Office of Fair Trading says two thirds of firms have reacted against anti-competitive practices since fines were imposed last year

The Office of Fair Trading has said that construction firms are now much more aware of punishments for bid rigging, after over 100 firms were fined £130m last September.

The OFT said that around two thirds of contractors had created a new mechanism to prevent or detect anti-competitive practices in the past two years.

The survey by Europe Economics found that almost three quarters were aware of last year’s decision to issue a mass fine to companies including Interserve and Balfour Beatty for big rigging and cover pricing.

In 2008 fewer than a third had known about OFT infringement decisions in the sector.

A quarter of firms were still not aware that cover-pricing was a finable offence, although less than half had known in 2008.

The UK Contractor’s Group welcomed the findings and said they showed the industry was moving away from anti-competitive behaviour.

“We are pleased that the OFT has acknowledged the high levels of awareness of competition law in the construction sector and the positive actions taken by contractors to avoid anti-competitive behaviour,” it said in a statement.

“The survey’s findings are very much in line with private polling undertaken by the Construction Confederation and submitted to the OFT in advance of last September’s decision.”