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Official: Morrell is government construction Tsar

Former senior partner at Davis Langdon, Paul Morrell, has been confirmed as the government’s construction Tsar, beating a slim field to claim the top job.

The Chief Construction Adviser will guide the government’s construction procurement strategy, and promote innovation and sustainability in the industry.

His first job in the new role will be to lead the Low Carbon Construction Review and report his findings in the spring of 2010. This will set out how the industry is best able to deliver carbon reduction commitments by 2022.

Morrell said he was: “Delighted and excited to have been selected for this role, which presents a real opportunity for the sector to work with Government, and to prepare for the skills, growth and other challenges facing the construction industry.

“This is a tough time for the industry, but now is the right time to work together and I know we have the capability to rise to two of our biggest challenges: to get more value out of our product, and to take more carbon out of its creation and use – getting more for less in both cases.

We have the capability to rise to two of our biggest challenges: to get more value out of our product, and to take more carbon out of its creation and use

Chief Construction Adviser Paul Morrell

“The potential for a well designed and well made built environment to lead economic, social and environmental betterment remains enormous, and the challenges are matched by opportunities, both here and abroad,” he said.

Responding to the announcement, director General of ICE, Tom Foulkes, said the appointment has: “The potential to make a huge difference to industry/government relations, providing the focus and strategic framework required to ensure engagement and consistency.

“The role, providing it maintains a strategic approach, could also provide industry with the platform it needs to deal with the major challenges facing society, such as the transition to a low carbon economy and improving the resilience of the UK’s infrastructure networks, which have been under immense pressure following the events of the last few days and continue to be at risk from future crises.

Foulkes said expectations were high. “In the civil engineering sector, a key focus must be to end the unpredictable, stop-start cycle of government investment that has bedevilled the development of UK infrastructure in recent decades. To achieve this goal, it is vital that the CCA improves co-ordination of public sector procurement and provides industry with a better picture of future demand. It is also important that this role works closely with initiatives already in place – Infrastructure UK, the National Policy Statements for Infrastructure and the Infrastructure Planning Commission.”

In the civil engineering sector, a key focus must be to end the unpredictable, stop-start cycle of government investment that has bedevilled the development of UK infrastructure in recent decades

ICE director general Tom Foulkes

Construction Minister Ian Lucas said: “The Chief Construction Adviser will play a vital role in championing the sector with Government and work with industry to ensure we have a strong, sustainable construction sector in the UK. With broad experience across sectors including commercial, health, residential, arts and transport construction, Paul Morrell is well placed to support the industry to take advantage of the growth opportunities offered by the 21st century.”

Economic Secretary to the Treasury Ian Pearson said: “The construction sector is hugely important to our economy as well as having a vital role to play in helping us to drive even more value for money for the taxpayer.

“The new Chief Construction Adviser, working with the Office of Government Commerce and across government, will help to ensure this happens and that public sector clients optimize value from their construction projects, supporting the aims set out in the Operational Efficiency Programme. I welcome Paul’s appointment and I know that the OGC team looks forward to working with him.”

Paul Morrell, QS:

  • 2009: Awarded OBE in New Year honours list
  • 2008: Stands down as deputy commissioner at CABE
  • 2007: Consultant at Davis Langdon
  • 2004-5: President of the British Council for Offices
  • 1999: Appointed senior partner at Davis Langdon
  • 1971: Joins Davis Langdon from University

Example projects:

  • The ITN Headquarters Building, for Stanhope Properties
  • TAG McLaren Headquarters
  • Headquarters and Distribution Centre, Theale, for Porsche Cars Great  Britain
  • Industrial Park for British Gas
  • 125 Old Broad Street, for Hammerson UK Properties
  • Projects at Charing Cross Hospital, Hammersmith
  • Public Housing projects for the former GLC, the London Boroughs of Camden and Wandsworth, and Milton Keynes Development Corporation
  • Underground line extension for London Underground Limited
  • The Dome Leisure Centre, Doncaster, for Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council
  • Tate Gallery Modern, Bankside
  • JoslynArt Museum Omaha, Nebraska
  • Canary Wharf station for London Underground Limited

The Chief Construction Adviser:
What does he do?

  • Chair the newly formed ‘Construction Collaborative Category Board’, to develop the best value in Government construction procurement. 
  • Chair ‘Enhanced Sustainable Construction Strategy Delivery Board’ to ensure construction policy is co-ordinated.
  • Assess barriers to growth in the UK’s Low Carbon construction sector and ensure the UK industry is well placed to serve developing needs and markets.
  • Work with the Strategic Forum for Construction to deliver the industry’s ‘improvement agenda’, including Construction Commitments.
  • Promote construction innovation, working with the Technology Strategy Board and other funding bodies.
  • Co-ordinate Whitehall responses to construction reports

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