Last edited 11 Nov 2016

Accelerating Change

In 1997, the then Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott set up the Construction Task Force, chaired by Sir John Egan. In 1998, the task force published 'Rethinking Construction' (the Egan Report), on the scope for improving the quality and efficiency of UK construction'. The report set very ambitious targets, including annual reductions of 10% in construction cost and construction time and a reduction in defects of 20% per year.

The earlier 1994 Latham report had led to the creation of the Construction Industry Board (CIB) to oversee reform, this was replaced in 2001 by the Strategic Forum for Construction in 2001, chaired by Sir John Egan. In September 2002 the Strategic Forum for Construction published a report on its first year of activity Accelerating change: A report by the Strategic Forum for Construction.

Accelerating change front cover.jpg

In it, Egan stated 'I have been greatly impressed by the industry's efforts to apply 'Rethinking Construction' principles'.

The report stated that 'Our vision is for the UK construction industry to realise maximum value for all clients, end users and stakeholders and exceed their expectations through the consistent delivery of world class products and services.'

It proposed that:

  • By the end of 2004, 20% of construction projects should be undertaken by integrated project teams and integrated supply teams.
  • By the end of 2004, 20% of client activity should embrace the principles of the Clients' Charter.
  • By the end of 2007 both these figures should rise to 50%.
  • The industry will recruit and retain 300,000 qualified people by the end of 2006.
  • There will be a 50% increase in applications to built environment higher and further education courses by 2007.

The Strategic Forum for Construction tasked itself, amongst other things to:

It also made a great number of recommendations, including the appointment of independent client advisers to help clients address their business needs and assemble teams, and that project insurance products should be made available to underwrite the whole team.

However, the Egan report was not entirely welcomed by the industry, and there was some perception that applying Egan's experience in manufacturing to an industry as different as construction was unrealistic. In May 2008, ten years after publication of Rethinking Construction, Sir John Egan stated that 'we have to say we've got pretty patchy results. And certainly nowhere near the improvement we could have achieved, or that I expected to achieve…..I guess if I were giving marks out of 10 after 10 years I'd probably only give the industry about four out of 10' ref Egan: I'd give construction about 4 of 10.

NB In 2002, the Rethinking Construction Group Ltd, chaired by Alan Crane, published Rethinking Construction 2002: Achievements, Next Steps, Getting Involved. The report offered an update on progress as well as outlining a strategy for the following two years.

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