Wise Up Wednesday: Trade Body Failing on Payment

This week your Wise up Wednesday focuses on the fact that the Build UK Contractor members are simply not paying on time, and seemingly Build UK and its Trade Association members are quite simply failing to protect Specialist Contractors.


Build UK has hailed publication of their bad payers table as a “bold first step” in reforming payment practices. But, I agree with Neil Walters, national chair of the NFB, who said: 


“Seeing Build UK portray tier one contractors like industry pioneers is the ultimate insult.


“Build UK members, who make up less than 1% of the construction industry, are failing the 99%.


“Fair practice is essential to changing the industry culture around payment, not transparency.


“Transparency is a legal requirement, not a bold step.


Trade Associations Should Be Outraged!


The Trade associations should be outraged at this news, because it’s the clearest evidence yet that they are making no progress whatsoever.


But they won’t be!


Build UK Chief Executive Suzannah Nichol MBE said: “… the leaders within the sector are serious about changing the way they do business.”


Are they really? I don’t think so Suzannah. You have been banging on about payment and trotting out this “things are changing” BS for years, and nothing has changed!


The Trade Associations should be absolutely incandescent with rage at the lack of progress because it is destroying Specialist Contractors by the day, and dismantling the industry one firm at a time.


But they won’t be! So why not?


If you are a Trade association member I suggest you ask them.


I have asked them to engage with Streetwisesubbie.com and barring the odd one and it is literally one, they are not interested.


The offer to talk remains open, but in the meantime we are getting on with the job of protecting specialist Contractors.


Protect Your Interests


Here are seven quick tips on protecting your business;


1. Check Who You Are Contracting With


Check the financial status of those that want you to work for them. If the Contractor/Client you’re working for goes bust you will get nothing!


Watch out for contracts that allow the Contractor not to pay you if the Employer becomes insolvent.


2. Scope of the Works/Variations


It’s a chore but you should carefully check that the scope of works in the contract matches what you have priced.


At best Contractors don’t care if you get it wrong – their terms will protect them. At worst some Contractors will deliberately manipulate this.

If you’re having trouble agreeing variations, escalate don’t procrastinate!


3. Time/Programme


Make sure the contract period is agreed and properly documented before you start the works.


Don’t agree to work “in accordance with the Contractor’s programme” or “in accordance with his directions.”


4. Send Notices


If you get delayed you must send notices – don’t be persuaded otherwise.


Failing to protect your interests in respect to time can prove extremely costly!


5. Price and Discount


If you have made important qualifications in your tender make sure they are not lost when the contract is formed.


6. Check The Fundamentals


Make sure you know the fundamental basis of the contract (e.g. lump sum, re-measurable, cost plus) and therefore who is taking the risk of quantifying the scope of the works.


7. Payment Terms


Make sure the payment terms are clear, unambiguous and that you understand them.


Ensure you know what to do if you start to get paid late or less than you have claimed.


6. Design Liability


If the contract does not expressly limit your design liability to “reasonable skill and care” you will get the more onerous liability of “fitness for purpose.”


Fitness for purpose obligations will void your professional indemnity or product liability insurance cover!


7. Take Action


Remember, if you do run into any kind of contractual or payment problem, it will not get better with time!


You must take appropriate action as soon as possible.


Do not leave things until it’s too late. Act immediately.


StreetwiseSubbie has a nationwide network of Consultants to help you solve your problems by bringing you cost effective resources to help make your life easier and your business more profitable.


By working with our Service Delivery Partners across the country, we bring you professional support in all the essential areas of your business.


And, because we only work with Specialist Contractors you can be sure that we know the kind of problems you face, and the solutions that work best. Which saves you a lot of time, and a lot of money.


So please feel free to give us a call on 01773 712116 or email us on info@streetwisesubbie.com.


I sincerely hope to speak with you soon.





P.S. Please remember that we are here to provide solutions exclusively for Specialist Contractors. If you have a business problem, not sure what to do or just want a second opinion, then we are here for you. Please give us a call on 01773 712116, or email info@streetwisesubbie.com today.

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