ACE warns that despite 70% increase in workload, late payments by private clients are damaging the engineering sector

The Association for Consultancy and Engineering has warned that a growing trend among private clients for delaying payment is damaging the sector.

The ACE this week released its state of business report for 2006, which showed that 70% of firms in the sector had experienced a growth in workload during the year. However, the growth was clouded by concerns over payment in the private sector, and fears over skills shortages.

Nelson Ogunshakin, ACE chief executive, said: “The problem with private clients seems to be occurring across the board. We would advise companies to work only with sophisticated clients.”

The report outlined expansion in the nuclear market over the next two years as a key area of growth for the sector. Ogunshakin also pinpointed Olympics contracts as a potential boost to the sector, but said the impact of the contracts would depend on the extent to which the Olympic Delivery Authority engaged with the sector.

He said: “The ODA has to set a clear strategy. There has been a lack of communication so far, and if they’re not careful the wrong messages will be sent to the industry.”