Industry leader Peter Rogers is upset that construction has been sidelined by the DTI in its strategy document Prosperity for All.
The industry is not mentioned in the 55-page document, which sets out how the DTI plans to transform business in the next five years by raising productivity.

Rogers, who is chairman of industry body Constructing Excellence and director of developer Stanhope, has written to construction minister Nigel Griffiths to express concern that the document failed to mention the industry.

The DTI played down the omission, saying that many industries were not mentioned. A spokesperson said: "The document provides a longer-term direction for what we do. What it doesn't do is mention everything that the DTI does – and nor should it."

He added: "We recognise that the construction industry is hugely important to our economy and the DTI is doing much to encourage it."

The industry is roughly equal in size to the transport and communications sector and contributes 5% of total GDP. Manufacturing as a whole contributes 16%. Construction employs some 3 million people – 11% of total UK employment.

The report says the UK's productivity is 20% below its main European competitors. It attributes this gap to poor training and underinvestment in research.