Leading industry figures have slammed the government’s failure to drive through reform in construction, warning that the industry could be left to initiate changes on its own after the review of the Construction Act is published

Speaking at a Willmott Dixon event last week, Sir Michael Latham criticised the government’s failure to use public sector schemes to promote project insurance. His attack was backed by Atkins’ chairman Keith Clarke, who hit out at the government’s weak stance on safety.

At the event, held to commemorate a decade of change since Latham’s report Constructing the team was published, Latham expressed anger that his recommendations on insurance were unlikely to be included in the review of the Construction Act, due for publication within the next two months.

Latham said: “I have been very disappointed by the response to project insurance. I was surprised that it wasn’t included in the introduction of PFI schemes, as that seemed like an ideal opportunity.”

Latham added that the government was unlikely to backtrack over the issue. He said: “They have looked at including compulsory project insurance with PFI before. They are unlikely to agree to look again.”

Meanwhile, Clarke attacked the government’s approach to safety. He said: “The government needs to understand it has huge responsibility in many areas, particularly transport contracts. What we aspire to is to have a safety induction for everyone who enters a site. It’s appalling that the industry has to do this alone, even though it is important that we make health and safety our problem.”

Writing in Building this week, Latham also called for changes in Whitehall to create a single Department of the Built Environment, which he said would promote greater coherence on construction issues.