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Money: the great motivator

Next month Sir John Egan will host a construction productivity summit. As Asite's new chairman, he has commercial reasons for improving industry performance.

Sir John Egan reckons the webbased 'netmarket' will help to press home his Rethinking Construction reform message. Or is it the other way around?

'People would not have been thinking in the right way two years ago so Asite would probably not have been possible, ' he admits.

'Now people are thinking about preplanning and not being prisoners of the system of chaos that was.'

It is preplanning that he believes is the key to success in the industry and, of course, the element that this new venture hopes to service. But, as with Rethinking Construction, Egan wants to focus on the clients to make things happen.

'If we are going to make progress, the clients have got to have greater visibility in their projects and that is what this gives them, ' Egan explains. 'Clients have signed up. They pay all the bills.

When you start looking for supply chain rationalisation and value for money, it is the clients that will actually drive it through.'

The computer technology also appeals to him as a vital tool in delivering Rethinking Construction.

'We wanted to see projects entirely preplanned on the computer, ' he says. 'Where the whole supply chain is in place, you've worked out the best construction sequence and logistics, and preplanned the productivity.

'All of the things we said should be done in Rethinking Construction, in terms of the vision, Asite makes easier - it is a practical tool.'

But Egan has also moved on in terms of his motivation for improving the industry and admits that it is easier to sell a concept of reform when there is a commercial reason for doing so.

'Within 18 months we have got to be in a positive cash flow and actually to have a business that will enable us to develop our remaining tools, ' he says. 'I would have hoped that within the next couple of months we will have enough projects to achieve these objectives.'

And Sir John's objective for Asite? 'Build up the client list and then build a critical mass of projects. Then we have to ensure that the tools are right. Then we have to make money.'

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