Wise Up Wednesday: A Common Enemy!
A common enemy. This week’s ‘Wise Up Wednesday’ is slightly unusual in that, inspired by a couple of emails that I read this morning (17.06.20), I got to thinking about the common enemy of Specialist Contractors!
Not your usual topic of conversation I admit.
The first email was by from Construction News, in which editor Lem Bingley highlighted the fact that he had been denied access to details of a meeting between the Construction Leadership Council and BEIS about Covid -19 safety on construction sites.
The second was from Construction Enquirer inviting me (and everyone else), to listen to a “leadership panel” discuss the task ahead for the Construction industry in recovering from COVID-19. In which it says:
“We’ll share industry best practice with speakers joining us from the likes of Build UK, the Construction Leadership Council, Government, as well as some of the leading firms in Construction.”
What About Specialist Contractors?
Now sharing industry best practice etc. is all well and good, but to my mind the work of the “industry” is overwhelmingly – staffed, financed, supervised, designed, managed, and undertaken – by Specialist Contractors, so where oh where is your representation?
And just in case anyone is reading this on-line and wants to suggest that Build UK represent Specialist Contractors then please do me a favour and give me a call, and I will take issue with that proposition (with the necessary evidence of course).
So, no there is no Specialist Contractor representation, nor would there be even if they invite one of the major players either, because the likes of N G Bailey are not representative of your average Specialist Contractor.
Is A Common Enemy A Good Thing?
It might sound counter intuitive, but a common enemy might actually be a good thing. According to an article in Psychology Today a recent study found that enemies can give us comfort in the face of uncertainty.
“Instead of believing that bad things happen for no reason, enemies give us a sense of control, allowing us to attribute bad things to a clear cause that can be understood, contained, and controlled.
Common enemies can also serve to unite people. After 9/11, many Americans reported feeling a heightened sense of unity and patriotism. And common enemies make friendships grow stronger. One study found that people are more likely to bond over a shared dislike – rather than a shared fondness – of a third party.”
So, Who Or What Is The Common Enemy?
There have been countless reports over the years highlighting various problems in the industry, and you can take your pick as to whether or not any of the following resonate with you;
- Poor image / reputation
- Competitive tendering/race to the bottom
- Late payment/late completion/delay damages/contra charges
- Changes of design during construction
- Time constraints and/or accelerated completion
- Low productivity/Labour shortages/lack of training/aging workforce
- Poor quality / workmanship
- Inexperienced management and supervision
- Aggressive Contractors and their QS’s
But these are all factors or attributes and trying to get to grips with any one of them is a bit like platting fog!
So, based on my 50 plus years in the industry, 30 of which have been resolving disputes for you guys, and with all that is currently happening in construction, what conclusion did I arrive at as to who or what is the common enemy?
The answer might surprise you. It’s – “truth”.
That’s right, the common enemy for all Specialist contractors is truth.
As children, we are taught that honesty matters above almost everything else. When we grow older we gradually learn the concept behind the white lie, like telling your granny you love those sweaters she gives you for Christmas every year.
Later in life, particularly as we enter the construction workforce, we learn that truth isn’t as clear cut as it should be.
Whether we like it or not, just like in society as a whole, some people in construction are more trustworthy than others.
And, regrettably truth is at least bent, or even totally absent at almost every level.
The Truth About Protecting Your Business
The truth of the matter is that you are responsible for protecting your business.
You can’t always control what happens to you (the current pandemic being a an obvious example), but you can control how you react and what you do when there are problems.
And the truth of the matter is that no matter how well things have gone for you and your business thus far, at some point construction has a really nasty habit of kicking you in the teeth at some point.
Every day can bring a multitude of different contractual problems, both on current jobs, or on completed projects where you find that Contractors are now doing all they can to avoid paying you for work properly carried out.
Who Can You Trust?
We believe that you can certainly trust us and rely on us to help you whenever you need it.
Over the last twelve years, StreetwiseSubbie has been providing both free information via our website and Wise up wednesday, blog posts, free guides etc.
We have also been solving commercial and contractual problems for Specialist Contractors in the construction industry and have successfully recovered £millions of pounds of unpaid invoices and retentions, as well as training and equipping Specialist Contractors with the knowledge and information necessary to protect themselves and fight back against the dirty tricks employed by some of the Contractors out there.
Helping Individuals And Businesses Fight The Common Enemy
StreetwiseSubbie is a membership organisation that provides you with a whole host of resources and information backed by specialist Consultants which will help you to solve your commercial, contractual, and business development problems.
Crucially, support and advice is readily available about the all-important issue of getting paid, as well as a well as taking informal and formal action by way of adjudication, arbitration and the courts should the need arise.
In short StreetwiseSubbie provides you the Specialist Contractor with the confidence to face up to the challenges of running your business, without which (and others just like you), there would be no construction industry!
And You Can Of Course Call Our Helpline
Our friendly team are on hand to ensure that you get the help and support you need to get paid and make a profit. Call us on 01773 712116 or email email@example.com