As a bricklayer with 24 years’ experience in the subcontracting game, it is with some relief that my son and I no longer subcontract

We became fed up with the lucky-dip wages when dealing with QSs, who over the years continually changed prices to suit main contractors.

If anyone is on a 5% reduction, count yourself lucky. I’ve had contracts on which a QS would alter prices as much as 20%, to take advantage of younger subbies. I was fed up paying fuel expenses to travel 30 miles to jobs before weather curtailed work for the whole week. Hard to believe that some weeks going to work as a subbie can cost you money!

I’m not saying that there is a problem with QSs – these decisions come from higher up the chain – but this has been prevalent for years. It’s time things changed. I have said for years that the building trade cannot function without subcontractors. It should be agreed in the written contract they are happy for us to sign disclaimers for our health and safety, that we are agreed on prices and a rate for turning up in bad weather. They have been getting away with this for years. It needs to stop now!

Martin Sneddon