LONDON: The National Federation of Builders' annual conference for the Principal Contractors' Group will be held on Tuesday 23 October in association with CITB-ConstructionSkills. 

"This year's conference, entitled 'UK Construction: the Road to Recovery' will take a positive approach to meeting the challenges facing the industry in the midst of a severe and prolonged recession," said chief executive Julia Evans.

"From the need to improve procurement practices and regulation, to the continuing drive for excellence in training and in health and safety, our speakers and our audience will have the chance to map out the industry's route back to growth."

The event is to be hosted by Olympic medallist Roger Black MBE. Delegates will also hear from the Rt Hon Francis Maude MP, Minister for the Cabinet Office, as well as the Government's chief construction advisor, Paul Morrell.

Other speakers include Philip White, the Health and Safety Executive's chief inspector of construction, Mark Farrar, chief executive of CITB-ConstructionSkills and Lord Curry, chair of the Better Regulation Executive.

"Central to the challenges faced by many firms is the changing world of public procurement and the tendency for frameworks to 'bundle' projects together, presenting ever higher barriers to all but the very largest contractors," Ms Evans said.

"However, the tide is turning in favour of more intelligent procurement, influenced by the extensive work done by NBF and its productive and ongoing dialogue with government departments, local authorities and industry partners." This work will be captured by the NFB's launch of the findings of the NFB's latest procurement report which will be launched at the conference.

The Principal Contractors' Group is made up of the largest contractor members of the NFB. It has a combined turnover of £2.7bn.