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Construction week woos opinion formers

THE UK CONSTRUCTION industry intends to woo client groups and the media during National Construction Week in April.

Although firms are being encouraged to stage local events, early information suggests the primary target is opinion formers: large clients, the national press and broadcasters.

The 1997 event was condemned as a 'damp squib' by Construction Confederation chairman Martin Laing after it failed to attract significant media attention.

But co-ordinator Ted Stevens said this year's event had solid backing in the shape of sponsorship from Blue Circle, Hanson and the Major Contractors' Group. Each has put in £25,000.

Stevens added that the publication of three specially commissioned industry reports and theming around five construction-related issues would make the event more 'newsworthy'.

He said it was likely that the Department of the Environment Transport & the Regions would announce a set of environmental targets for the industry - an attempt to set the sustainable construction agenda omitted from Sir John Egan's recent Rethinking Construction report.

Stevens also said he was hoping to interest BBC TV's Tomorrow's World programme in covering a planned forecast of changes in construction technology and site practice by 2020.

Construction Confederation chief executive Ian Deslandes welcomed the strategy.

'An industry that for as long as anybody can remember has had trouble with its image is now doing something about it,' he said.

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