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Construction Confederation: Half 'rigged bids' lost

More than half tenders analysed by the Office of Fair Trading’s investigation into the construction industry were won by firms that were not engaged in cover pricing, the Construction Confederation has revealed.

The claim, made yesterday (1 May) by the organisation’s chief executive Stephen Ratcliffe at PricewaterhouseCoopers UK Construction and Housebuilding Conference 2008, casts doubt on the OFTs claims of widespread bid-rigging in order to win contracts.

The OFT had claimed that the public sector had lost out to the tune of 10 per cent due to the increased cost of bid rigging by 112 firms it named in its Statement of Objections document.

Mr Ratcliffe also said that there had been more than five bidders on 70 per cent of the contracts in question, making it harder and therefore less likely that all bidders had collaborated together to fix prices.

He said: “This suggests there was still real competition and that cover pricing did not have the influence on the winning contract implied by the OFT.”