Opinion

Readers’ comments | Cladding, payment code, women in construction

31 May 2019

MPs are looking into how to recruit and retain women in construction

£200m fund for private blocks cladding replacement

CM 09/05 

This seems to differentially prejudice those responsible private owners in favour of those not so responsible and put the burden on the taxpayer. This seems fundamentally inequitable.

If the government feels that it is right to mandate the replacement work across the private sector as well as taking action in its own public sector, then it could provide a positive incentive (such as a temporary tax break) while also wielding a stick against those who neglect their responsibilities, right up to compulsory purchase.

Steve Frizell

Let me get this straight: landlords can’t attempt to recover the cost of remediation from their leaseholders. Government is going to make £200m available for 170 projects. That seems like good value procurement.

How many contractors who are capable of undertaking this task, and have professional indemnity insurance (PI) in place to permit them to do so, are currently sitting around twiddling their thumbs?

Landlords are expected to take reasonable steps to recover the costs from “those responsible” for the cladding being there in the first place. Will “reasonable steps” include asking leaseholders to bear the costs of taking a complicated case to court, then?

Chris Pateman

Why should the taxpayer foot the bill? It is my understanding that the freeholder was responsible for the structure/fabric of a building, and therefore it should only be a loan to these companies who quite clearly won’t accept their responsibility.

They should foot the bill and take it up with their insurers, their advisers and specifiers under latent defects or professional negligence.

RoyA 

Eight construction firms removed or suspended from payment code

CM 29/04

Years ago, the QS I sat next to had a phone call from a worried subcontractor, who was being asked to sign that he had been paid when he hadn’t, so a main contractor could then be paid and he could then pass that on to the subcontractor.

The QS’s advice was to the point: “I can’t advise you what to do.” The subcontractor signed, the contractor got his money, then promptly went bust.

You can have any measure of schemes, but it relies on people not being manipulative and strong-arming those in a weaker position into complying, with no consequences.

Unless there are criminal penalties for individuals, and not just firms, only the already honest will comply with the rules.

John

Not carrying out our duties to others short term will destroy all types of relationships and business long term. Payment practices need to change.

Ian Robertson

MPs probe lack of women in construction 

CM 24/04

Unconscious bias is rampant in construction. Middle-aged white males employ other middle-aged white males or females, leading to dull, one-dimensional people running the industry and ensuring the status quo remains.

The cost to the industry is huge in terms of recruiting a diverse workforce. I have worked in the industry for four years and experienced this first-hand. I have seen bright young people full of energy and enthusiasm being put down and humiliated by people who do not have the ability to manage people and are unconsciously incompetent.

Social skills are not valued and until this changes, and mentoring and coaching skills are seen as important, the industry will keep losing good people. It’s a shame.

Dorothy Lynas

Great plan. Can it please include Scottish women?

Sheila

Scaffolding contractors report spike in accidents

CM 25/04

I am a site manager and the number of young labourers who help a half-trained scaffolder is alarming. Also, the training on scaffold systems needs to be better.

Chris Thompson

Scaffolding labourers must not be allowed to erect any type of scaffolding. They are permitted to lift and shift and are only allowed on a working platform if the platform is fully complete. If you see this on site, take action and stop it or it will continue.

The skills shortage will allow some employers to attempt to pass untrained operatives off as skilled workers. Don’t fall for it.

Carry out checks at pre-let and site induction and complete random checks throughout the construction phase. Check, check and check.

David Ford

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