News in brief: January 2011

Hochtief has been fined £266,000 for health and safety breaches following the death of telehandler driver Ondrej Hladik at the Glendoe hydro project near Fort Augustus.

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Cost focus for roads

Project Bank Accounts and a move away from quality cost in assessing bids are to feature in a fundamentally changed approach to road maintenance procurement at the Highways Agency (HA).

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Call for reform

Reform of the construction industry and its working practices is essential if government low carbon targets are to be met, according to a report from a group led by Construction Industry Adviser Paul Morrell.

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Civils costs cuts drive

Pre construction and early project formulation phases will be the focus of a new government drive to bring UK major infrastructure project civil engineering costs into line with EC countries. Potential savings of up to £3,000 million a year – 15 per cent of relevant spending – are to be pursued after being identified in a report from Infrastructure UK (IUK) published in late December.

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PFI reform long overdue

Reform of the working of the private finance initiative (PFI) and related public private partnerships is expected at any time following an internal government review. It is badly needed, and it will not be easy. Since its introduction to the UK in 1992 by Chancellor Norman Lamont, PFI has been controversial.

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