There is a very worrying trend within the construction industry amongst contractors, consultants and clients alike. I am not too sure what is behind all of this but there are some very telling signs. Companies going bust,(some of these are due to management issues or poor cash flow in this difficult economic climate, suicide bidding), frustration and cynicism amongst professionals who once signed up because they enjoyed the industry, it’s challenges and the work. I see signs of burn out amongst some people, stress and many are leaving or have left to do other worthwhile jobs.
I know, I know, there are many positives within the industry as well. There is a Love Construction logo available now. However, speaking personally, the issues mentioned in this post do need to be addressed either on a personal level or through the correct channels! Why not support them and follow on Twitter.
I cannot ignore the continual noise I hear within the estimators/architects/engineers office containing words like ‘poor specification’ or ‘I’m taking all the risk.’ ‘The specification has now been changed even though the consultant/contractor may have completed all the agreed initial work already. We do not like hearing these words or seeing documents that offer a poor specification. Neither do we like a document that describes a poorly thought out brief. Of course, nobody will accept responsibility for these issues because it is always the other persons fault! These current issues (which have been going on for a long time) all impacts upon real individuals struggling to survive!
What is happening within our industry?
Talk is cheap! The initial brief has been changed four times now and these changes have taken two weeks extra of my time but the client will not pay for my additional time. Sound familiar?
There are many in the construction sector who call the shots but will not take the risk. Main contractors are notorious for their ‘bullying tactics’ by using sub contractors to maintain their cash flow and getting them to do more and more work for less remuneration. It is unjust!
A recent notice for a retaining wall was advertised and contractors needed to complete a PQQ. Is there not a simpler way to appoint a contractor? These pre-qualification questionnaires have become ubiquitous and serve little purpose in many cases. A much better solution would be a profile. Why is nobody listening? Have a look at Builder’s Profile for an alternative option.
Food for Thought
A contractor was telling me about a job they had been appointed to do. The price was agreed and payment dates set in place based upon reaching each stage of the job. Stage one was reached and an invoice was submitted and based upon payment terms they awaited the due money to arrive. 120 days and still nothing until 50% was then paid to the contractor. So, 90 days late and only 50% of the due amount. Now, this is possibly an extreme example but this does go on within our industry all the time. It is unjust and for those contractors in this awful situation you might want to read The Fair Payment Campaign 5 step process.
Ahaa! This may be a favourite amongst those consultants/contractors bidding for public sector work. A client of mine recently submitted a very competitive bid with a 5.2% margin and the appointed practice went in at 2.8%. Again, I understand that this does happen but when a bid goes in and the contractor submitting a competitive price is beaten by almost 50% one has to ask serious questions. I have often heard an estimator say that he/she could not buy the materials for the price a competitor has gone in with. You might want to read this article for further help.
I would like to hear from the professionals and people in the know about this issue. Again, it is not doing our industry any favours!
Speaking personally, I think these issues need addressing by men and women in a position to actually do something about them. No more talk but rather strong action!
“You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.”