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PFI hijacked by financiers says O’Rourke

Laing O’Rourke chairman and chief executive officer Ray O’Rourke said the government’s private finance initiative (PFI) funding was hijacked by financiers.

Speaking at the Innovation in Construction seminar yesterday at the ICE O’Rourke said PFI – used by the government over the past 15 years to fund and develop public projects – was hijacked by financiers which in part stymied innovation in the sector.

“The big issue with traditional procurement was you didn’t get providers, designers and deliverers working together,” said O’Rourke adding that PFI didn’t alter this model which focused more on funding arrangements.

O’Rourke believes major innovation can be achieved through offsite construction - the firm completed its design for manufacture and assembly plant in Derby in 2009. Laing O’Rourke hopes to achieve up to 40% cost savings and 30% reduction in building times for schools and housing using the facility.

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