the moment. Basically, the specialist associations cannot be seen to be in bed with people who control their destiny and who continually delay paying their members.”