On 26 July 2017 the CMA announced that on 19 July 2017 it had launched an investigation into suspected anti-competitive arrangements in the design, construction and fit-out services sector in the UK. This investigation is separate to the CMA’s ongoing civil investigation into suspected anti-competitive behaviour in the provision of products and/or services to the UK construction industry, which was opened on 28 February 2017.
The investigations concern potential infringements of Chapter I of the CA98 and/or Article 101 of the TFEU, which prohibit anti-competitive agreements and concerted practices. The CMA is currently engaged in information gathering, and has not issued any statements of objections or implicated any companies in either investigation. A decision on whether the CMA will proceed with the design, construction and fit-out services investigation is expected in December 2017. On 1 August 2017 the CMA updated the timetable for its investigation into the provision of products and/or services to the construction industry, noting that a decision had been taken to proceed with the investigation and that a further update is to be expected by the end of February 2018.
The CMA had separately been carrying out a criminal investigation into suspected cartel activity in the supply of products to the construction industry. The criminal proceedings in relation to Barry Kenneth Cooper remain ongoing, after he pleaded guilty to the criminal cartel offence at a pre-trial hearing on 21 March 2016. On 13 June 2017 the CMA decided that there is insufficient evidence to charge any further individuals with the criminal cartel offence under section 188 of the EA02 and concluded the investigation.