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Loughborough University

I had the pleasure last Thursday of delivering a lecture to about 60 students in two Masters Programmes in the Department of Civil and Building Engineering at Loughborough University in the Midlands. They were about 10 MSc Construction Management students and the rest third year students in the MEng Civil Engineering programme.

I spoke to them about the Egan Agenda and how it has and has not changed the industry over the last 10 years - and how collaborative working and collaboration technologies have helped to enable partnering in the construction industry. I do these kinds of lectures fairly often - as the "construction technology" company launched by Sir John to help push the Rethinking Construction agenda Asite gets these requests on a regular basis - and inevitably I end up spending a large part of my talk (two hours in this case!) speaking about contract forms and all the different ways in which companies in the industry contract with each other. I do enjoy seeing some of the keener students twig when they look at these contract forms and the relationships through the supply chain from the raw perspective of a "selling off of risk" - and start to think about the subbie to subbie to subbie (ad nauseum) relationships in that way rather than in the more touchy-feely ways which are the public face of construction contract forms.

I have yet to encounter a Masters programme student in a construction-related field who has heard of "partnering" or "collaborative" forms of contracts, so clearly there is much work to be done on pushing those into the mainstream. Turns out that the lecture was very timely as I got to the office the next day to the weekly edition of Building magazine in which the cover article was "THE PROPHET WE LOST - Who cares about Rethinking Construction now?" - about where the Egan Agenda has got to over the 10 years since the Rethinking Construction report was delivered to government. See a precis from the editor of Building here.

Of course it would not be a group of 60 university students on a Thursday morning if we didn't have one or two nodding off! I was of course in university once and so have sympathy with the poor souls stuck listening to me...

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