Saturday, September 19, 2009

Clients' tickbox mentality to bidding threatens future of local firms

The public sector's obsessive tickbox approach towards letting new work threatens to drive long-established regional firms out of business.

That is the stark warning from Neil Edwards, chief executive of contracts information specialist The Builders Conference, after research showed local firms with proven track-records are missing out on work across the country.

Edwards said: "The present method of procurment by public bodies is restricting recovery and growth in the construction market."

The value of tenders bid in August leaped from ВЈ1.8bn in 2008 to ВЈ4.8bn this year, with education accounting for half the sum recorded by the Builders Conference.

"Previously, a roofing contractor could have happily tendered for ВЈ200,000 contract to replace the roof of a local school. But now that would be in a big multi-million pound framework agreement. A proven experienced local firm wouldn't even make it on to the tender list now.


Clients tickbox mentality to bidding threatens future of local firms


Edwards said that today the whole process is prescribed by a checklist and scoring system, which procurement chiefs cannot use firms that have faultlessly worked for them for many years.

He added: "There was a time when procurement professionals were allowed the freedom to innovate and eek out the best way yo get a job done.

"My fear is that the sector has shifted so far in favour of the major players that, in future, SMEs and even ВЈ20m-plus contractors will have no choice but to work as subcontractors."



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