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Recession sees a return to adversarial tendering

Contractors were warned today against a return to adversarial tendering by Constructing Excellence chief executive Don Ward

“The recession is turning the clock back,” said Ward. “There is an increasing dash to lowest price tendering – a symptom of the recession. I have spoken to a major, major contractor who has admitted they deliberately bid with a negative margin then employ someone dedicated to claiming money back over the next two years of that project. Public sector buyers have every right to expect better value for their money – but let’s not go back to the dark days.

“The success factor is early involvement of the supply chain and talking in a collaborative way to come to a modern commercial arrangement. We’re at a cross roads, where there’s lots of diverting to type. If you want price certainty, focus on best value and collaborative working.”

Ward was talking at the launch of a new improved version of Constructionline, a register of pre-qualified contractors, run by Capita on behalf of Berr. The online prequalification database now includes a free online tender advertising system.

Prequalification documents are normally asked for as part of public sector tendering, which can be a time consuming process as companies have to fill out new questionnaires for each potential job. However Constructionline means that just one questionnaire needs to be filled out per year.

“Constructionline is a valuable tool to reduce duplication,” said Ward. “3% of project costs are taken up in tendering which is a ludricrous amount of money.”

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