MAJOR Contractors Group director Stephen Ratcliffe warned this week that firms were cooling on Private Finance Initiative schemes because of delays in public procurement.
Mr Ratcliffe told the Public Private Finance Congress in London on Tuesday: 'In the first Labour term we saw some 24 PFI hospital contracts awarded. In the current term we have only seen less than half that amount.
'Delays expose contractors to huge bid costs - and even those with the largest balance sheets have a limited capacity to carry them indefinitely.Hence we are seeing a reduced appetite for the very largest schemes coming to the market.'
The MCG wants the Treasury to have all local PFI teams take on a commercial director with experience of negotiating deals from the public sector side to speed up bidding.
It is also calling for contractors'bids to be measured against benchmark costs rather than detailed drawings to reduce design costs, and wants tighter timetables for agencies such as the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment to comment on schemes to prevent delays.