They want protection from abuse by those higher up the supply chain – those who delay payments and those who ‘get legal’ with suppliers only trying to keep their employers safe and healthy.
SEC Group Wales/Cymru chairman Peter Davies said: “All the added value in Welsh construction is provided by SMEs and our priority now is to ensure that we have the right measures in place to secure their long-term survival.”
Dave Kieft, former president of the Electrical Contractors’ Association, added: “The Welsh government acknowledges that construction is part of the foundational economy providing essential support for the well-being of all of us. We want the industry to be in a fit state to continue to play this role and not be overwhelmed by the problems we are now witnessing during this emergency.”
The Specialist Engineering Contractors’ (SEC) Group Wales/Cymru has written to the first minister, Mark Drakeford, asking for help for in three critical areas: cashflow, site safety risks and interruption to supplies of materials and components.
Many firms in Wales are now running out of cash. Some of this is due to payments taking longer or not being made at all (especially if sites have been closed). SEC Group Wales/Cymru has asked the first minister to challenge Welsh public bodies to ensure that their tier 1 suppliers are making payments (including retention monies) to firms further along the supply chain and, if necessary, institute direct payments to subcontractors. They also want other major clients to monitor supply chain payments.
Managing Safety Risks
Subcontractors that feel the need to cease an activity or withdraw from site because of fears for the safety of their employees are in a difficult position, SEC tells the first minister. They are threatened with contractual claims for any resulting delay/disruption to the works.
SEC is urging the Welsh government to warn large tier 1 suppliers that their behaviour during the current emergency could affect their ability in the future to obtain public sector work.
Interruption to supplies
The SEC also wants the Welsh government to have a word with manufacturers, suppliers and distributors in Wales to maintain availability of construction materials, components and equipment. Again, subcontractors are bearing the risk of non-availability of supplies.