Small firms may gain from Carillion failure

March 14 2018  

Small firms may gain from Carillion failure
Carillion’s collapse could herald a move towards larger transportation schemes being awarded to smaller firms, a leading infrastructure lawyer told the CIHT Annual Conference in London last week.
Will Buckby, a partner with Beale & Company, said he expects a “shift towards more and more public sector work going to SMEs instead of projects going to major powerhouses in the industry”.
He added that Carillion’s insolvency will likely have a knock on effect for suppliers and should prompt the Government to push forward on efforts to resolve delayed payments.
Will Buckby added that while some may criticise the Government for awarding large contracts to Carillion, the presence of joint venture arrangements means that the remaining contractors are able to continue with schemes. “The Carillion affair demonstrates one of the benefits of joint venturing and will, as a result, continue I feel,” he said.
Earlier in the day Highways England’s executive director Elliot Shaw was asked for his analysis of the Carillion situation. “I have been really impressed with how a lot of Carillion’s partners have stepped in and picked up the baton for parts of work that Carillion was responsible for,” he said.
He added that the contractor’s collapse will lead Highways England to “reflect” on the way it engages with the supply chain.
He also considered how Highways England has performed during the first half of its current road investment period. In terms of delivery he scored the organisation “a solid B Plus” but challenges remain in terms of achieving improvements in the areas of safety and customer service.
Elliot Shaw also spoke up for the new ‘Expressway’ model of road that is starting to be rolled out and said they are a way of “providing motorway quality journeys but without providing motorways”.
He added that there are many high profile schemes on the agenda for the second road investment period such as Oxford to Cambridge, the A303 and the Lower Thames Crossing. “But equally it’s very important to get a balanced programme,” he said, that remembers the medium sized schemes too.
A full report from the event will be included in the April issue of Transportation Professional.

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