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Mandelson review to examine construction productivity

Skills and business secretary Lord Mandelson has announced a review of productivity and skills in the engineering construction sector.
Led by Mark Gibson, who will report to the Business secretary and skills secretary John Denham, the review will examine productivity in the sector and will recommend how productivity and skills can be improved.

The review aims to establish whether there is anything more government or industry can do to ensure British companies succeed in winning and delivering engineering construction contracts.

Business secretary Lord Mandelson said: 'Mark Gibson has extensive experience in working to improve the competitiveness of UK industry. His remit is to draw up clear recommendations for ensuring that British companies and workers are fully equipped for vital future jobs in industries like nuclear new build, and the other large scale engineering construction work. Thus ensuring that those jobs and that innovation come to the UK.'

Building on a 2005 study commissioned by the Engineering Construction Industry Training Board the review will also identify the factors influencing success for UK-based companies bidding for UK and foreign, especially other EU engineering construction contracts (in the last 6 years)

The review will make recommendations on:

- Ways to improve skills and productivity in the UK engineering construction industry.

- What steps small firms can take to compete and to develop new skills and technologies in process

- Strengthening the links between procurement of major public projects and provision of training through methods such as contracting

- How procurement practices can be geared to support productivity in UK firms

FETA director general Cedric Sloan (Federation of Environmental Trade Associations) said: 'I think its a brillant idea and its very welcome. We haven't had this kind of input into the industry for some time. Improvements in productivity across the board including skills improvements if driven by government and local authorities can become best practice which can then be followed by commercial clients.'

Sloan also emphasized the importance of integrated project teams, improved tendering processes, removal of retentions, project bank accounts and insurance schemes and onsite specialist contractor practices.

Sloan added: 'Any attention given by government is welcome. It is a major contractor who is in a position to encourage a more streamlined and effective industry.'
23 February 2009

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