When Sir John Egan produced the report Rethinking Construction in 1998, it was widely criticised for marginalising the role of design. Four years on, Egan's Strategic Forum for Construction has published Accelerating Change , a consultation document which reiterates the central conclusions of the original document, looks at the factors which are inhibiting change, and identifies additional areas of importance for the industry. Like all follow-up documents, there is much well-worn ground, and the fact it all seems so familiar has led to a rather muted response. Few seem to have taken in the fact that this document brings design firmly back into the fold.
In his introduction, Egan speaks of 'the fundamental role of design in delivering a quality construction product'.
Later on, the document refers to investment in the initial design process as the key to achieving lower costs over a building's lifetime, and a checklist of action points advocates the use of design quality indicators to help improve design. The Forum also suggests that the construction industry should adopt the use of the design quality indicators evaluation tool developed by the CIC, CABE and others. Before anybody complains about the folly of attempting to quantify good design, consider the absurdity of bemoaning the fact that design has been left out of the Egan report, and then whingeing about the superfluity of putting it in.
The list of Strategic Forum members shows architects are still under-represented. Among the myriad organisations included, the RIBA is notably absent, with CABE's Jon Rouse as architecture's most prominent champion. Now, however, all architects have the opportunity to contribute. The document, available online at www. cbpp. org. uk/acceleratingchange, is accompanied by a consultation document which expressly invites comments on the content and suggestions for implementation. You have until 31 May to put your point of view across. Egan's Strategic Forum of Construction has shown its commitment to putting architecture back on the agenda. It is up to the architectural profession to demonstrate its willingness to be involved.