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Haynes cites risk transfer in DBFO savings

CONTRACTORS ON the privately financed A1(M) road widening project would have claimed 40M from the government for unforeseen ground conditions had traditional procurement methods been used, the Highways Agency claimed this week.

Agency chief executive Lawrie Haynes said the A1(M) contractor Road Management Group also told him that this claim would have come with a demand for a 12 month extension to its contract.

Haynes told MPs on the Public Accounts Committee this week that DBFO roads were saving taxpayers money by shifting risks of delays and unforeseen ground on to private contractors.

Projected losses to the taxpayer, he added, had also been recouped on one project RMGs A417/A419 project through opening nine months early. The National Audit Office had predicted that this scheme would have cost 3M more than a conventionally procured scheme in its recent report on DBFO roads.

Haynes also denied that projects with a high operational content and low capital cost the taxpayer more, despite indications in the recent NAO report.

The report showed that of the first DBFO roads, the 84.3km A69 project, which included just 3.4km of new road, failed to provide better value for money than a conventionally procured scheme (NCE 29 January).

Haynes accepted this finding but pointed out that similar subsequent projects were giving better value. Autolinks A19 project between Dishforth and the Tyne tunnel, he said, was 80% operation and maintenance and only 20% construction, but was still expected to offer better value for money than an equivalent publicly funded scheme.

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