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Thu February 27 2020

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Balfour Beatty calls for defence procurement reform

27 Nov 17 Balfour Beatty has called for reform in defence procurement, saying that overly-detailed specification is stifling innovation.

 Balfour Beatty recently built a £42m hangar at RAF Brize Norton. It was completed on time, to budget and to specification – despite the traditional procurement route
Balfour Beatty recently built a £42m hangar at RAF Brize Norton. It was completed on time, to budget and to specification – despite the traditional procurement route

The Ministry of Defence stands accused by Balfour Beatty of rejecting good ideas from contractors simply on the basis of them being non-compliant with the tender documents that it has drawn up.

The construction giant says that this blinkered approach “must be challenged to ensure that new technologies can be mainstreamed and deliver benefits including cost savings”.

A document produced by Balfour Beatty’s vocal public affairs team, called Fighting Fit: Delivering Defence and Security Infrastructure for the Future, calls on the Ministry of Defence to adopt a partnering approach to procurement of major projects, moving away from a traditional, fixed price arrangements to early contractor engagement to maximise the benefit of what the private sector has to offer.

“We must to move to a situation where tenders are assessed on true best-value criteria and not simply lowest initial cost. Lowest tender price rarely represents value for money for the taxpayer in the long run or the project outturn cost,” Balfour Beatty says.

Its paper concludes: “We believe that a combination of moving to a partnership model, early contractor engagement, using single, rather than multiple contractors and incentivising and supporting the adoption of new technologies would deliver significant savings, enabling the delivery of a defence and security estate that is fit for the future.”

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