Poor visibility of future public contracts hurting construction firms

26 August 2016

Construction firms are struggling to make long-term plans because of a lack of visibility around the pipeline of future public sector contracts.

In a survey of senior public sector managers, suppliers and subcontractors, publicly funded consultancy Scape Group found 75% of firms said poor visibility of future contracts was a barrier to them achieving their business aims.

Public sector work is important to those in the construction supply chain, and 66% of respondents said they get half their work from the public sector. This is less than a decade ago, but still a significant proportion the report said.

Of the firms surveyed, 68% said they typically bid for public sector work six to 12 months before the project is due to start, and 33% of firms said they would like to be able to plan 18 months ahead.

A fifth of those surveyed said they felt poorly informed about up-and-coming public sector contracts. 

Responses from the public sector showed they recognised and shared the same concerns.

Of the public sector respondents, 79% said inadequate visibility of future contracts was a barrier to achieving their aims. These included using supply chains to bring long-term benefits to the local economy and, to a lesser extent, delivering social value.

Both public sector managers and firms within the construction supply chain agreed the public sector needed to do more to engage with firms. Four out of five public sector respondents and 75% of firms expressed this opinion.

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