In a joint statement, the Construction Employers Federation and the Federation of Master Builders have expressed their significant concern at the news that the Northern Ireland Housing Executive has collapsed the tender process for two major frameworks, valued at more than £1bn in total.
The statement reads: “With the formal collapse, on Friday (Jan 25), of the tender process for the planned maintenance framework and the recent collapse of the window and doors framework there is significant concern within the industry as to how hundreds of people, currently engaged, will continue in employment.
“These procurement collapses call into question the deliverability of planned maintenance across the Housing Executive’s estate over the coming 6 months, at least, meaning there could be a drastic curtailing of the maintenance required to people’s homes all over Northern Ireland.
“When taken together, these frameworks represent over £1bn of investment in the Housing Executive’s stock over the coming years. At a time when the Housing Executive is faced with a major shortfall in their available budget against their actual maintenance need, this is a situation that no-one can afford – indeed it is a situation that we believe could and should have been avoided if procurement issues that had arisen had been dealt with in a pro-active and timely manner.
“It is a matter of absolute urgency that the Housing Executive inform the market, and indeed their tenants, on what their next steps are with respect to the procurement of both frameworks. A significant amount of public money has undoubtedly been spent in dealing with legal issues in recent months which have meant this issue can only be publicly aired now. Lessons need to be learnt from the collapsing of both procurements and we need those lessons to be learnt immediately.
“The CEF and the FMB both stand ready to engage with the Housing Executive on this as a matter of urgency.”