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Industry bodies pay tribute to Sir Michael Latham

10 November 2017

Tributes have been made to Sir Michael Latham, former chair of Willmott Dixon and the CITB, MP and industry visionary after his death at the age of 74.

His efforts have been attributed with leading to the modernisation of the construction sector in the mid-1990s.

Sir Michael was the author of the influential Trust and Money report, which was followed by the government's Constructing the Team publication in 1994.

His views have also been praised for influencing much of the subsequent Construction Act.

BSRIA chief executive Julia Evans said: “On behalf of everyone at BSRIA and its members, we were very saddened by the passing of Sir Michael Latham.

"Sir Michael was an industry visionary in his time who had a long and distinguished career over a number of years. Indeed: he sought to change the industry for the better, recognising the benefits of greater stakeholder collaboration and everyone involved in the supply chain.

"For a number of years – he was CITB Chairman. In essence, Sir Michael’s contribution to the industry is remarkable. And he has undoubtedly left the industry in an enhanced place.”

Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) legal and commercial director Rob Driscoll remembers studying Sir Michael's "legendary abilities" as a law student.

“As an industry, we are privileged to have had Banwell, Egan, Farmer, Wolstenholm, Morell, Bentley and Bew, but Latham brought about seismic change like no-one before or since.

"He understood the many vagaries of the sector and was, therefore, able to represent the interests of all, which he did with patience and diplomacy," said Mr Driscoll.

"He worked tirelessly to reform an under-performing industry in dire need of modernisation and his legacy is the Construction Act, which was a transformational piece of legislation,” said Mr Driscoll.

“However, he also recognised the problems around retentions as well as payment generally, and restated the need for trust accounts to be underpinned by legislation.”

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