Solutions for all Specialist Contractors
A year on and counting, and our annual payment survey has revealed we are still seeing little improvement on the dire payment situation that the UK construction industry continues to face.
If anything, despite promises of ‘help’ for small businesses from the Government and the introduction of half hearted schemes such as the Prompt Payment Code to try prevent payment issues continuing into the future, we have found that the situation has actually gotten WORSE in the last year!
Find out exactly how bad its gotten and see what you can do to help us stamp out payment once and for all by reading our managing director Barry Ashmore’s blog post on the matter here.
Hi, and welcome to StreetwiseSubbie.com
I’m Barry Ashmore, one of the founders of Streetwise.
Let me quickly explain how StreetwiseSubbie can help you as a Specialist Sub-Contractor, in the construction and engineering industries.
Here you will find resources and expertise that will ensure the wealth and financial security of your Specialist Contracting business, both now and in the future.
We can help you to overcome your business problems whatever the size of your business and whatever type of installation you specialise in.
On the right hand side of your screen you will find a list of resources designed to solve a whole range of problems that you will encounter as a Specialist Contractor.
The construction and engineering industries are a tough place to do business right now, and Specialist Contractors need all the help you can get.
You will find information here to help you solve all your business development and commercial and contractual problems.
You will discover how to market your business in a way that helps you to find more profitable opportunities in the future.
And crucially, there is lots of information and advice about the all important issue of getting paid.
On the left hand side you will also find the Ask Streetwise and Streetwise Confidential features.
Once you have completed the free registration process, you can use these to ask any question you like related to your business as a Specialist Contractor.
We guarantee that we will find you an answer.
If you prefer, simply pick up the phone and give us a call on 01773 712116 Our initial advice is always free!
On the left hand menu, you will also find links to our low cost StreetwiseSubbie Gold and Silver Buddy monthly membership schemes. For a small monthly fee you can make a massive positive impact on your Specialist Contracting business.
As an ex Specialist Sub-Contractor myself and as a professional consultant who has spent the last 23 years resolving contractual problems for you guys, I know just how useful and effective you will find StreetwiseSubbie.
Don’t miss - out check it out now!
Enjoy your visit and I look forward to an opportunity of speaking with you again in the future.
Barry J Ashmore
StreetwiseSubbie’s Fair Treatment Charter Recommended By MPs To Stop Payment Abuse
The Fair Treatment Charter, which was officially launched at our exclusive conference in June, has had formal recognition by MPs as a valid solution for late payment in the construction industry!
Our founder Barry Ashmore took the Charter to Parliament in April and put it forward to an All Part Inquiry chaired by Debbie Abrahams MP with the intention of dealing with late payment across all UK industries.
The report recognises that the UK construction industry has suffered worst, with ‘normal’ payment terms in some cases reaching 120 days.
The report called for the Government to “work with SMEs ...to negotiate, for example, a Fair Treatment Charter” in order to help SMEs avoid payment abuse.
Abrahams said on the continuation of late payment issues: “Until top CEOs, and their executive board members, make a decision to act ethically in business, and treat our small and medium sized businesses fairly, this problem will persist.
Ashmore welcomed the publication of the report saying that “allowing a culture of late payment and brutal financial treatment to persist unchallenged is just plain wrong, and I am pleased that this report has given formal recognition for the StreetwiseSubbie Fair Treatment Charter.”
You can download the full report and a copy of the Fair Treatment Charter from www.streetwisesubbie.com/fair-treatment-charter.
Launch of Fair Treatment Charter At Sell Out Conference Marks A turning Point For The Industry
Friday 7th June saw StreetwiseSubbie.com Ltd host our sell out conference and launch our ‘Fair Treatment Charter’ to close to 100 delegates from the UK construction industry.
There was a buzz about the whole conference as 9 speakers took to the floor to each share their knowledge, experiences and expertise in a bid to help Specialist Contractors take back control of both their businesses and ensure a positive future for the industry, which has long since been suffering at the hands of the Contractors who see it as purely a means to a financial end.
The main attraction of the event was the launch of the Fair Treatment Charter, which StreetwiseSubbie.com founder Barry Ashmore put forward to delegates on the day. The support for the proposed Charter was overwhelming, with many hailing it as ‘the industry’s fix’ and many more downloading copies from StreetwiseSubbie.com with the intent of spreading the word to their peers who could not attend the event.
Ashmore says that David Cameron and many MPs simply do not understand, or don’t want to acknowledge, the full extent of unfair treatment and the contribution this is making to the slow decline of the UK construction industry.
"The industry has to find an answer. We are in a unique position to understand the plight of the Specialist Contractors whatever their size or specialisation, because we are in touch with literally thousands of them on-line, and our Nationwide Network of Consultants are helping them resolve problems on a daily basis. If the government cares about the industry and the 200,000 jobs already lost they need to action this now, before it's too late!
