03 July 2008
Buyers in the construction industry should select suppliers early and pay them within 30 days, according to a new set of industry standards.
The voluntary Construction Commitments, developed by the Strategic Forum for Construction, highlight the steps the sector can take to help deliver projects on time, safely and on budget. It suggests purchasers ensure fair and effective payment throughout the supply chain and collaborate with vendors in the design process.
The document also advises buyers to identify and financially quantify project risks and take a non-confrontational approach to contract disputes. Some public sector departments have signed up to the commitments, including the OGC.
Antony Faughnan, partner at consultancy EC Harris and chair of the CIPS construction group, said buyers shouldn't underestimate the challenge of implementing the commitments. But he believes action is needed: "The onus is to deliver inclusive and transparent ways of working. It's all about execution and [the targets] provide an area of focus, a good starting point."
Rudi Klein, chief executive of the Specialist Engineering Contractors' Group, said the government must ensure the targets don't become "empty gestures" and urged buyers to reconsider "outdated" strategies.
Suzannah Nichol, chief executive of the National Specialist Contractors Council, said implementing 30-day payment terms was a positive step. "It's important we work together to make it through tough times."