Tony Bingham is absolutely right (19 December, page 46) to advise that firms check the expertise and experience of any potential "other party" before entering into contracts.
I don't, however, think that this is news: "prequalification" is something that I have long advised my clients to undertake before tendering.

Proper prequalification should encompass technical and financial checks, and should be as automatic and essential a part of the construction and engineering process as the cost or safety plans. The expenditure of time and effort up front pays dividends in the prevention of problems and disputes once the job is under way.