Leading engineering services trade body ECA is working with the Welsh Construction Forum and Welsh Government to raise the profile of project bank accounts (PBAs) in the fight against unfair payment and business practices in construction. PBAs are vital in maintaining cash flow, bringing tangible business benefits and creating a more robust supply chain.
In a public and industry collaboration the industry body has devised practical measures to help increase the adoption of PBAs across public sector contracts.
An easy ‘how to’ guide – which is now published via Business Wales – provides a clear step by step process on how public clients and Tier 1 contractors can set up a project bank account.
One of the key requirements of the Welsh Government and Construction Forum established during the COVID-19 pandemic was to support the construction sector in particular with the certainty of future work pipeline and efficient procurement and payment processes.
Welsh Deputy Minister for Climate Change Lee Waters says: “I’m delighted that these simple to use Project Bank Accounts Guidelines have come out of the Construction Forum.
“These guidelines provide confidence to clients, contractors and small businesses regarding payments especially during these extraordinary times. The guide complements the detailed information and training available via Business Wales and Welsh Government.
“I am delighted that already some Local Authorities and contractors have used the guidelines to great effect and look forward to working with the construction sector to ensure a stable sustainable thriving sector in Wales.”
Steve Bratt, ECA CEO and lead on Business Environment policy welcomed the partnership with the Welsh Construction Forum and the Welsh Government on the PBAs guide and adds: “This is a great example of industry working together with the public sector to extend fair payment practices and responsible procurement across all public sector contracts. We hope to see many more follow this example and use PBAs to protect businesses from payment abuse and encourage better collaboration across the supply chain.”
Michelle Morgan-Loughman, ECA Regional Manager thanked the Welsh Construction Forum and its chair, the Minister Lee Waters MS, as well as the Welsh Construction Federation Alliance for supporting the guide. She says: “It has been over three years since the Welsh Government mandated project bank accounts (PBAs) and its usage has already protected many Welsh SMEs in the construction supply chain from late payments and cashflow insecurities. This easy step by step guide will ensure wider adoption as this practice is embedded in public procurement and help the industry recover from the pandemic.
“We will continue our work with the Welsh Government to lower the threshold for using project PBAs from £2 million to £1 million. The long-term aim of ECA is for PBAs to become statutory across the whole of Welsh construction.”
David Kieft, Director of RDM Electrical and Mechanical Services, an ECA Member in Wales, welcomed the initiative. He adds: “Project bank accounts provide companies of all sizes in the construction supply chain the security of prompt payment avoiding costly delays and concentrating our resources in delivering high-quality projects for our clients.
“PBAs in Welsh Public Sector construction have gained significant momentum with almost £1bn of construction and infrastructure projects now using them. We hope that this practical guide will increase their take up across the industry.”