The review of public sector construction procurement suggests a chief construction adviser would act as a "conduit" for the industry to raise concerns with ministers. It says one should be appointed by the start of the 2014-15 financial year.
Ministers, whose public sector construction expenditure is around £4 billion a year, ordered the review last October to identify where efficiency, delivery and sustainability could be improved.
It was carried out by former forensic partner with professional services firm KMPG Robin Crawford and Ken Lewandowski, a former chairman for Clydesdale Bank Financial Solutions, in Glasgow and Edinburgh.
Their report said: "We believe that there is a need for clearer leadership to ensure that construction is properly planned using a design-led, whole-of-life cost approach. There is significant potential to make construction more efficient by maximising opportunities for contracting authorities to collaborate and share best practice.
"We recommend a strengthening of the construction procurement policy function within the Scottish Government. We also believe that there is a role for a chief construction adviser."
Vaughan Hart, managing director of the Scottish Building Federation, said: "I share the conclusion that improving the efficiency of construction procurement is a joint responsibility of industry and government."
Andy Willox, policy convener at the Federation of Small Businesses' (FSB) in Scotland, said the report also highlighted issues such as late payment and the barriers facing small firms when bidding for public work.
Labour infrastructure spokesman James Kelly said: "The findings must be used by the Government as a chance to learn from their mistakes, listen to concerns raised by businesses and trade unions and support small and medium-sized business."