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WITH three months until the election, the wind was put up the civil engineering industry when it was revealed Labour planned to put the entire roads programme up for review. Engineers were worried Labour would cancel the privately-financed road programme wholesale once in power, concerns which proved justified.

The ever-troubled Costain looked set to bounce back when it announced it was in the running for £1.25 billion-worth of work in the Far East, thanks to the tie-up with Malaysian shareholder Intria. But the work appeared to rely on the Asian tiger economies continuing their boom.

The tax man's plans to crackdown on bogus self-employment suffered a blow when it was revealed major contractors had found a loophole which allowed their in-house labour agencies to keep on self-employed workers. The move caused a huge amount of resentment among firms which had taken workers onto the books.

And three men were ordered to stand trial over the death of west London bricklayer Len Stacey, who died on an East German building site in 1994.

Railtrack unveiled plans to pump £16 billion into the rail network, while UK contractors lined up to fight for work worth £500 million on the Channel Tunnel Rail Link.

The Construction Confederation, made up of all the key industry players, was formed to give the industry a united voice.

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