THE HIGHWAYS Agency this week set out how it will 'package up' major road schemes under one design and build contract running for at least five years.
Packages will be announced in the coming months after the secretary of state has decided on widening schemes and bypasses emerging from the multi-modal studies.
'The Agency intends to package between 60% and 80% of schemes. This is a major change to the way we want to work, ' says Highways Agency supply chain manager Gary Wright.
'Packaging', which has been confirmed following a recent consultation with industry, aims to cut tender costs and speed up project delivery. The new contract form will include bonuses and agreed profit margins.
Performance will be measured against client satisfaction for service, product, cost and time predictability, defects and safety. These criteria are being developed before the first tenders are rolled out in the spring for work to start by the end of 2003.
Methods to prevent market dominance by firms will be devised, possibly by measuring Agency workload against turnover.
A spokesman for the Civil Engineering Contractors' Association said: 'We are 100% behind the principle of packaging work.'