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Four could share £3.5bn BAA infrastructure package

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AIRPORT OPERATOR BAA could concentrate £3.5bn of major capital works in the hands of just four contractors, it said this week.

This will include work on the Heathrow East project, for which the planning application was submitted this week (see box).

Expansion of Stansted Airport, including a second runway, is another of the major schemes.

BAA commercial director Ken Owen said that more than 20 contractors had pre-qualified for its 'complex projects' framework to be awarded in March 2007.

'We are homing in on four or five major suppliers in the industry to help us construct, ' he said.

'It is fewer suppliers than we have got at the moment.' He rejected criticism that the European Union OJEU notice for the complex projects framework contractors had been 'too prescriptive'. Had it not been, he said, 'there was a danger that every man and his dog would put in a response'. Owen added that BAA was impressed with the quality of the bids.

The framework contractors will work on the new capital projects in a model very similar to Heathrow Terminal 5 with integrated design and build teams and risk sharing, he said.

This would see the existing framework consultants working more closely with the contractors rather than with the client on future projects with 'less management' from BAA.

Owen also promised that BAA 'would be more receptive to ideas from suppliers'.

Owen also rebuffed recent speculation that BAA's new Spanish owner Ferrovial would struggle to finance BAA's recently published 10 year, £9.5bn investment plans.

'The energy we are putting into delivering our major projects has not changed.

'The new owner has committed to the investment plans and is respectful of the BAA position.'

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