Home Features Editor’s comment: Paying to get paid

We just don’t seem to be able to get away from it, money and getting paid that is.

Isn’t it sad that some of the country’s leading main contractors are proud of their payment
record, yet anyone who deals with them knows differently? Surely there must come a time when the people who have been bankrolling large cash guzzling contractors acknowledge that there must be a different and better way. And to be asked to pay someone for the privilege of being paid is just unbelievable in an age where integrity and honesty seem to be values of a bygone era.

In the same way that inefficient cars are now few and far between, inefficient cash guzzlers
will be a thing of the past. Lean and efficient is a structure that is surviving and will grow into the future. But to distinguish yourself in a market where supply is greater than demand means contractors must redouble their efforts and demonstrate that they provide a quality and
reliable service.

For some time now we’ve seen drylining contractors move through the wall and target more complex façades that require greater attention to detail and greater engineering and
planning nous. At the same time envelope contractors have been nervous of these interlopers treading on their territory. What is fact is that competition can have its benefits. The weak will not survive.

But, while weak contractors will disappear, the predatory nature of large cash guzzlers must not be allowed to lead to abuse of their position as dominant players in the market. And let’s face it – everyone must accept responsibility and pay their bills in a timely fashion (up and down the supply chain).

Three cheers for the new NEC3 contract. The key objective of NEC3 is to encourage parties to work together to allocate risks and create a working relationship that will ultimately provide value for money for the purchaser and a reasonable return for the supplier.

For NEC3 to be endorsed by the UK government is good news. The collaborative approach the contracts encourage and the contributing factor they played in the timely and cost-effective delivery of the Olympic Park last year, is testament to NEC3’s value across all sectors of the industry.

The new form includes the use of project bank accounts provisions. This is a direct response to the UK’s government’s initiative on fair payment, designed to improve payment practices
across the construction industry and eliminate retentions throughout the supply chain.

Promoting a collaborative approach between all parties involved in a project seems to have a
familiar ring to it but at least it’s still there.

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