6 December 2019

No need for mergers, says NFB

Merging industry bodies unnecessary and would be counterproductive

The NFB has rejected calls from Sir Robert McAlpine Chief Executive, Paul Hamer, to merge industry bodies in order to address industry issues more effectively. Richard Beresford, Chief Executive of the National Federation of Builders, said:

“We disagree that merging industry bodies is the answer to any of the issues the industry faces. Each body exists because it serves the needs of specific sectors or niches, which will all understandably have different views and needs. What is right for a plumber may not be right for an electrician, what’s right for a small housebuilder may not be right for a multi-national Tier 1 contractor. The NFB has been serving its members and the industry for well over a century and we don’t feel it would be right to take that away. I’m sure other industry bodies feel the same.

“Having said that, industry bodies must – and do – collaborate when there is common ground. We enjoyed the active contribution and support of over 20 industry bodies when compiling our recent report Transforming Construction for a Low Carbon Future. It was an excellent collaborative experience because we all had a common goal. Consequently we were able to put this report in front of politicians and civil servants with the weight of the industry behind it.

“Ironically, Mr Hamer’s call for chief executives in the sector to join him in deciding what the industry’s problems are and how to solve them simply creates another body with another agenda, thus further confusing the field – exactly what he doesn’t want. We would concede that there is plenty of scope for clarification of what each body stands for as well as improved communication between them but most of them serve a specific purpose and are unlikely to volunteer themselves out of existence. Collaboration and communication driven by common issues is the way forward.

“Ultimately this is more about how we organise ourselves, rather than the number of organisations in the industry.”