16 March 2007 | Paul Snell
The Department for Transport and the Highways Agency (HA) need to tighten their procedures when estimating the cost of building roads in England, according to the National Audit Office (NAO).
In a report published this week, the NAO said sharing information from completed schemes and the lessons learnt from them could improve buying skills. It found that current road improvement schemes were costing 5 per cent more than estimated.
Yet the NAO did say that the HA had improved its procurement strategy by using more design and build contracts and financing some projects using Private Finance Initiative.
But the HA admitted it might have paid a "premium" when using design and build contracts and was unable to obtain information on the cost of each element of the work, as it only received a total price for the project.
The NAO commended the HA for using information from OGC Gateway reviews to improve its processes, but said it had acted only on a few of the issues it had identified as needing work.