Working for equitable contracts and fair payment terms

Main Contractors Reduce Payments to Subcontractors – No Surprise There!

Published 21st January 2017

Referring to the Construction Enquirer article ‘Subbies under attack from new breed of aggressive QS’ (20/01/2017) it states, “Subbies are coming under pressure on site from a new breed of “super aggressive” quantity surveyors employed by main contractors…it’s pretty depressing at the moment. There’s certainly a new breed of younger QS who are drilled by the main contractors to get back what they can”. However, to be fair to Main Contractors, this is not new, they have always been very successful at reducing payments to subcontractors. They rely on the fact that many subcontractors do not fully understand the implications of the contracts that they sign.

Main Contractors very effectively exploit subcontractor liabilities. However, contracts are not just one way. Subcontractors should use them to receive fair payment. Starting at the beginning. Subcontractors should refuse to accept spurious clauses in contracts which have been added by the main contractor. At the very least, a rigorous discussion should take place between the parties about the clauses and why they are not necessary. After all, clauses are not added for the subcontractor’s benefit. When signed, the subcontractor should live and breathe the contract and use it to receive the payment that is due and on time.

Unfortunately, Main Contractors know that subcontractors do not help themselves. Subcontractors generally are not proactive in sending their employees on contractual training courses. If they did, many payment issues could be resolved fairly, ensuring that subcontractors obtain correct and timely payment when faced by spurious and unreasonable Main Contractor claims and payment delay.

Subcontractors should consider booking onto our courses which cover all aspects of contractual training and become members of the confederation to gain access to a wealth of knowledge and experience on contractual and other matters. Help and support is out there; subcontractors should make use of it!

For over 30 years the Confederation of Construction Specialists has been supporting construction specialist companies. By providing up-to date relevant contract training courses, professional advice and contractual guidance, the Confederation of Construction Specialists enables specialist companies to optimise the ways in which they operate contractual arrangements when dealing with main contractors or clients.

Gerald Kelly
General Manager – Confederation of Construction Specialists

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Terms of application

  1. We/I hereby apply for Contractor Membership of the Confederation of Construction Specialists.
  2. We/I understand that Contractor Membership confers voting rights under the Confederation’s constitution.
  3. We/I understand that when the Confederation refers a member company to an Associate, any advice or help given is under the Associate’s own PI Insurance.
  4. We/I agree that this application will not be approved until the Management Committee has been granted an opportunity to comment on the application.
  5. We/I undertake to fully comply with and be bound by the Constitution and Code of Practice on admission to membership of the Confederation.
  6. We/I have understand that notice of intended resignation from membership must be provided, in writing, to the Confederation’s administrative office at least two months in advance of the membership renewal date.
  7. We/I have noted that as a Contractor Member we/I will pay the annual subscription according to the turnover bands shown below. (Select one.)