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PFI DELAYS FATAL, SAY BUILDERS

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The country's most powerful construction companies have warned the government that its public infrastructure invest...
The country's most powerful construction companies have warned the government that its public infrastructure investment programme is undeliverable unless the controversial private finance initiative process is speeded up, reported The Observer (Business, p2).

The Major Contractors Group - which includes Amec, Carillion and Bovis Lend Lease - last month wrote to the treasury, and health secretary Alan Milburn expressing its concerns.

It is understood the MCG fears that if it commissioned a hospital [or school] tomorrow, it would not open by the end of this parliament in four years' time, because of the unweildy nature of the PFI procurement process.

The MCG is arguing for standardisation of contracts and design so that building of hospitals, schools and prisons is speedier.

It is expected that the Office of Government Commerce will next month publish new PFI guidelines aimed at sliming down contracts and reducing the need for armies of lawyers who add enormously to the cost of projects.
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