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MCG chair targets big guns

NEWS - Bovis Lend Lease chief promises to bring back the big players as he prepares to take the chair at Major Contractors Group

INCOMING Major Contractors Group chairman John Spanswick is launching a campaign to attract some of the industry's biggest players back into the lobbying group.

Mr Spanswick, chief executive of Bovis Lend Lease, takes over from current chairman Dermot Gleeson at the group's AGM next Monday.He has vowed to use his term in office to win back companies like Balfour Beatty, which jumped ship along with Amec and Mowlem.Mr Spanswick is also keen to sign up Laing O'Rourke.

He told Construction News: 'I want to get back the people that have left the MCG and unite it again as the lobbying body for all the big players in the industry. I want to attract Balfour Beatty back on board and I'm keen to sign up Laing O'Rourke.'

A raft of the country's biggest contractors left the group after Balfour Beatty decided in 2001 it was no longer relevant. Companies such as Balfour and Amec decided the MCG had become diluted by smaller members.

One source close to the group said: 'A lot of people were getting disillusioned with the MCG.You had £300 million-turnover firms sitting alongside multibillion pound companies and their needs were totally different.

'The outgoing chairman was head of one of the smaller firms, which didn't help.Now the chief executive of Bovis is in charge, that should be an advantage getting the bigger players back on board.'

Mr Spanswick wants to use safety as a way of uniting the industry and sees the MCG as an ideal forum for firms to swap information on the latest initiatives.

He is also keen to lobby the Government at the highest level to act as a best practice client.

Mr Spanswick said: 'Safety can be one of the main drivers in this.There is a lot of good work going on and it is vital we all share best practice information.

'The Government can do a lot as a client to improve safety and productivity but it needs to be more joined up.Many departments like the Ministry of Defence are doing a lot of good work but too many aren't and they need to talk to each other more.

'We have to be united as an industry as well and that is why the MCG needs to represent all the major players.'