18 July 2002 | Robin Parker
Plans to step up the use of collaborative teams in construction projects are "naive" and ignore the need to integrate the wider supply chain, industry bodies have warned.
Representatives of the sector, consulted by the Strategic Forum on Construction, said there had been too much emphasis on forming integrated supply teams at the expense of understanding how to improve each organisation's individual supply chain.
The forum was seeking advice on its plans to provide a partnership approach in construction supply chains and to set out targets for improving buyer-supplier relationships.
The findings will inform the final draft of Accelerating Change, Sir John Egan's follow-up to his landmark 1998 report Rethinking Construction, due in September.
The final report is also likely to contain far fewer performance targets after criticisms that there were too many in the consultative document, which would be impossible to meet in the timeframes proposed.
The draft suggested greater use of integrated teams of contractors to deliver joint projects, and to communicate the benefits of working together.
The sentiment was echoed by Brian Wilson, construction minister, who called for the public sector to take a stronger lead in collaborative projects.
"We need teams and supply chains moving from one project to another, building up expertise that encourages innovation and a constant quest for better value," he said.
But the Construction Confederation, representing more than 5,000 firms, said the forum's targets were "plucked out of the air" and branded the assumption of widespread use of integrated teams "naive".
Stephen Ratcliffe, its chief executive, said: "The construction supply chain is never going to be as constant as a manufacturer's.
"Each project will need to rely to some extent on local supply chains, which will be different from job to job."