Last week’s editorial on construction’s payment problems (13 August, page 3) leads one to the conclusion that when the chips were down the provisions of the Construction Act were found to be ineffective.
Spectrum’s demise appears to have been triggered by the 20% decline in the commercial market, but it was “finished off” (if we believe all that we read!) by retentions and late payments, despite the legislation in place.
The payment system, post-Construction Act, has become over-complicated with key dates and obscure time and notice periods. Checking interim valuations is now onerous and many arguments have arisen over whether actions are on time, or a day late, or whether reasons given for non-payment are valid.
We can only hope that the payment group’s delayed decision will be to remove or simplify ineffective processes, which distract us from the main event, rather than to add to their number.
A trust fund could be a good idea; too many of us have encountered clients who lack the funds to cover their reported commitments.
Mike Jewell, Monk Dunstone Associates, via email