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Thu August 22 2019

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Framework proliferation has got out of hand, say contractors

28 Jun Civil engineering contractors have called on the UK government to set up a ‘clearing house’ for frameworks to check they are fair and do not overlap.

The Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA) has said that recent years have seen a proliferation of frameworks on a national, regional and local level, bringing increased costs for contractors and ultimately the UK taxpayer.

It is high time to get a grip and sort them all out, CECA says.

CECA director of external affairs Marie-Claude Hemming said: “With the launch of yet another national framework for construction this week, we are calling on the government to act to ensure the UK’s increasingly fragmented framework landscape is fit for purpose.

“Frameworks are often launched with the express intention of saving money for the client, but their proliferation adds costs to contractors’ businesses.

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“While we recognise that frameworks provide the ability to engage a consistent supply chain across a series of similar projects, bringing the benefits of spreading best practice from job to job, we are now in a situation where a contractor tracking future work may see a multiplicity of different routes to market for any one scheme.

“This leads to punitive bidding costs and contributes to uncertainty in the sector, hampering our members’ ability to plan for future work.

“CECA has highlighted the potential pitfalls of this system, in particular with regards to the imminent Crown Commercial Service construction framework.

“This situation has come about from government inaction rather than design. It is now seven years since the government received a cross-industry recommendation to establish a ‘clearing house’ to avoid unfair and overlapping frameworks.  Now is the time to revisit this work to secure better outcomes for customers and a more sustainable industry.”

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