Defence minister Peter Kilfoyle nailed his department's colours to the mast of single-point procurement last week and urged the construction industry to cut out the waste or lose ground to American competitors.
The Liverpool MP appointed as under secretary of state in July was speaking at the Design Build Foundation's second annual conference, 'Building Better by Design'. Many of its speakers were at pains to reinforce the benefits of team-working with a single point of responsibility, to cut out waste and traditional adversarial relationships.
'This government is acutely aware of the importance of the construction industry, ' said Kilfoyle. 'It's undeniable that there are many pockets of good practice, but on the whole it's a picture of inefficiency and waste.'
Kilfoyle warned that unless the UK mirrored a US scheme and strategy document which aimed at hitting targets by 2003 - including a 30 per cent increase in productivity - the country and its industry could become 'vulnerable to an international threat and lose market share'. This would also have a damaging knock-on effect on other sectors. 'That's not alarmist - it's a very, very credible prognosis' he said.
The answer was for the industry to put an end to separate contracting, which, he said, only reinforced separation and adversarial relationships. Kilfoyle urged the client members of the foundation to replace their current methods with single-point procurement: 'prime contracting.' But there was no reason why that prime contractor could not be a consultant or from another industry.