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'The assets which remain belong to all creditors, and not just those who break into compounds and remove what are very often other people's goods'

- Deloitte & Touche liquidator Lindsay Denney hits out at creditors

taking the law into their own hands after Nottingham contractor Bendigo Construction went under

Quote of the month June

THE HISTORIC handover of Hong Kong dominated the media in June. UK contractors were

confident their businesses would continue to flourish in Hong Kong and even act as a springboard into China.

It was a busy month for the Highways Agency. It launched a new approach to tendering aimed at stopping contractors making money out of claims. Agency chiefs ordered a testing programme on 300 bridge parapets that might have been built using sub-standard materials.

Construction forecasters were in an up-beat mood, predicting two good years for the construction industry. Railtrack's invitation to contractors to prequalify for £1 billion-worth of work on track renewal schemes in the UK supported the theory.

But things were not looking so good for the workers. Industry chiefs and union leaders twice tried but failed to agree changes to the industry's national working rule agreement. Pay disputes were predicted for the summer.

A couple of contractors looked inwards at ways of improving themselves. Birse took the extraordinary step of saying sorry to its clients, staff and suppliers for its previously adversarial behaviour. And Balfour Beatty decided to invest in a three-year Bath University research programme aimed at improving performance in civil engineering.

The new construction minister, Nick Raynsford, urged a new partnership between contractors and the government in his first major speech to the industry.