Minister tells housebuilders at Housing Forum annual conference that he wants tables in 12 months.
Construction minister Nick Raynsford has told housebuilders that he expects performance league tables in 12 months.

Speaking at the Housing Forum annual conference, Raynsford said: "Conclusions should be made public and performance league tables, like those for schools, hospitals and government departments, will ensure an accurate assessment of the record of housebuilding on Rethinking Construction." The Housing Forum was set up in the wake of the Egan report to promote its recommendations in the housebuilding sector. As part of this process, it has launched a customer satisfaction survey of new-build homeowners that will form the basis of the tables. It expects to be able to publish its findings next autumn.

A forum working group, chaired by Westbury Homes chief executive Martin Donohue, will provide a brief for the survey, which will be carried out by a research company.

Raynsford said the government would partially fund the initiative to ensure that it was independent, but added that the industry must pay something, too.

He said: "I'm a great believer in joint funding because it ensures joint ownership, but I am prepared to give it substantial funding." Former chief executive of the House Builders' Federation Roger Humber, who attended the forum on behalf of the HBF, reacted coolly to the idea of a league table. He said: "Clearly the government wants league tables and will do it, so we just have to get on with it. But we need to know whether this is just an exercise to crucify housebuilders or to provide meaningful information.

"A national top 10 of housebuilders is little use to people who live in regions where the top 10 don't operate. We also need to sort out exactly what it is we are measuring: whether it is how we build or customer satisfaction or the quality of internal finishes." Housing Forum chairman Sir Michael Pickard said the working group would examine whether a regional table of housebuilders would be a better guide for homeowners than a national one. He insisted that the tables would be based on customer satisfaction.

Sir Michael said: "Innovation will be worked in, but in the end, the customer is the prime recipient." The conference was attended by more than 200 people from the public and private housebuilding sector and by senior civil servants from the DETR construction directorate.