Contractors tell government to ‘get a grip’ of frameworks

1 July 2019 | By Neil Gerrard

Contractors have urged the government to “get a grip” on the proliferation of national, regional and local frameworks and to establish a “clearing house” to make sure they are fair and don’t overlap.

The Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA) said that a sharp rise in the use of frameworks was leading to increased costs for contractors and ultimately taxpayers.

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.”

Hemming said that while CECA recognised that frameworks provide the ability to engage a consistent supply chain across similar projects, contractors tracking future work are now seeing 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,” she warned.

“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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