A seasoned practitioner once told me that “the best thing that ever happened to the construction industry was the Construction Act”. Without question the act has improved matters, but some changes have become desirable.

That is why I was delighted when the chancellor announced a review of the act.

This is a one-off opportunity. A review like this will not come again for decades. Therefore it is absolutely vital that firms engage and respond to the DTI consultation document before the deadline date of 21 June.

The core issue is payment. We need to improve certainty of payment by stipulating the point at which a legally enforceable debt arises. We also need to improve security of payment by providing protection to firms against the impact of insolvencies higher up the supply chain.

The construction press has a key role to play in the consultation period. Let’s hear personal experiences from the “coalface” of the industry - particularly from small businesses, which are the vast majority of firms in the sector.

John Nelson, executive secretary, Specialist Engineering Contractors Group