The Conservative party has called in Rudi Klein, a barrister specialising in subcontractors’ rights and a regular Building columnist, to draft a construction policy for its election manifesto.
Henry Bellingham, shadow minister for economic affairs, has asked Klein to produce a draft construction agenda to put to the party.
Among the ideas that he is to recommend is that public sector clients should refuse work to firms who are not accredited by their trade bodies. He said the government should make it clear which trade bodies’ schemes it considers “reputable”.
Klein said: “All professional membership bodies have qualification schemes. We want that recognition to be a prerequisite on all public sector projects to ensure high standards of workmanship and health and safety.”
He said that the government ought to be a “beacon” for other clients by refusing to employ companies that do not have industry qualification.
Klein will also advocate the use of project insurance, and the outlawing of retentions.
The overall intention of the policy package is to reform industry practice and thereby increase its productivity.
Klein said: “The message from many areas of the industry is that we simply want more work. But this is an outdated mantra from 20 years ago. A better way to improve the productivity of firms is to reduce the huge overheads that result from bad practice and needless duplications, such as having individual insurance policies for all companies working on a scheme”.
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