What is the right budget for an office fit out? It should be based upon size, scope of work, and location, all of which you would consider to be a fair reflection of the costs involved in refurbishing your offices. But not all is as it seems in the world of office fit outs.
Five office fit-out companies based in London and the Home Counties, have just been hit with a whopping fine of over £7 million collectively for confessing to participating in “cover bidding” in competitive tenders.
Being dubbed as 'cartel behaviour', the five companies have admitted that they colluded with one another on quotes for office fit outs, with some putting in bids they knew were unreasonable to ensure they would not be in the running for the work and that another amongst the group would have less competition to secure the deal.
Office fit-out is deemed part of the construction sector, and following the investigation covering allegations of offences during the period of 2006-2017, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) stated that:
“The CMA is concerned it is seeing a lot of evidence of anti-competitive conduct in the construction industry, and we have already taken a number of cases in this sector. Today’s fines reinforce the message that the CMA will not tolerate competition law being broken. As shown by the total of £7 million in fines agreed today, we will not turn a blind eye to illegal behaviour and we will impose penalties where we find laws have been broken. This can include seeking disqualification of company directors.”
Whilst the majority of us in the commercial fit-out, design and refurbishment industry do not wish to see our market sector come into disrepute, we are glad to see that illegal and immoral practices like this are being punished accordingly.