“The Fair Treatment Charter has been launched, and whether the Government take notice or not, the Specialist Contractors of the UK have shown their willingness and readiness to take action and we have provided them with the necessary tools.
The industry is dominated by the big corporate players who have the resources to survive. They also have a stranglehold over their supply chain simply because they control the flow of cash. But, the shocking and grim reality of the situation for the construction industry is that more than 5,000 Specialist Contracting companies have failed since the start of recession, and over 200,000 jobs lost, and that can’t be good for the industry or the economy.
26 April 2013
StreetwiseSubbie.com founder tackles late payment in Parliament
Barry Ashmore, founder of the website for specialist subcontractors, was invited to an evidence session in Parliament earlier this week to speak to a cross party group of MPs regarding the state of the construction industry owing to late payments and unfair payment terms.
He put forward to the MPs a proposed solution to the payment issues suffered by specialist contractors in the construction industry, in the form of StreetwiseSubbie.com's 'Fair Treatment Charter'.
The charter consists of 12 simple but effective points that could be introduced quickly and at virtually no cost that would provide a workable deterrent and solution to the current malpractices and issues of late payment in the UK construction industry.
The charter was written by members of the construction industry, for members of the construction industry, based on the honest responses received for their 'State of Industry Survey', which can be downloaded from the StreetwiseSubbie website and with some of Mr Ashmore's own experiences of the industry.
MPs were particularly interested in point 7 of the proposed charter which says: 'No bespoke sub-contracts. Use only un-amended standard form sub-contracts, eg, the JCT or NEC suite of sub-contracts.' StreetwiseSubbie.com says that this point alone would put an end to a great many of the ruthless tactics used by contractors when wording their sub-contracts, allowing them to pay late, pay less than is fair or was agreed, or to simply not pay at all.
Also attending the evidence session were Dortech's director Steve Sutherland and Balfour Beatty's chief executive Andrew McNaughton.
In his opening statement to the MPs in attendance, including host MP Debbie Abrahams who has been actively working on the late payments issue across UK industries, Mr Ashmore said: "5,000 specialist contractors have failed since the recession. Conversely, during the same period, the profitability of contractors generally has improved."
He claimed that the Prompt Payment Code and the Government's mystery shopper service have had little or no effect.
Mr Ashmore will be giving a full report of the recommendations at StreetwiseSubbie.com's conference 'Specialist Contracting in the UK is Broken! - What Can We Do To Fix It?' in Nottingham on 7 June.
Click Specialist Contractor's Conference Nottingham 7 June 2013 for more information.
7/1/13: ‘Name and Shame’ Deadline In War over £37 bn Late Payments!
After Business Minister Michael Fallon announced Government plans to name and shame anyone not signing up to the Prompt Payment Code in November 2012 it has finally started to make some waves among industry giants. Power and temperature control rental giants Aggreko along with supermarket leaders Sainsbury’s and Morrisons are all leading the way after being said to be in talks about changing their payment terms to adopt the prompt payment code.
Read the full story by The Telegraph’s Nathalie Thomas and James Hurley here.
The news of the giants stepping forward comes shortly after the Telegraph published the revelation that late payments in the UK had climbed to over a staggering £37 billion and the Government’s plan to ‘go to war’ on late payments, giving all companies in the FTSE 350 just one month to sign up to the prompt payment code (PPC) before being publically named and shamed.
Read the full story by The Telegraph’s Kamal Ahmed and James Hurley here.
Fallon’s decision to ‘go to war’ on bad payers is thought to have been encouraged by the uproar and calls to action that came after Streetwise Buddy Steve Sutherland made the brave and heroic decision to cut his company Dortech’s 13 year long relationship with Balfour Beatty due to “constant difficulties”, which included waiting over 200 days for payment on completed work to be processed, only to have the value of the work subjected to retrospective discounts.
Read the full story by The Telegraph’s James Hurley here.
But what does this mean for the Construction and Engineering industries? Will this pave the way for better payment terms and relationships between main and specialist contractors? Only time will tell, but in the meantime we can all keep doing our bit to influence the outcome. Keep spreading the word about the #buildfair4all campaign. Follow us on Twitter and join us on LinkedIn to keep updated on the latest #buildfair4all news. We also have a group of over 1,100 likeminded people on LinkedIn where we regularly discuss the industry news and issues, as well as give advice and support. You can also check out our Silver and Gold Buddy memberships to find out how we could help your business grow without major setbacks such as late payments and other disputes getting in the way.
