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15Oct92 SPAIN: TREADING CAREFULLY - SUBCONTRACTING ABROAD.

Ray O'Rourke is definitely in the Eurosceptic camp when it comes to subcontract work abroad. That is not to say that the O'Rourke managing director will not take the work when it comes along - it is just that he is a bit fussy who he works for.'We would look to go with friendly parties we know, but to do anything else would be very, very risky,' says Mr O'Rourke. 'It helps to have the pay cheque at the end of the work.'His caution is well founded. His company has an £11 million contract on the troubled Hotel Arts in Barcelona.Construction manager on the scheme is Bovis and having worked with that firm before Mr O'Rourke was confident in transferring operations abroad.However, with the somewhat uncertain nature of overseas work Mr O'Rourke wisely took precautions.'We made a decision early on to take our own labour and plant and a substantial amount of the materials we needed,' he says.'Then having made the decision to use totally ex-pat labour we had to sort out accommodation, work permits, E101's (medical insurance) and all the other paraphernalia that goes along with it before we moved on to the next hurdle of getting the plant and equipment there.'But, when it comes to detailing exactly how the bureaucratic hurdles were cleared, Mr O'Rourke is more cagey.'After taking advice from lawyers and financial advisers we're not going to just give away that information that we've had to pay a lot of money for,' said Mr O'Rourke.In the long term, the company will not be looking to Spain to take the place of its declining UK workload as the recession continues to bite.But on a more positive note he is bullish about the prospects for any UK companies which do decide to take the plunge.'I don't know that we have anything to fear from their contractors in terms of ability to execute the work or in attitude. And I believe we have the edge when it comes to new techniques.'