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CIC chairman calls for more emphasis on PFI design

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GOVERNMENT consultants should put more emphasis on design quality when assessing bids for Private Finance Initiative projects, the Construction Industry Council said this week.

PFI design work is oftencompromised by a rush to get projects on to site once contracts are signed, said CIC chairman Robin Nicholson.

Nicholson's comments came on the back of the CIC's Budget submission sent to Chancellor Gordon Brown last week. Brown is due to reveal spending plans for the next 12 months on 21 March.

PFI groups are often under pressure to start construction fast so that they can finish early and start earning operating revenue. This leaves little time to refine designs after contract award.

CIC also called for the Government to give money from above inflation increases in fuel tax to transport projects.

'We urge the Governmentto increase its spending on transport sharply because our national transport systems are in a poor state,' says the CIC's Budget submission.

'Government spending on the main transport programmes was 24% lower in the last full fiscal year compared with 1996/97. This is despite the fact that the British road system is the most congested in western Europe.'

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