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Contractors say

Despite BAA's radical, transparent approach to managing construction, and the introduction of potentially onerous annual MOT checks, it was difficult to find a framework contractor who was not 100% behind the concept, even speaking off the record.

Seamless, single team construction was like 'a welcome breath of fresh air through a stale industry', said one framework manager who, like half a dozen of his colleagues had 'no problem' with the imposed MOT audits.

'BAA is an exceptionally supportive and open client, ' he said. 'Continual dialogue means the MOT should not throw up any problems we have not already identified.'

Price comparisons from potential competitors were also 'acceptable', so long as they took account of the unusual and difficult conditions inherent in working within a live airport.

Even BAA's advisory team was 'a welcome step, not in any way intrusive'. One contractor thought it such a good move that the company now has its own dedicated process manager to troubleshoot all its own contracts.

Doubling contracts to 10 years brought 'better teamwork'; while total and early involvement in future work was 'unusual though very welcome allowing sensible planning and best value all round'.

Yet all agreed on one vital ingredient. 'Trust on both sides is essential for long term, open book contracts like this to succeed in practice as well as theory, ' summed up a major contractor involved since the start of frameworks. 'But this one does really work and sometimes you feel as though you are a wearing a BAA hat yourself.'

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