The agenda for growth: campaigning construction group states its case on procurement

The Specialist Engineering Contractors’ (SEC) Group Scotland, which was formed just a year ago, has campaigned tirelessly to improve construction performance and remove payment abuses such as late payments and unnecessary retentions.

The group, which represents the interests of electricians, plumbers, heating and ventilation engineers, lift and escalator specialists and structural steel engineers, has published its own agenda, listing the steps it sees as vital to bolster construction industry efficiency and fairness.

SEC chairman Eddie Myles said, ‘We are excited by the efforts being made by the Scottish Government to overcome inefficiencies and poor practice in the construction industry. 

‘We intend working very closely with the government to support those efforts and to that end we want to emphasise the priorities which should underpin the forthcoming legislation.’

The SEC Agenda items include:

– the mandatory use of project bank accounts throughout public sector construction in Scotland to ensure security of payment for SMEs;
– statutory safeguards for retention monies to ensure they are released when due;
– a single route for pre-qualifying firms as suitable for public sector works to remove the burden of having multiple routes to pre-qualifying;
– a more integrated approach to construction delivery to enable early involvement of supply chains in the design process to remove needless costs in having to make designs work.
– a statutory regulator or Ombudsman to ensure that best practice is enforced;
– a yellow card/red card system to debar firms from involvement in public works if they have been guilty of poor practice (such as late payment to their supply chains).

SEC Scotland comprises SELECT, the trade body for the electrotechnical industry in Scotland, SNIPEF, the Scottish and Northern Ireland Plumbing Employers’ Federation; B&ES, the Building and Engineering Services Association; LEIA, the Lift and Escalator Industry Association; and BCS, the British Constructional Steelwork Association.
As well as considering aspects of the procurement process, including purchase and payment and means of protecting the supply chain, SEC Scotland has already been a strong advocate of project bank accounts.

Its campaigning strength was illustrated earlier this year when the Scottish government agreed to trial PBAs across the country as part of its procurement review.

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