In the credit crunch, will clients stick to framework deals or invite everyone to the bidding party?

"The more intelligent clients are examining how they get the best out of frameworks. I expect it will be a mixture of enlightened ones using the frameworks to their advantage, and those that are just one dimensional will scrap them and go back to lowest cost. Benchmarking costs, performance and service, and expecting a higher level of innovation from contractors will be the clever response. The one-dimensional response will be just looking at cost and nothing else."

Mark Beard, Beard Construction

"We’re a QS firm advising a developer that has regular contractors, and our advice is to test the market. The market is volatile, but it’s getting more competitive and my suspicion is contractors are hungry for work. It’s not about asking them to price a detailed document, it’s about early discussions, finding out where they think the problems might lie. I’m not wholly a fan of frameworks, they can cut out deserving players. So maybe this can bring opportunities for other contractors."

David Mooney, Mooney Kelly

"Bearing in mind that frameworks are all about Egan principles and rethinking construction, any client choosing to take advantage of a probable lowering of prices on the one hand would be reneging on such principles and agreements. But on the other hand they would be taking a commercial approach to procurement, since presumably they will be suffering too. It’s a simple case of shrewd accounting and economics."

Mike Smith, Corniche Builders

"I suspect there is going to be two schools of thought – those clients who think that if they re-bid their frameworks they will get a better price and those who think that going outside their frameworks might be right because market prices could be lower. We might have a greater likelihood that client organisations shift away from Egan and sustainability, so in the short term clients will move away from frameworks to adopt competitive tendering for each project."

Martin Chambers, past CIOB president