The author of a report into innovation in construction has cast doubt on whether Egan initiatives can transform the industry.
Linda Clarke, project manager of a £356,000 research project carried out at the University of Westminster, said initiatives such as the Movement for Innovation and Housing Forum demonstration projects could only have a limited impact.

Clarke said: "They're not doomed to fail, but they have limitations. Innovation by good example – I'm not sure it can ever succeed."

Clarke's research, which compares social housing projects in the UK, Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands, claims that UK construction is lagging behind the rest of Europe in innovation.

The report also identifies structural problems within the industry – notably fragmentation, lack of training and poor investment – that are unlikely to be overcome by the present industry initiatives.

The report concludes: "Though the UK construction industry demonstrates high openness and readiness to change and innovate, the question raised is whether it is able to transform itself by example."

M4I senior team leader John Mead agreed that the organisation's scope was limited. He said: "There are 200 demonstration projects and about 20 organisations per project: that's 4000 organisations. What are there, 200,000 organisations in construction? That just shows you how little we're reaching."

Housing Forum chief executive David Crewe defended the movement saying that it was impossible to reach such firm conclusions at the moment.