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Ross Sturley, of CIMCIG, argues that construction has sidelined itself with poor communications.

This month, the Government decided to do away with the post of Chief Construction Adviser. The industry response has been unanimous. It's a step back for UK Construction Plc. It’s a slap in the face.

Construction generates around £100bn of GVA for the UK economy, around 7%. True, other sectors contribute more. But many high profile sectors contribute less. Energy and Water throws in £33bn, the Creative Industries £26bn, and Farming around £10bn.

There is a Minister for Farming, and a department for Culture Media and Sport. There is a Minister for Energy, and a Parliamentary Under Secretary for Water. Is there a Minister for Construction?

The apparent lack of concern for construction could be argued in a number of ways.

It could be that the sector is so significant that it is just too important to be given to one junior minister, that its output is so crucial to transport, local government, housing & planning, education, health, high streets and industry that ministers with those portfolios should have the opportunity to help create policy. Or it could be that it's just not glam enough, and portfolios for Universities, Life Sciences, Welfare Reform, the Northern Powerhouse, Immigration, and Europe are judged to be better vote winners.

Does our industry have a public and political perception somewhat behind its contribution to the future of the United Kingdom?

Where would London's future lie if Crossrail weren’t built to time and budget, or (if we ever decide to do it) Heathrow's new runway opens a few years late. How will the Northern Powerhouse grow without people to build the offices and industrial units to house the new jobs? How will we build even the lowest trumpeted projection of new housing without a competent, skilled, and growing bunch of housebuilders?

Enough bleating. It is our fault that it has come to this.

UK Construction Plc continues to fail to communicate its benefits to the general public. If the man and woman on the street felt that our brave British builders, out in all weathers, deep underground or high in the air, in dirty and potentially dangerous conditions, were making a vital contribution to the nation's economic future, there would be a Minister. Instead, they believe that builders are bodgers and cowboys, or seeking to destroy treasured open spaces with ugly new buildings whose inhabitants clog up the local roads and doctors' surgeries.

Scientists are forever on TV explaining how their latest discovery could help cure Alzheimers, or Cancer, and they have a Minister, an Under Secretary, and a Chief Scientific Advisor to help them keep doing that. They work hard to explain not the detail or difficulty of their work, but its effect on ordinary people. They have Brian Cox on TV explaining the importance of the search for the Higgs Boson.

When challenged at a planning meeting by local nimbies, we don't explain in an understandable way what the new development will do for them, how new homes will allow their children to stay local, how new railways will ease road congestion, how local drainage will be improved, not worsened. We hide behind planning-speak, working to get the decision despite the local resistance. We inspire such suspicion that one community recently resorted to flying a drone over a construction site to check up on the builders.

We are not (other than DIY SOS) on TV showing the positive side of our work. Where is the series on Great Construction Achievements of Our Time? Where is the fly-on-the-wall look at how Crossrail is being realised?

UK Construction Plc, if it wants to change the way Government engages with it, needs to change the way it engages with the public.

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