Opinion

Feedback | D-Day images, quality control, 30-day payments

26 June 2019

The Mulberry floating docks enabled 2.5 million men and 500,000 vehicles

Wates unearths rare images of D-Day Mulberry harbour construction

CM 06/06

What a marvellous achievement and effort. To deliver that unique project on time, on budget and on spec was a turning point and a huge contributor to our ultimate victory. It makes me very proud to be a British constructor!

Victor Cooper

Great piece of engineering and thinking outside the box. Well done Wates and their design teams all those years ago.

Darren Bell

John Laing & Sons was one of the many contractors involved.

RE Wood

And the record shows that RH Harry Stanger was entrusted with the quality control of materials and fittings for the concrete Phoenix units of Mulberry Harbour.

John Broomfield

Do you know that the harbours were named after the mulberry tree in the garden of Kingswood School, Bath? The school had been requisitioned in the war and the designers of the harbours looked out of the window and drew inspiration for a name from the mulberry tree in the garden.

Janet Wood

My father, who was a plasterer by trade, worked on the building of the Mulberry harbours. He told me about it many years after the war.

The shuttering system was adapted by John Mowlem & Co to produce a system of housing which was extensively used in the 1960s and 1970s to produce good-quality homes.

In Stevenage at Pin Green we were handing over thermally efficient homes complete with wallpaper and curtain rails at the rate of 38 per week. Can any homebuilder match that today?

Bryan Hills

Laing O’Rourke reveals structural flaws at Royal Liverpool

CM 10/06 

Government procurement agencies need to tighten scrutiny of proposals both on quality of design and total management as well as price and funding options for these major schemes.

I have often wondered how it is that overseas developers can beat our national contractors so easily, and the worrying tale of the Royal Liverpool Hospital is some evidence of why our most famous main contractors are no more.

R Blackmore-Squires

Would these shortcomings have been found if Carillion had not gone under? Who knew of the faults? Who should pay?

Brian Wood

Structural failures on the building before it comes into use? This is an inexcusable failure on the part of the designers — like building a battleship without a bottom. It’s not good enough they have gone bankrupt and left the taxpayer with the bill – we should at least know the names of those responsible, for future reference.

E Browning

Why it’s time to mandate 30-day payments

CM 21 May 2019

In response to Mark Beard’s article in connection with a mandate for 30-day payment terms, I feel he is missing a very significant piece of the puzzle.

As a contractor, yes in an ideal world we very much endorse 30-day payment terms. However, the suggestion that the client should potentially veto  any contractor who settles in terms of greater than 30 days, or indeed supply chain partners refusing to trade with contractors who exceed this term, is very naive and ignores the commercial challenges that SMEs like ourselves encounter.

We operate for a number of prominent clients who have payment terms in excess of 60 days or more. The recent implementation of public naming and shaming of corporations that operate on these terms does nothing to change their settlement terms and is worthless as behavioural change.

So with this being led by appointing clients, how do you expect an SME to be able to settle in lesser terms without putting their cashflow under huge and possibly unsustainable pressure? 

A sustainable business requires a healthy flow of cash coming and settlement of supply chain partners needs to align with this. It’s simple commercial logic.

Unless there is a real appetite for clients to commit to 30-day terms, you can’t expect SMEs to reciprocate.

Paul O’Brien

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