Tony Bingham was clearly at a different DTI conference to discuss the review of the Construction Act than the one I attended (3 March).

He reports that "there was no majority, no consensus on what is to be paid and when in interim payments", and says that the attendees were in general dispute.

The reality was that a surprising consensus emerged that there needs to be a mechanism to ensure certainty of the amount to be paid in an interim payment - indeed I don't recall a dissenting voice. This is the single most important matter to be addressed by the review of the act as the current legislation fails to achieve this certainty.

If there was any dissent, it was not over whether such a mechanism should provide certainty but whether it be statutory or contractual. If it is to be the latter then we all know that wordsmiths will yet again be able to bypass the intent of the legislation and retain the payment uncertainty that currently exists.

Bingham correctly reports that "everybody in that room believed that the ‘in writing' rule should go". However, and incredibly, this was one section of the act that the DTI was not prepared to revisit during the review, and Bingham, in his inimitable style, correctly recorded the feeling of the conference.

Martin Wade