The Office of Fair Trading found 103 building firms infringing the law in cover pricing in projects in the UK. The very British practice involve builders disclosing to one another or agree upon what price they intend to quote for building projects across England. The inflated quotes mislead the client (mostly authorities and councils) about the real price of their projects.
The OFT found projects worth in excess of £200m, including schools, universities and hospitals, between 2000 and 2006. This is where building firms submit quotes for jobs that are not actually priced to win the contract, so the client gets a misleading idea about the real extent of competition.
Kier Group was fined £17.9m, Interserve was fined £11.6m and big names like Carillion, Balfour Beatty, Galliford Try, Ballast Nedam, ISG Pierce and Crest Nicholson, John Sisk & Son, Connaught, Concentra and Durkan Holdings and Bowmer & Kirkland all more than £5m.
The Chartered Institute of Building also found that cover pricing was a widespread corruption practice across the building industry.