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A leading contractor has called on clients to enter into partnering relationships with contractors as a way to improving quality.Gordon Morrison, managing director of Morrison's utility and energy division, said that partnering created 'an atmosphere of trust and co-operation', which results in improved quality and cost savings.Morrison is involved in successful partnering agreements with Kwiksave supermarkets, Thames Water and Anglian Water, as well as an experimental relationship with British Gas.The contractor realised that traditional contractual arrangements were stacked against quality when a survey of its clients showed that cost was a higher priority than quality.Mr Morrison called for an improvement in quality throughout the construction industry, describing traditions, bureaucracy and European directives as 'artificial barriers' which companies have to find their way through.Morrison has recently adopted a policy of Total Quality Management (TQM) - involving the entire workforce in efforts to reduce waste, improve efficiency and respond to clients' needs.However, Mr Morrison admitted that the TQM approach still does not extend through to the company's selection of subcontractors and suppliers, as 'the industry is totally dependent on competitive tendering. Going for the cheapest is not compatible with getting the best quality'.But he hoped that close relationships between main contractors and clients would ensure that clients realised the value of paying more for subbies and suppliers to get a higher quality product.'We've got to get TQM right across the industry,' he says. 'We've got to get our subcontractors involved and get the clients involved.' CONSTRUCTION NEWS