Build UK chair calls for poor payer ‘consequences’


Build UK chairman and Mace deputy chief operating officer Mark Castle has told Construction News there has to be “consequences” for bad payers following the collapse of Carillion.

Speaking exclusively to CN as Build UK revealed proposals to change the industry in the wake of Carillion’s liquidation, Mr Castle said there needed to be transparency around the identity of the industry’s worst payers.

He said this would provide clients with a choice over who they chose to work with.

“When you have companies that have poor payment practices there has to be consequences for those companies, particularly when it comes to winning work,” he said.

“We are all working in a competitive environment bidding against our peers to try to win work.

“But if there are four companies bidding for work that all have good payment practices and there’s one that doesn’t, you have to ask: why has that client included that company on to that bid list? Why is that company allowed to continue in the market and win work?

“If my company is contracting with a client and we know they’re a good payer or a bad payer, then that gives me the choice about what I want to do.”

Build UK has set out how it intends to use the Carillion collapse as a “catalyst for change” in construction.

In a release to members, seen exclusively by Construction News, the trade body warned the industry’s commercial model was “not fit for purpose” and vowed to tackle the “lack of trust” that existed across the supply chain.

Build UK said it was focused on the delivery of three outcomes this year.

The organisation said it planned to deliver its 2016 commitment to benchmarking contractor pay performance and said it would implement a roadmap to ending retentions.

Build UK also revealed it had brought together a taskforce to examine the “inequitable” transfer of risk in contracts.

Mr Castle told CN he was anticipating a battle to change attitudes and urged the industry to engage.

“It will be very challenging,” he said. “The things we are trying to change are mindsets that go back over many decades.

“Whether it’s a contract form, a procurement route, some of the issues around retentions and payments, we are steeped in traditions about how we’ve done things.

“The opportunity for change is there, but you’ve got to have like-minded people sat around the table.

“Whether you are a client a contractor or a PQS or a Chartered Institute of Building; whoever you are you’ve got to have a like mind that says, ‘There’s a better way of doing this’.