Former construction minister Nick Raynsford has pledged to bridge the divisions within the construction sector following his appointment as deputy chairman of the Construction Industry Council last Wednesday

In his first interview since the surprise appointment, Raynsford told Building that he was sure he would enjoy the backing of the body’s 31 member organisations.

Concerns have been voiced in private that Raynsford does not have the “clout or practical experience” to fight the industry’s corner.

But the Labour MP for Greenwich and Woolwich said: “It was one of the first questions I asked, but all parts of the CIC welcomed my nomination. I have the ability to pull all the people together as I don’t have particular allegiances to any of the bodies.”

Raynsford said he wanted to crack down of some of the “old thinking” in the industry, of which the recent row over contracts procedure between the British Property Federation and the CIC was “symptomatic”.

“My role is very much to act as a catalyst and to break down some of the barriers that exist between different areas. It is more divided than I would like it to be.”

My role is very much to act as a catalyst and to break down barriers

Nick Raynsford

Raynsford declined to elaborate on which areas he particularly felt needed attention.

His appointment was well-received in many quarters. Keith Clarke, chief executive of engineering consultant Atkins, said: “He was the best construction minister we have ever had. He is a man of enormous integrity and will push the industry very hard.”

Brian Berry, head of construction policy at the RICS, said: “I would like Nick to become the public voice of construction and address three key areas: the lack of clear representation in government; energy efficiency in buildings; and the more effective delivery of the PFI.”