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Do clients really lose out when contractors collude?

The first thing that crossed my mind when hearing the news that 112 contractors are being investigated over price fixing and cartels was why is this occurring in the first place?

We receive numerous reports of engineering firms receiving large fines for project overruns and for on site failures, however the sector considers site profits of 3-4% as healthy.

Why is it that such a responsible profession is rewarded with such relatively low profit margins. Is it that tendering for projects leaves contractors with such little profit that price fixing and running cartels is what they are forced to resort to or is it simply greed?

Michael White, mwseaham@yahoo.com

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