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Let's get rid of culture of late payment; CONSTRUCTING EXCELLENCE.

I HAVE talked numerous times about the issue of late payments and how, as an industry, we need to tackle the problem - confronting the issue was even one of my 'wishes'' in my first column of 2013.

I was, therefore, pleased to see the problem in the news for the right reasons this week.

Firstly, there was the news that a fair payment pressure group had launched a 12-point plan designed to rid our industry of delayed bills. The charter calls for: ? Parties to meet agreed valuations wherever possible; ? Payments to be made, ideally within 30 days, but at a maximum of 45 days, in accordance with the terms of contract; ? Simple monitoring measures to be put in place to ensure that payment terms are adopted throughout the supply chain on all publicly funded projects; ? Retentions not to exceed three per cent and dates for release to be discussed, understood and agreed; ? Pay less notices only to be issued in extreme circumstances which in any event shall not change the measured works value agreed.

These are only five of the 12. However, for me, they are things which we should already be following. These actions are not difficult to carry out and do not require any extra work by contractors to ensure they achieved - they should be undertaken in day-to-day business operations anyway. However, reminding people of these points and re-enforcing the idea that late payments are not standard is no bad thing.

The second story I saw was about a Parliamentary All Party enquiry into late payments which found that construction is one of the worst industries. Some may take a positive from this: 'at least we''re not the worst''. However, this attitude shows the opinion we have about the issue. We cannot continue to allow the culture of late payment to go unchallenged. These decisions affect ordinary people who have no involvement with costs yet are subject to delayed wages because of tardiness.

The results could mean main contractors are forced to publish figures on how long they take to pay their bills - something that I agree with. If people are constantly paying late, then why shouldn''t this be made known? Sometimes, the only way to get people to do something is to shame them into doing it, and if this is what it takes to rid our industry of late payments, then why shouldn''t we give it a go? For more information on Constructing Excellence in the North East, contact chief executive Catriona Lingwood on 0191 374 0233 or email

Catriona Lingwood, chief executive of Constructing Excellence North East
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jul 26, 2013
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