Ten more roofing contractors have fallen foul of the drive to root out price-fixing in the construction industry

In the second swoop of the Office of Fair Trading’s campaign to expose cartels in the industry, 10 firms in the North-east were last week fined more than £500,000 in total for price-fixing in the flat-roofing market.

The bust comes a year after the OFT uncovered a similar cartel in the West Midlands roofing market, which resulted in eight firms being fined.

The OFT has hailed the news as proof that its campaign is working, because it only heard about the price-fixing after being informed by one of the cartel’s members, Briggs Cladding and Roofing.

An OFT spokesperson said: “Firms that come forward to us before an investigation starts can get [their fines] reduced, sometimes to zero. It shows the campaign is starting to have knock-on effects.”

The 10 parties were found to have been involved in a series of individual agreements and concerted practices in tendering for flat-roofing contracts in the period 2000-2002. These meant that buyers were unable to obtain competitive prices when buying flat roofing.

Sir John Vickers, OFT chairman, said: “Collusive tendering deprives customers of the benefits of competition. Schools, local authorities and council tax payers were among the victims in these cases.”

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