Oral Answers to Questions — Camps (Construction and Letting).

– in the House of Commons on 24th June 1942.

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Photo of Mr Herbert Williams Mr Herbert Williams , Croydon South

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Works and Buildings whether he can give an assurance that all suitable firms will be given an effective opportunity of tendering for the construction of all future camps?

Photo of Mr George Hicks Mr George Hicks , Woolwich East

Subject, of course, to the necessary limitation of competition to reasonable dimensions in individual cases, I can give the hon. Member the assurance that opportunities to tender for these works will be spread as widely and as fairly as possible over the whole field of suitable firms.

Photo of Mr Herbert Williams Mr Herbert Williams , Croydon South

Will the Minister give me an approximate idea of the number of firms which have been given an opportunity of tendering, say in the last month or six weeks?

Photo of Mr George Hicks Mr George Hicks , Woolwich East

That depends upon the type of job. We do not usually invite more than half a dozen firms for one job of a limited value. We could not invite 50 or 60 firms, because the industry would object to so many firms being in the running.

Photo of Mr Alfred Bossom Mr Alfred Bossom , Maidstone

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Works and Buildings (1) the form of contract proposed for the camps now being, or about to be, let; are the tenders that are being prepared based upon complete plans and specifications; and is the site in each case definitely settled and defined; and

(2) how much time was allowed to contractors who were invited to prepare estimates on contracts for camps now being, or about to be, let; are contractors invited to visit the sites; and, approximately, how many pages comprised the bills of quantities upon which they were asked to prepare their tenders?

Photo of Mr George Hicks Mr George Hicks , Woolwich East

I assume that these Questions relate to contracts of three camps which have recently been let. The tenders were required as a matter of extreme urgency, and normal procedure could not be followed. Complete plans and specifications were available, but bills of quantities had not been completed. Tenderers were therefore asked to quote a percentage reduction or addition on the Ministry's Standard Schedule "of Prices. The. contracts are in the Ministry's standard form. The sites had been settled and all tenderers had the opportunity of visiting them. Documents were handed to selected firms on 6th June and tenders were returnable on 9th June.

Photo of Mr Alfred Bossom Mr Alfred Bossom , Maidstone

Can my hon. Friend say whether the contractors were shown or given copies of the plans and specifications from which to make their estimates?

Photo of Mr George Hicks Mr George Hicks , Woolwich East

Yes, I assume that they were. The bills of quantities, as I have informed my hon. Friend, were not available for these three camps, but the contractors were given the general plans and specifications and were asked to agree to a figure above or below the Minister's standard schedule of prices.

Photo of Mr Alfred Bossom Mr Alfred Bossom , Maidstone

Has my hon. Friend forgotten the troubles we had with the militia camps, and are we receiving sufficient information on these matters?

Photo of Mr Austin Hopkinson Mr Austin Hopkinson , Mossley

Can we have an assurance that the Ministry will debar from tendering any firm which another Department has found, on similar work, to be unsatisfactory?

Photo of Mr George Hicks Mr George Hicks , Woolwich East

I can only answer that by saying that I have now established an advisory committee which will have access to the general information. I shall be guided very largely by their recommendations.

Photo of Mr Austin Hopkinson Mr Austin Hopkinson , Mossley

Will my hon. Friend give an assurance that such firms will not be asked to tender for any further camps?

Photo of Mr George Hicks Mr George Hicks , Woolwich East

I cannot give an assurance of that kind.