COLLABORATION RATHER than merger is the short-term priority for built environment institutions, Construction Industry Council (CIC) chairman Graham Watts confirmed this week.
Priority areas to kick start this cross-institutional co-operation will be nailed down by a three month research programme to be commissioned on 26 March by the CIC-led Futures Group, he said.
Formation of a single built environment institution remains on the table. But the move towards greater co-operation effectively leaves aside such a radical step.
The focus, said Watts, would be fixed firmly on boosting mutual support between bodies.
'The idea of a single institution is not dead, ' said Watts. 'But we are looking first to achieve greater collaboration. The reality is that if we were to say we wanted a single institution right now the whole process would be doomed to failure.'
CIC has drawn up a shortlist of four consultants to tender for the research work which should start on 1 April.
The winning consultant will have three months to question the 11 larger institutions who are funding the work.
It will also speak to the nine smaller bodies which are also contributing to the process.
All will be asked if and how they believe that cross-institutional activity will work for each of the 19 target activities.
'The research brief identifies 19 areas of possible collaboration between institutions, ' explained Watts.
'Researchers will go into each of the institutions and find out the extent to which each is prepared to collaborate in these different areas.'
A report is expected to go to the CIC on 17 July. At this point CIC Futures Group will be able to set out a plan for the best way forward.
'The research will identify the priority areas to concentrate activities on, ' said Watts. 'It is unlikely that all 19 will be taken forward, maybe just six or seven initially.'
19 opportunities to get closer
The 19 areas of potential interinstitutional collaboration to be researched are:
Continuing professional development
Research and development
Qualification and accreditation
Administration and overheads
Regional offices and activities
Arbitration and dispute resolution
Development of the built environment
Value based learning
Benevolent fund and activities