Lord O’Neill assumes chairmanship

Lord O’Neill of Clackmannan, president of the Specialist Engineering Contractors’ (SEC) Group, has begun a one-year term as chairman of the Strategic Forum for Construction (SFfC). The SFfC exists to provide an interface between Government and the construction industry, and describes its vision as achieving maximum value for clients, end users and stakeholders, and ensuring consistent delivery of world-class products and projects.

Construction commitment

The membership comprises the industry’s main representative bodies which includes the SEC Group as well as the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the trade union UCATT.

Commenting on his aspirations for his year of office, Lord O’Neill confirmed that the starting point must be the SFfC’s Construction Commitments, which had originally been developed in respect of the 2012 London Olympics programme, but which now related to UK construction activity as whole.

The Construction Commitments document identifies six elements as vital to safe, on-time and on-budget delivery which include procurement and integration; commitment to people; client leadership; sustainability; design quality; and health and safety.

“Other issues of significance include Construction Innovation and Growth’s Low Carbon Construction report – which contains 65 recommendations for Government – and the Government Construction Strategy issued by the Cabinet office,” said Lord O’Neill.

He added that the latter document highlighted many issues such as project integration, fair payment, pre-qualification and project bank accounts which the

SEC Group had been addressing for many years.

Successful career

Martin O’Neill served as a Labour Member of Parliament from 1979 and, following a successful career on the opposition front bench, was elected chairman of the House of Commons Trade and Industry Select Committee in 1995, a position he held for the following decade.

On his retirement from the Commons in 2005, he was raised to the peerage and, in the same year, joined the board of the SEC Group, becoming its president in the autumn of 2006.

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