Steve Sutherland’s story of unfair treatment and late payments sound familiar to you? Tell us YOUR story, anonymously if preferred, by emailing email@example.com
14/12/12: StreetwiseSubbie Buddy refuses to work with Balfour Beatty
The news this morning is that one of our StreetwiseSubbie Buddies and business owner Steve Sutherland has refused £5 million and a 13 year long relationship with main contractors Balfour Beatty because of their less than perfect record of payments for completed work. This means glazing specialist contractors Dortech will be sacrificing more than 40% of their annual turnover because, in Mr Sutherland’s words, “we can’t take the risk”. Its a bold and highly respectable move, and I think we can all take a little inspiration from this.
James is always looking for similar stories to Mr Sutherland’s to help spread the word about unfair treatment and support our campaign for fairer treatment in the building environment. You can contact him, firstname.lastname@example.org, or us, email@example.com, to talk about your story either named or anonymously.
You can also support the campaign and contact us in other ways. Join our exclusive LinkedIn group and follow our LinkedIn company page. You can also follow us on Twitter and tweet #buildfair4all to help spread the word.
Thanks again to everyone for your continuous support, with your help we can bring about a fairer future for the construction industry.
Latest Survey Reveals Dire State of The Industry
Shocking new research says that nearly 90% of Specialist Sub-Contractors have been subjected to unfair treatment or sharp practice over the last year, with the vast majority saying they are being underpaid, their work undervalued and almost never paid on time.
The StreetwiseSubbie State of the Industry Survey also revealed that the majority of Specialist Sub-Contractors are having to accept far less money than they are entitled to and have no alternative but to accept making a loss just to get paid at all.
8.11.12 StreetwiseSubbie #buildfair4all campaign reaches Parliament
Business Minister Michael Fallon has announced that it is going to name and shame big companies who do not sign up to the Prompt Payment Code – press release here (http://news.bis.gov.uk/Press-Releases/Fallon-to-big-businesses-Commit-to-paying-suppliers-on-time-or-be-named-682dd.aspx).
And there is going to be a debate in Parliament on prompt payment, or the lack of it.
This has happened because of the support you’ve given to the StreetwiseSubbie campaign – when we act together our voices get heard. Our biggest mistake would be to think that the problem’s solved, but we have to keep the pressure on.
Please support the calls for a House of Commons debate by writing to your MP. Download a draft letter here.
Some have been out of pocket by anything up to £100,000 over the last 12 months. And the bleak reality is that everyone expects the situation to stay the same or even become worse over the next year.
This worsening picture of a sector in crisis follows failed attempts to get fair treatment for the supply chain.
The story continues to hit the news. Follow the story here!
The UK Government tried to tackle the endemic payment problems in December 2010 by introducing new rules requiring the main contractors working on public sector contracts to pay their Sub-Contractors within 30 days. But only 10% of subbies working on these contracts say they are actually seeing this put into action, and most are still waiting well in excess of 60 days for payment.
Barry Ashmore, founder of StreetwiseSubbie.com, says: “It’s time for you to stand up and fight for what you are entitled to, and show the main contractors that you will not put up with this ridiculous treatment any longer.
“With StreetwiseSubbie’s help, you can turn those survey figures back around, and put the industry back on top where it belongs, as a powerhouse of economic recovery. We are campaigning for fair treatment, and we specialise in providing solutions to help subbies to get paid in full - and fast - and we also help you protect yourselves against the same problem issues recurring in the future.
“I have seen ups and downs within the industry but this is the worst state it has ever been in. Specialist Contractors need to stand up and be counted. They are the backbone of the industry and they are the only ones who can sort it out. Our aim is to provide them with the help and resources they need to do that,” he added.
To see what Barry had to say and access a copy of the results click here;
State of The Industry Survey September 2012
If you are experiencing payment problems and late payment from main contractors, here’s what you can do:
- Support the calls for a House of Commons debate by writing to your MP. Download a draft letter here.
- Support the StreetwiseSubbie fair treatment campaign by sharing your experiences on our LinkedIn group – ‘Streetwise Subbie: Nationwide Alliance of Specialist Contractors’
- Voice your concerns to your trade body, write to your MP, or Vince Cable or the Prime Minister. The more evidence they see of the problems you face, the more your voice will be heard.
- Tweet your story or support on Twitter by using the hashtag #buildfair4all and you can follow us for regular news, updates and tips at @StreetwiseSubbi
- Check out the free resources on this site and remember you can ask for our help on any of your business problems as and when you need it. Our initial advice is free and there's no obligation just good honest, down to earth advice. You can call us during office hours on 01773 712116 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- If you prefer you can send your question via the AskStreetwise or StreetwiseConfidential feature on this site and one of experts will come back to you with an answer as soon as possible.
Here's to your success and good fortune.
Barry J Ashmore
Founder and Managing Director
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