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Industry pays tribute to influential Sir Michael Latham

Former MP and author of the influential 1994 Constructing the Team report, Sir Michael Latham, has died.

The former chairman of the CITB and Willmott Dixon passed away on 2 November, aged 74.

Tributes have been paid by industry leaders who spoke to the enormous legacy he left the construction industry, from the statutory right to adjudication to his work on leading the skills debate and encouraging client reform and leadership.

Sir Michael’s 1994 study, which came to be known as the ‘Latham Report’, was an influential work on the adversarial nature of the construction industry.

The Latham Report would become a reference point for subsequent studies by Sir John Egan, Crossrail chief executive Andrew Wolstenholme and former government chief construction adviser Paul Morrell.

CITB chairman James Wates said: “I am saddened to hear of the recent passing of Sir Michael Latham, who was a tremendously respected and liked figure in the construction industry.

“His commitment to and passion for the industry was clear to all of us who worked with him.

“He was a tremendous champion for collaboration and modernisation in the sector, and we have all benefited tremendously from his work and from knowing him personally.”

Mr Latham’s sons collected a lifetime achievement award from the CITB on Sir Michael’s behalf in 2014.

Sir Michael was MP for Melton for nine years until 1983 and thereafter MP for Rutland and Melton until he stood down in 1992.

Following the Latham Report, he went on to serve as Construction Industry Training Board and ConstructionSkills chairman for almost a decade until 2010.

He was also chairman and deputy chairman of Willmott Dixon for a decade until 2009.

Willmott Dixon chief executive Rick Willmott said: “I am very sad to hear about the passing of Sir Michael. He was both a friend and inspiration to me and it was a privilege to have worked so closely with him during his time at Willmott Dixon.

“Sir Michael did so much at Willmott Dixon to champion the role of partnering and how it can deliver better outcomes for everyone involved in construction; he played a key part in helping our business grow in the 1990s and early part of this century and I will always be grateful for his immense contribution.

“His 1994 report Constructing the Team was instrumental in encouraging a more collaborative environment in the construction industry which still has a profound influence today and his positive legacy will be felt for many decades to come.”

Construction Industry Council chief executive Graham Watts said: “Michael was a kind and patient man who worked hard to bring disparate elements of the fragmented industry together during his review, the legacy of which we still enjoy today in so many ways, including the statutory right to adjudication and the Considerate Constructors Scheme. 

“He was an honorary affiliate of CIC and we were very proud to have had a long association with him.”

A funeral service will be held at 1.30pm on Monday 20 November at St James’ Church in Gretton. 

Construction News extends its sympathies to Sir Michael’s family.

Readers' comments (1)

  • Very sad to hear about the passing of Sir Michael Latham. He was somebody I admired very much and who had a big influence on myself.He was a clear minded, future seeing person who C&BE owe a great deal to.

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