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Goal

Civils schemes account for a quarter of proposed demonstration projects, which will serve as models for Egan report compliance.

There is no doubt that the contractors, consultants and clients at last week's Rethinking construction conference were there out of a genuine desire to improve the industry's

performance.

The gauntlet thrown down by Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott and Construction Task Force chairman Sir John Egan four months ago appears to have been picked up with vigour if not always with enthusiasm. More than 80 projects have been put forward to demonstrate best practice - a quarter from the civils sector.

Over the next few weeks the Rethinking construction steering committee will consider whether these nominated schemes are suitable as demonstration projects.

Between them the projects put forward are expected to achieve most if not all of the targets set out in the Egan report. These should include cost and time savings, lower accident rates, defect reduction and less client imposed changes and improved profits for all in the construction team.

There has been a rush within the industry to come up with projects to match Egan's demands. But most of those promoting potential demonstration projects can already show they are encouraging best practice on these and other jobs because they already have benchmarking and measuring systems in place.

Once the projects are up and running, the Rethinking construction steering committee has the task of putting a mechanism in place to spread the best practice lessons being demonstrated across the rest of the industry.

Working out and agreeing a meaningful benchmarking system to compare the performance of the diverse range projects undertaken across the civils and building sectors will be tough. This will be the steering committee's next challenge.

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