The outlook for the construction industry in the UK is looking positive at the moment. Regeneration is taking place throughout our cities and the Olympic development is providing a healthy number of jobs and providing a boost for our economy. Terminal Five at Heathrow, which is finishing pretty much on time and on budget, has been a tremendous achievement. And here at Severn Trent our capital plan is in line with our predictions and we are going to make significant year on year productivity gains.
When I meet contractors, the ideas encompassed in my 1998 Rethinking Construction report are no longer alien. The key aims were to embrace the concept of pre-planning and to encourage partnership working to achieve high standards at world class cost. The vision was one in which professionals practised on computers rather than on their customers.
Although many larger organisations have adopted this approach some contractors and subcontractors are still operating in the dark ages. It is vital for their own survival and the growth of the industry that they get up to speed on the use of IT.
ACT-UK builds on the vision and guidelines laid down in that report in two key respects. It is all about partnership working and it embraces the concept of practising in a virtual scenario. It ensures pre-planning and mistakes can be made before managers get out into the real world.
Another very exciting element of the ACT-UK project is its plan to work with Asite, the software provider, whose tools will enable construction professionals to interact via the internet, ordering materials, changing designs and carrying out value engineering on-screen wherever they are in the world.
ACT-UK represents an innovative vision for the future of the construction industry.
Sir John Egan,
Chairman of Severn Trent plc
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