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Peter Hansford outlines long-term strategy

A new advisory panel will be revealed next week to help produce an industrial strategy for construction in chief construction adviser Peter Hansford’s first major act in the role.

Mr Hansford has been charged with writing the new industrial strategy to be published in the summer, and H&V News understands that a new advisory council of up to 15 senior industry leaders will meet this week before its official unveiling on Monday.

The council will include contractors, consultants, clients, builders and analysts, who will seek to publish a 10 to 15-year strategy for the entire industry.

Mr Hansford has been appointed on a two-year contract until November 2014 and in his first interview since taking over from Paul Morrell as chief construction adviser, he said the industrial strategy for construction was an “exciting opportunity” that would help resolve industry fears over fragmentation of policies.

He said: “Industry wants two things: it wants delivery and to know how the [various policies] fit together.

“This is different [from existing plans] because for the first time it will show how these initiatives, which some might cynically say are fragmented, join together.”

In September, business secretary Vince Cable proposed the idea of sector-specific industrial strategies and Mr Hansford said the construction strategy would bring together the different strands of work already being done by government.

He said the work would build on existing activities being undertaken through the Government Construction Strategy, Green Construction Board and in building information modelling, but would set a context for them and demonstrate how they will link together as part of a coherent, long-term strategy.

He added: “Businesses will make their own business decisions based on all the information available to them.

“But it will show them how all these various government initiatives link together and why they’re all important. It will be very helpful and I think it’s very exciting.”

Sources told H&V News that the industrial strategy was being pitched as a fresh chance to get all sides of industry working together on a common plan.

The advisory panel is set to include some of the biggest names in the industry, with bodies such as the CBI construction council and Strategic Forum for Construction expected to contribute to the process.

One contractor source said: “His main challenge will be to bring coherence to the industry, and also present a uniform message. Construction is very fragmented; industry must be better at showing a united face.”

A second source added: “This is potentially industry-changing in that it might be delivered by the whole of the industry, but the proposals are being ironed out over the next couple of weeks.

“It’s about setting out what the industry needs to become genuinely world class.”

Since replacing Paul Morrell as chief construction adviser, Mr Hansford has met with Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude, construction minister Michael Fallon and Cabinet Office secretary Chloe Smith to discuss the industry and his role.

He said his role would be to ensure that the government understands the needs of industry, and vice versa, but warned that it was “not one of lobbying for the industry”, rather to ensure the key issues are understood on both sides.

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