Business roundup

New chief executive of the Major Projects Authority is former BP executive John Manzoni, the Cabinet Office has announced. Manzoni was most recently president and chief executive of Canadian oil and gas company Talisman Energy. The MPA was set up in 201ll to turn round poor project management in government.

Mott MacDonald was named Global Consultant and Atkins won UK Major Consultant of the Year Award at the 2014 NCE/ACE Consultants Awards. Other winners: Ramboll associate Gavin White – Young Consultant of the Year; Buro Happold’s Mei Ren – Sustainability Champion; Rhead Group – Outstanding Achievement; Ardent Consulting Engineers – specialist consultant; BCS – consultant under 250 employees; and Peter Brett Associates – consultant 250 – 2500 category.

Roger Robinson, head of Laing O’Rourke’s European operations is stepping down but will continue with the company in a senior role overseeing projects including Hinkley Point. Chief executive Anna Stewart will take on European operations.

Bids are now open for a £10M government fund to help firms test innovative ways to help take broadband to Britain’s most remote communities. Suppliers can submit bids in three different categories: technology, operating models ie joining smaller networks together into a common larger network; and financial – testing innovative public/private funding models to bring in new investment.

New data from public spending analysis resource Spend Network has revealed that the government’s tendering system takes 53 days longer than the EU average, placing the UK as the third slowest country behind Greece and Ireland. Results from a five year period were analysed relating to 1.8M EU tenders. On average the company found it takes 172 days for the UK government to award a contract at both a central and local level. With an EU average of 119 days, this inefficiency in the UK’s procurement process has been calculated as “starving” the economy of £22bn.

Capita has been announced as preferred bidder by Ministry of Defence to be the strategic business partner for the Defence Infrastructure Organisation to lead the management and transformation of the UK’s national and international defence infrastructure. The £400M deal lasts for 10 year. Capita will lead a partnership including URS and PA Consulting.

Standing Committee on Structural Safety this week published a new Structural Safety Alert following the recent collapse of tension structures in buildings and tunnels resulting in fatalities and serious injuries. SCOSS chief executive Alastair Soane explains more  click here

Costain is planning to raise £75M through a share placing to help fund an increase in bid activity in its core infrastructure, energy and water. Costain last week reported a rise in adjusted pretax profit for year to December 2013 of £31M compared to £28.1M last time. Turnover was up to £960M from £934.5M.

Project bank accounts are to be piloted for the first time on roads infrastructure in Scotland on the A96 Inveramsey bridge to help improve cash flow in the construction sector, Scotland’s minister for transport and veterans Keith Brown has announced.

There has been a rise in the number of young people considering a career in engineering according to a survey by Department for Business, Innovation & Skills. The number of 11 to 14 year olds who are considering a career in engineering has jumped 6% and the number of girls contemplating becoming engineers has also increased 6%.