A Lifetime’s Achievement in Construction

Sir Michael Latham is where the change in our construction industry began.

18th September 2014

His ground breaking report, ‘Constructing the Team’, set the tone for the reform and change agenda within the UK construction sector from the late 1990s to the present day. What’s more he didn’t as many political report writers do, just sit back and move onto the next committee. He maintained a professional and objective profile throughout the last 25 years as he cajoled, advised, encouraged and led the industry forward. Indeed, he has been ever present in the journey from the adversarial, price oriented and inefficient culture and behaviours of the 1990s to the collaborative, safe, on time and in budget industry we enjoy today.

This is one of the many reasons why the CITB has awarded Sir Michael its Life Time Achievement Award. Watch their video and you will see why he is held in such high regard. His message, repeated in various articles, reports and speaking events throughout the years has been consistent: it is up to the industry to work together to improve performance and create a UK built environment that is world class and that works as an economic sector. When he was interviewed for the CEW magazine back in 2007 he summed up the core theme: “Clients need educating and it is up to the industry to work with them – that way everyone can benefit. In the right atmosphere everyone makes decent margins without the legal disputes and tensions that pervade traditional procurement routes.” 

The method he advocated in 1995 and that still applies now is collaborative working. The goal is educating and informing the client – no matter if that client is in the public and private arena. The result is better buildings, more effective facilities, projects and processes that benefit communities and end users. But the answer to ‘how’ is by working together, demonstrating best practice, influencing policy and educating decision makers that Sir Michael Latham was right in 1995 and he is still right today. He is, as the video makes very clear, a very remarkable man.