UK: The Building & Engineering Services Association (B&ES) has formally launched B&ES Wales to represent its members in the country which boasts some 80 member firms.
In an event at the National Assembly of Wales, hosted by the Welsh Government finance minister Jane Hutt, B&ES Wales chairman Mike McDonald explained the contribution of its members made to the wider construction industry.
It was against this background that new arrangements had put in place for B&ES Wales: “Arrangements that will allow us to speak with one voice for all members in Wales, and so ensure that our messages are heard loud and clear in the ‘corridors of power,” he said.
Mike McDonald went on to confirm that the B&ES Wales agenda included implementation of the Welsh Government’s Construction Procurement Strategy – in particular, the recommendations it contained on project bank accounts, the early involvement of the supply chain, public sector pre-qualification reform and the introduction of the Supplier Qualification Information Database (SQuID), which had resulted from the Government-commissioned McClelland report.
Ms Hutt confirmed that tackling late payment in the construction supply chain was a key priority for the Welsh Government – and went on to condemn the “unfair practices” that undermined confidence among specialist contractors.
The minister pledged to work with the B&ES to extend the use of project bank accounts in public sector projects in order to provide sub-contractors with greater security of payment.
And she insisted that there would be “no sympathy” for those who, through persistent late payment, threatened to derail the fragile economic recovery and the successful delivery of key infrastructure projects in Wales.
Concluding the proceedings, Association president Bruce Bisset commented that, as a former chairman of B&ES Scotland, he was well aware of the importance of the close and mutually beneficial relationship which had been built up with the Scottish Government over many years – which had allowed the views and concerns of members to be conveyed to ministers, senior civil servants and MSPs in all the major parties, in the knowledge that they would be listened to at the highest level.
“I have no doubt that our members in Wales will do everything they can to ensure that B&ES Wales develops an equally beneficial relationship with its own devolved administration – and so help to guarantee that the people of Wales benefit from an industry that knows what has to be achieved and is not afraid to take the sometimes difficult decisions required achieve it,” said the president.