Major contractors say PFI process needs rethinking before delays become critical.

The Major Contractors Group (MCG) has urged Gordon Brown to restructure the way PFI contracts are awarded in an effort to speed up the process and halt the increasing number of projects that are over-running by months, if not years. It cites cases of contracts for schools taking three years to finalise, and deals for court refurbishments taking six years to being signed.

The MCG is in talks with spending departments, the No 10 policy unit and the treasury, hoping to develop a new, centralized system based on the lessons learned from the 600 PFI contracts already awarded. It wants the treasury to give Partnerships UK more power, and more money to promote Public Private Partnerships.

Stephen Ratcliffe, chief executive of the MCG, said: "PFI has been a success story so far, but the Government is in danger of failing to deliver on its targets. Without improvements to the bidding process, the Government is wasting the available capacity in the construction industry and hindering our ability to deliver best value."