The European Construction Industry Federation (FIEC) do not believe the revised directives will achieve the modernisation objectives as originally announced by the announced the European Commission.

Revisions to the award criteria, aimed at producing the best price-quality ratio for tenders, have made the wording more complicated, by introducing a third criterion, life cycle costs. However it is unclear how this will deter contracting authorities from awarding contracts to the cheapest offers, to the detriment of quality,

Issues around Abnormally Low Tenders have not been resolved, despite being repeatedly raised by the construction sector.There will no mandatory identification criteria nor will there will be any mandatory rejection of ALTs, where the low price has not been justified.

While the Commission announced that the access of SMEs to public procurement markets would be rendered easier, time limits allowing entrepreneurs to respond to calls for tenders have been shortened considerably, which is counter productive.

The FIEC also claims that the new directives create an unfair advantages to public entities, to the detriment of private enterprises. It said the scope of “in-house” and “public to public cooperation” had been broadened considerably, allowing important market shares to be awarded without transparent, competitive procedures.

FIEC president Thomas Schleicher said: “From the very beginning of this legislative process, FIEC stressed there was not sufficient practical experience for a revision, due to the late implementation of the current directives into national law. “And now, despite some welcome changes, we end up with lengthy and complicated procedures, which do not solve some key problems that contractors have to face in the real world.”

The European Council is scheduled to give final formal agreement to the regulations after November. Member states will have two years to transpose them into their national laws after they come into force, although the UK have indicated they want to do this in as short a timescale as possible

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