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Broken contract


Reading about the problems associated with the government's multi-billion pound schools rebuilding programme, one wonders whether the emphasis on contractors designing and building projects is such a good idea?

Anyone starting a career in consultancy 50 years ago would have spent much of their time working for clients who had engaged a team of professionals to design and supervise their particular projects. The project was developed with the client through the planning stage to detailed design, tender documents, tender appraisal until finally a contractor was appointed.

Construction would then have been supervised by the consultants, measured and paid for by monthly certificates. Alterations and any modifications due to unforeseen circumstances could usually be resolved and then priced using rates set out in the Bill of Quantities.

Is the current system any improvement? Is there any merit in asking a number of contractors to produce their own designs and prices, and then for the client to stick a pin in to decide which one is preferred? Then for the client to place themselves in a position where they are totally reliant on their chosen contractor?

One can only wonder what will happen, if and when the 2012 Olympic Games' developments start in construction, if they will continue in the same way.

Roy Foot (F), 32 Sutherland Avenue, Petts Wood, Orpington, Kent BR5 1QZ

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