A row is escalating between the UK Contractors Group and the newly-formed Construction Alliance umbrella body that threatens to undermine the industry’s main connection with the government
The dispute centres on how the groups will be represented at the Strategic Forum, the industry’s principal interface with the government. They are fighting over how the three forum seats, which were held by the Construction Confederation (CC), will be divided between the two groups, both of which grew out of the now-defunct organisation.
The CC was one of six bodies to sit on the forum, each holding three seats.
The Construction Alliance was formed at the end of last year to replace the CC and comprises the Federation of Master Builders, the National Federation of Builders and the Civil Engineering Contractors Association, but not the UK Contractors Group (UKCG).
Under current proposals, the Construction Alliance will occupy two forum seats, leaving the UKCG with one. However, the UKCG, lead by former CC head Stephen Ratcliffe, has insisted it should keep two forum seats, with the alliance holding one.
A source close to the forum said that the two groups were now at a “stand-off” and that frustration was growing among forum members, who want to see the row resolved before its next meeting on 27 January. “This is a mess that has become riddled with personality and politics,” the source said.
Brian Berry, director of external affairs at the Federation of Master Builders, added: “The industry does itself no favours when it can’t agree on its own representations. We need to get our own house in order.”
Rachel Done, deputy director of the UKCG, denied that there was a row and said the UKCG intended to occupy the same two seats it had always had under the CC.
Julia Evans, chief executive of the National Federation of Builders, also denied any row and said the issue was still being discussed.