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Quality and Safety are at risk as firms slash costs to win work

June 22nd, 2009 1 comment
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Quality & Safety at Risk

A leading industry body has warned that Construction quality and safety standards are being put at risk as firms are being forced to cut costs to win competitive tenders.

The findings come from a new survey of the sector published by the Scottish Building Federation, the industry body and employers’ federation.

The SBF warns that the cost pressure could lead to the possibility of “shoddy work” and “unscrupulous” behaviour by firms desperate to win work.

Two thirds of firms responding to the latest Scottish Construction Monitor indicated that latest contracts were typically secured on the basis of a margin of under 3 per cent.

More than one in three is typically operating on a margin of under 2 per cent, while more than one in seven has seen its margins cut to under 1 per cent.

The survey also suggests that confidence within the industry remains weak with over 60 per cent responding either slightly less confident or much less confident about the prospects facing their business over the next 12 months compared to the previous 12 months.

SBF chief executive Michael Levack said: “The competitive pressure on many SMEs at the moment is immense.

“In the public sector, we’re seeing upwards of ten firms being invited to tender for each new contract. I’ve heard cases of recent local authority tender lists that have run to more than 20 companies, which is frankly ridiculous.

“In such a fiercely-competitive environment, one of my greatest fears is that responsible construction companies risk being undercut by less scrupulous firms, who can offer lower prices by cutting corners on quality and safety.”

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Approved! Blackpool’s £100m tram upgrade

June 22nd, 2009 Comments off

A £100 million upgrade of Blackpool’s 120 year old tramway has been approved and funding has been confirmed by transport minister Sadiq Khan.

The total investment in the Tramway system amounts to £68.3 million from the Department for Transport and £33.4 million from the local council.

Work on the traditional tramway will include replacing 8 km of track, accessibility improvements, tram priority at junctions, a new depot and the purchase of 16 Bombardier Flexity 2 trams.

Old Blackpool Tram

Old Blackpool Tram

BAM Nutall will handle the track replacement – which is scheduled to be completed by Easter 2012 -  Volker Fitzpatrick has been chosen to build a £20 million tram depot at Starr Gate.

Mr. Khan said: “Trams have been running in Blackpool for over 100 years – I hope this funding will mean the historic, world-famous Tramway can continue to run well into the future,” he said.

The tramway, which is owned by Blackpool Council, has been operating since 1885

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