Tory MP calls for focus on construction quality
The CIOB's fringe event at the Conservative Party Conference (Image: CIOB)
A Conservative MP has called for construction companies to place a stronger emphasis and suggested that pay among some executives in the housebuilding sector was too high.
Speaking at the Chartered Institute of Building’s (CIOB) fringe event at the Conservative Party Conference, Richard Bacon admitted that housebuilders had a duty to make money for their shareholders but argued that some executives’ pay, which can run into seven figures, was too high.
“Even by the standard of blood-curdling, right-wing Brexiteer free-market Tories it does sound a little excessive. That is money that should have been going into better quality and better thermal performance,” he said.
Bacon argued that a level playing field needed to be created for companies in the industry in order to give create a more competitive market and give consumers more choice.
Meanwhile, Eddie Hughes MP called for the creation of a regulator with “teeth” to force housebuilders to refund customers if their house was not up to scratch.
Speaking about homebuyers, he said: “In many ways they seem to have fewer rights than they would if they had bought a faulty kettle. Particularly in our role as MPs, I think about those people who bought a new house and then find there are problems with it, but they are one small individual against the mighty housebuilder.”
Caroline Gumble, chief executive of the CIOB, said that all professional bodies in construction were committed to the quality agenda and urged stakeholders to “get on with implementing the Hackitt review”.
The CIOB has attended both the Labour Party Conference in Brighton and the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester to discuss key issues facing construction.
At the Labour conference, the CIOB hosted a fringe event with the New Statesman on tackling mental health and improving wellbeing. The panel included contributions from professor Charles Egbu, president of the CIOB, Alex Cunningham MP, shadow housing minister, Gail Cartmail, assistant general secretary of Unite the Union and Lawrence Waterman, chairman of the British Safety Council.
Egbu attendees about the CIOB’s own survey into mental health, which has so far generated over 2,000 responses from industry, as a mechanism for raising awareness and to help develop practical tools to improve its record on wellbeing. A fulll writeup of the debate can be found here.
At both conferences, the CIOB has also held a joint institutes event with RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects), RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) and RTPI (Royal Town Planning Institute), discussing skills provision in the built environment at the Labour conference. At the Conservative conference, Jake Berry, minister for the northern powerhouse gave a keynote address and the CIOB demonstrated its commitment to supporting the northern powerhouse alongside the other institutes.
Commenting on her first party conference season, Gumble said: “It was valuable to gain a real insight into the workings of the policy and public affairs team as well as have a number of positive and fruitful meetings. I do believe that collaboration with other organisations is important and can help drive our work forward and support delivery of the best outcomes for our sector.”