Crossrail will not withhold contractor's pay

22 February 2011
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22 February 2011 | Angeline Albert

Suppliers to Crossrail are to get a fairer deal following its decision to sign up to a “no retentions” policy. 

Cash retention is commonly used to protect against sub-standard work on construction projects. Around 5 to 10 per cent is often held back to put towards the cost of a contractor not finishing a job or correcting defects. When the project is finished, half of the fund is returned to the contractor while the other half is retained by the client for a maintenance period of usually one year.

By signing up to the National SpecialistContractors' Council's (NSCC) policy, Crossrail’s head of procurement, Martin Rowark, has agreed not to withhold money owed to suppliers working on the UK’s biggest infrastructure project. 

A company statement said: “There is little evidence to show that retention results in better quality work and the practice has a significant impact on the contractor’s cashflow.”

Crossrail’s policy also states that it does not expect cash retention to occur in its supply chain.

On 16 February, the NSCC celebrated the launch of its ‘no retention policy’, which has the backing of 32 member organisations. A spokesman for the NSCC said: “The best guarantee of quality lies in the choice of a competent and qualified supply chain. By taking steps to create a more efficient and trusting environment in which to work, Crossrail is demonstrating that there is no longer a need for retentions in the construction industry and NSCC expects other major clients to follow suit.”

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