An urgent review of Construction economics is needed

corn exchange.jpgThe latest example of a major building company that has gone bust whilst working for the public sector should raise sufficient concerns amongst the LGA and Government for them to carry out an urgent assessment of their own processes. The collapse of R Durtnell and Sons whilst refurbishing the Corn exchange in Brighton and Hove is very different to the collapse of agencies such as Carillion but the local impact is potentially just as significant. I have written before about the impact of builders and electricians going bust on companies such as ours which install audio visual equipment. We have on a number of occasions been forced to become sub contractors to such agencies and indeed are in the middle of a project which makes us a sub, sub, sub, sub contractor for a job that we are very pleased to be involved in, in terms of the nature of the work but it only needs one of the steps in the chain to go wrong and we and the other companies could easily be impacted. As this news report from 2012 explains Durtnell had gone to excessive lengths to protect their company and one wonders how many other companies are facing similar challenges. It is very clear that there is a huge need for construction work in the UK but there are far too many examples of business owners and senior staff who twist and turn their sub contractors in a very damaging way. On top of this when businesses do go bust the knock on effect on the sub contractors is huge. Sadly in many settings the public sector seem incapable of setting out credible arrangements for contracts and whilst they claim to argue that social provision is important and the pricing is not the only basis for their decision making, there are a number of recent cases where public sector clients have gone to suppliers who make all sorts of ridiculous promises. These promises make no sense at all from offering free installation work, or costings that no one could credibly achieve and also offering free devices if larger purchases are made. In that case a wee bit of research discloses that they are offering older devices that the manufacturer sold off as an end of line product some time ago which means the products being obtained are lower specifications to the rest of the market, but sadly the procurers are not always able to understand this. It seems vital for our public sector economy to invest in mechanisms that will make meaningful assessments of both their own contract proposals and also of the nature of the industries they are obtaining services from and not just the front of house stuff but also what goes on several steps back from the front.

About ianchisnall

I am passionate about the need for public policies to be made accessible to everyone, especially those who want to improve the wellbeing of their communities. I am particularly interested in issues related to crime and policing as well as health services and strategic planning.
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