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Message has to get to the coal face

Anyone looking down the delegate list for the Task Force conference will spot a lot of top names. This is a strength but could also be the event's Achilles' heel.

Senior staff of clients, contractors, consultants and suppliers all talk a very good tale. The fear is that the message hasn't reached those out in the field.

It is no good the bosses talking cosily about non-adversarial construction, a fair price for the job, shared rewards, teamwork and trust if their staff do not have the tools or the ability to allow that to happen.

There are concerns within the industry about the conference's ability to deliver results. Not everyone feels totally committed to the new Egan way. Comments include: 'we feel if we don't go we will be blackballed' and 'the task force report was all about big companies and we feel excluded'.

Another industry figure said: 'A lot of the clients on the task force made the cost savings they are so proud of by screwing us during the last recession and we don't trust them.'

Not exactly the best start to a long lasting mutually beneficial relationship.

Many in construction feel hijacked by a task force dominated by building clients and in particular the constant comparison to the manufacturing industry. 'Any more talk of the car industry and you will alienate everyone,' said one contractor. 'If we have to make comparisons, focus on the oil industry'

Another was more forthright. 'The best thing we could do is call the whole thing something different. The name Egan is alienating whole sections of the industry.'

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