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Thin excuses

WHAT'S Carillion up to? When the firm was created by splitting up the old Tarmac organisation, I thought we were supposed to be witnessing the birth of a new type of construction firm - lean, efficient, profitable.

Lean is one thing, emaciated quite another. Is Crown House Engineering really doing so badly that it has to lose onethird of its staff? Crown House is one of our leading mechanical & electrical contractors, has won Construction News Quality Awards on more than one occasion and is a pioneer in the use of off-site prefabrication techniques and IT both on and off site.

So why has it got itself into such a state? The sad truth seems to be that the firm's management has failed to match the high calibre of its engineers.The good news is that new senior management has already been brought in; the bad news is that it's too late for the 900 staff whose jobs are already doomed.

We can only hope that Carillion will go a little easier on the 'lean' from now on and concentrate more on the 'efficient' and 'profitable'.

Meanwhile, other Carillion group companies must be looking anxiously over their shoulders and waiting for the axe to fall - all except Expanded Piling, of course, which appears to be safe.The ad in last week's Construction News under the Carillion logo consisted simply of Expanded's website address with the message: 'All you need. . .'

Presumably, everything else is expendable.