Rethinking Construction: what about the SMEs?

David Langford, Jamal Abukhder, Michael Murray, Cliff Hardcastle, E. Vernea

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The UK construction industry suffers from a number of problems that inhibit its potential for increased productivity. These include inadequate profitability, an adversarial culture and a fragmented industry structure. The recommendations made in the Latham report and Egan Report represent the most comprehensive and co-ordinated attempt in many years to cure the industry ills. This paper examines the awareness that seventeen Managing Directors/ Senior Managers employed in Scottish based small and medium sized construction firms have of the ‘Egan’ agenda for change within the construction industry. The perceived impact, effectiveness and potential implementation of the Egan recommendations were analysed. Analysis of the interviews revealed that the most important recommendations were considered to be: i) clients should employ an Egan compliant contractor; ii) greater client focus; iii) the development of long-term partnership. Each organisations awareness of Egan agenda was classified using a three tier typology- “early adopters, slow followers and blissfully unaware”. However, there was widespread scepticism concerning the precise overlay of the Egan targets to these organisations. This is not to say that the firms are antithetical to the use of targets to shape performance, but that they have constructed their own targets which fitted better their ambitions and culture.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16-27
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Construction Procurement
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2004


  • small and medium sized contractors
  • rethinking construction
  • construction industry


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