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Contractors slam Scottish Water's bid for low prices

CIVILS firms in Scotland are hoping for an end to a bitter stand-off with Scottish Water over prices after the utility appointed teams for its £1.8 billion capital works bonanza.

Senior industry insiders north of the border have complained that Scottish Water's demands for 'totally unrealistic' prices on capital works are causing a hiatus in projects on the ground.

One source said: 'There is a total logjam of work because of brinkmanship between contractors and the authority.

'Scottish Water is taking its benchmark costs from the English water authorities, but there is clear daylight between their figures and the bidders' prices.

You can't expect contractors to do the work for nothing so work is drying out on the ground.'

The source added: 'If this was a matter of 1 or 2 per cent, one firm would break ranks and do the job. We're talking double figure differences here - it's very alarming.'

Scottish Water has appointed Stirling Water (Thames Water, Gleeson and Alfred McAlpine) and a United Utilities/Galliford consortium as contractors for the four-year framework.

They will replace frameworks based on the previously separate authorities of East, West and North of Scotland Water.

Amec, Gleeson, Nuttall, Morrison, Morgan Est, Leslie, Biwater and Purac are all involved in the current deals.

The new programme covers water and wastewater new build and refurbishment as well as asset management.