Chief executive of Constructing Excellence says clients should improve practices to discourage anti-competitive behaviour

Don Ward, chief executive, Constructing Excellence

If anything this is a symptom of bad client practice. Awarding tenders to the lowest-price bidder and having rigid rotas of bidding encourages this sort of thing. If the client uses long-term frameworks, selection by aptitude and open-book accounting, it will drive out dodgy practices. The biggest risk now is that uninformed local authorities will strike implicated companies off framework lists.

If anything the practice of cover-bidding will be far less likely to happen now, because as soon as a company realises it is the focus of this type of investigation, an e-mail will go round to every member of staff saying: whatever you do, you must not do this. There may be rogue elements within companies, but chances are that the people working with them have nothing to do with this approach.

Andy Stern, director, Property Owners Directory

This shows just how widespread cowboy building practices are in the construction sector, and underlines the importance of finding reliable tradesmen who come recommended. What is most worrying from this investigation is that this unscrupulous practice appears to be so systematic throughout the building sector.

Property owners and investors need to make sure they get at least two or three detailed written quotes from building contractors as well as recommendations from these contractors’ clients on work they have recently completed.