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Construction industry gets a warning from Dutch minister.

If the construction industry is to be a thriving sector of the economy, it is imperative that it becomes a transparent sector focused on quality and innovation.

This call to arms will be delivered by the Dutch Minister of Economic Affairs, Laurens Brinkhorst, to the international construction industry during a forthcoming conference entitled The Challenge of Change in Construction.

Brinkhorst is just one of the many authorities who will speak at the conference, which will take place at the World Trade Center in Rotterdam (the Netherlands), on 22 and 23 March 2005. The key theme of the conference will be the radical reform of the international construction industry.

Construction firms all over the world currently face a number of significant problems.

The industry is paralyzed by the traditional relations between clients and providers, and any competition that exists is based on price rather than on quality. As a result, the development of processes, products and services has lacked impetus. At the same time, the industry is affected by a number of social changes, such as greater mobility, urban congestion and environmental concerns. Although the industry is keen to capitalize upon the desired changes, this will only be possible though effective collaboration with clients and with the government.

Two years ago, a first step towards remedying this situation was taken when leading figures in the construction industry came together to exchange ideas on the sector's future. In many countries, large-scale reform programmes are already underway, often spurred on by government. In the Netherlands, the government is now actively promoting reform. During the conference

The Challenge of Change in Construction, Mr Brinkhorst will emphasize the importance of reform, as he has recently done in his role as coordinating minister for the Netherlands' Construction Management Council, created to promote change in the sector, saying that 'Good intentions are great, but it's also essential to have clear accountability in terms of results.' Ms Karla Peijs, the Dutch Minister of Transport, Public Works and Water Management, put it even more bluntly: 'The client--your average citizen--simply doesn't trust the construction industry, and that must change!'

The Challenge of Change in Construction will be held under the auspices of PSIB, the Dutch national program for Process and System Innovation in Building), amongst others.

PSIB combines the strengths of innovative clients, the construction industry and research institutes from the residential and non-residential building sectors and the civil engineering sector to give shape to the reform process. The conference is intended for anyone involved in innovation in the building industry, whether as a contractor or a client, and whether from the private or the public sector.

Success stories and other lessons from Europe, Japan and the US will be featured in workshops and parallel sessions, as will promising initiatives from other countries.

In addition to championing the need for change, Brinkhorst will present an innovation prize for young people involved in reform in the industry. More information can be found on the conference website at
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Title Annotation:Construction & Design; The Challenge of Change in Construction conference
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Geographic Code:4EUNE
Date:Jan 12, 2005
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