The CMA has revealed that it is investigating suspected anti-competitive arrangements in the supply of construction services in Great Britain which may infringe Chapter 1 of the Competition Act 1998, it said.
“This case is at an early stage and no assumption should be made that the CA98 has been infringed,” it stressed. “The CMA has not reached a view as to whether there is sufficient evidence of an infringement of competition law for it to issue a statement of objections to any of the parties under investigation.”
A decision on whether to proceed with a full investigation is expected in September.
Ten years ago fines totalling £129.2m (later reduced to £63m after appeal) were issued to 103 construction firms after widespread cover pricing was revealed. The same year, six recruitment agencies in the industry were fined a total of £7.9m for collusion and price fixing. More recently, in 2016, four suppliers of water tanks were fined £2.6m for market collusion.
In February 2019 the CMA said that it had four open investigations in the construction sector. In December it exposed collusion among precast drainage suppliers and earlier this month five London office fit-out contractors were hit with fines totalling £7m after admitting colluding in cover pricing.