Chairman of strategic forum Peter Rogers points finger at inadequately trained staff and backward-looking firms.
Strategic Forum chairman Peter Rogers this week criticised the industry's "weak" project managers and "narrow" contractors.

Rogers, who made his comments on Monday night at a House of Commons reception sponsored by Building, said project managers were not adequately trained.

Rogers, who is also a director of developer Stanhope, said the industry needed an integrated approach to education that produced graduates with a broad knowledge and understanding of the built environment.

At the other end of the scale, he called for a generation of executives who were broadly educated and members of a future Institution for the Built Environment.

Rogers said: "They should be supported by project managers who have an understanding not only of the process – on which everything seems to be focused nowadays – but on design and the broader benefits of procuring a major project."

He also criticised contractors, who he said were too narrow in their approach. He said they lagged behind such forward-looking firms as aeroplane makers Boeing and BAE Systems. The division of labour into designers and builders needed to be replaced by integrated suppliers, according to Rogers, who added: "This is fundamental if the PFI process is to succeed."

He then called on Building readers to think of a suitable name for the next generation of project providers.

He said: "The future generation of project provider – let's not call them by their traditional names, since that is too narrow a word – will be in a position to arrange funding, provide designs, build, manage and maintain it. Perhaps this will be a new kind of developer?"

He added that predictions about the future had to be dependent on the management of the environment. He said: "We must learn to behave in a sustainable way before it is too late."

The final target was the way the government related to the construction industry. Rogers said this was too fragmented. "My first proposal for 2020 is a Minister for the Built Environment with overall authority to co-ordinate other departments" – an idea suggested by Building in May.