Polish Infrastructure Conference created this year an opportunity both for representatives of contractors and investors to meet on a neutral basis. After dramatic results of the last year we expected a sharp discussion, but to our suprise instead of stormy and futile debate we had an occasion to take part in a valuable exchange of opinions of both sides.

Janusz Żbik Undersecretary of state in the Ministry of Transportation, Construction and Marine Economy welcomed guests and opened the conference.

Afterwards, Minister Paweł Tamborski described a project of creating the ‘Polish Investments’ company. He underlined that the main aim of this enterpreneurship will be providing initial financial support to projects stimulating development before the funds from the new EU financial perspective will be availible. Minister emphasized that it is crucial for Polish Investments to function on market principles and be driven by experienced and apolitical managers.

Marek Michałowski representing the Polish Association of Construction Industry Employers, attempted to present a „Landscape after a battle” from the contractor’s point of view, pointing out a lack of model contracts which would apportion the risk between both sides equally. Moreover, he described risks which got out of control and disturbed budgets for contracts as well as upset liquidity of many construction companies.

Lech Witecki – General Director of GDDKiA in a both very emotional and professional speech presented the market condition from GDDKiA point of view and drew particular attention to the necessity of precise risk evaluation by contractors. He explained a need of GDDKiA to take a rigid position in order to guarantee transparency, equal partnership as well as to abide EU regulations which do not leave much place for negotiations.

He also estimated that a solution of rejecting both the cheapest and the most expensive offers would be ineffective as it would not enhance quality of work and so far has not been applied in other EU countries.

He concluded that Polish contractors can produce 18-19 mld PLN per year and emphasized overestimation made by some of contractors. He also announced purification of relations from toxic elements between investor and contractor. He asked contractors to look at the situation from a perspective of investor.

During the panel „Public procurement law” participants discussed reasons of planned changes, their stage as well as their final model. Contractors, among them: Piotr Kledzik (Bilfinger Berger), Wojciech Kowalewski (Siemens) and Piotr Chełkowski (P.R.I „POL-AQUA”) supported by experts Tomasz Latawiec and Arkadiusz Korzeniewski from CMS Cameron McKenna pointed out the most significant issues, among them: precising details of orders, introducing a possibility of rejecting tenderers who underprice, creating solutions which would strenghten financial liquidity during contract execution.

Jacek Sadowy –President of the Public Procurement Office described the most important modifications planned in legislation as an attempt to facilitate decision making process, especially on the stage of a contractor choice by introducing „technical dialogue” between investor and contractors. New procedures are going to be introduced, among them an obligation to present a list of realized projects (including its scope and value) as well as procedures permitting to control whether a contractor would be able to execute projects within declared price and rejecting those who underestimate the price.

In conclusion, a price criteria will be still decisive in future, however the final decision will be made after more detailed pre-qualifications.

During the panel moderated by Karol Manys (Bloomberg Businessweek Polska) devoted to an issue of financing infrastructural investments Piotr Kuszewski (Bank Gospodarstwa Krajowego), Lucyna Stańczak (Europejski Bank Odbudowy i Rozwoju) and Dawid Piekarz (PZPB) indicated which forms of financing (PPP, capital markets) and which areas of infrastructure we can count on in the close future. The influence of global market on capital cost for financing infrastructural projects was also examined. A question of a role of „Polish Investments” in financing infrastructure was equally discussed. The speakers emphasised that EU funds obtained by Poland were utilized in a better way compared to other EU countries.

A debate concerning future infrastructural sectors moderated by Bartłomiej Jankowski (WKB Wierciński, Kwieciński, Baehr) was carried out in a peaceful atmosphere. The speakers, among them members of big infrastructural companies Piotr Borys (PKP PLK), Grzegorz Tomasik (PSE Operator) and experts in this sector Krzysztof Celiński (Halcrow), Paweł Jagusiak (CTL Logistics) presented far-reaching plans of modernising and developing railway infrastructure and described in details process of preparing investment.

The last stage of the conference moderated by Andrew Kozlowski (CMS Cameron McKenna)with participation of Lech Witecki, Krzysztof Wiśniewski (Arup), Robert Szpila (Doka), Piotr Kledzik, Ulrich Paetzold (European Construction Industry) resulted in a mutual agreement that there is a need of a dialogue on each state of investment (from the moment of initial planning, execution till finalization and warranty period). The dialogue should be direct and based on professional matters contrary to the indirect one based on speculations and one-side presented facts.

Judging by both number of participants representing the highest levels of management and by presented knowledge of members, the Executive Club as an organizer deeply believes that we have managed to meet the need of a professional dialogue which we intend to continue during the conference in 2014.