Trade group tackles late payments in construction sector
Ken Lewandowski: campaigner (pic: Terry Murden)
Two senior businessmen are to tackle the late payments issue after taking up new roles in the contractors’ sector.
Gordon Matheson, who owns Matheson Plumbing of Falkirk, has been appointed chairman of the Specialist Engineering Contractors’ (SEC) Group Scotland. Veteran board adviser Ken Lewandowski becomes executive chairman.
They will look at how construction companies withhold payments from sub-contractors to ensure that all work is completed properly. The money is meant to be repaid once work is finished and confirmed compliant with industry standards.
SMEs in the industry regularly report late release or non-payment of cash retentions. In addition, research carried out by the UK government suggests that smaller construction firms are haemorrhaging almost £1 million worth of retentions per working day due to upstream insolvencies.
Mr Matheson said: “With the Scottish Government currently carrying out an industry consultation on the abuse of retention payments in the construction sector, there has never been a more important time for the role which SEC Group Scotland plays.
It is unacceptable that so many businesses must waste valuable resources chasing money which they are legitimately owed– Ken Lewandowski
“I’m honoured to be taking on this post at what we hope will be a critical turning point for the industry, with the long-overdue overhaul of the 200-year-old system of retention payments now seemingly on the horizon.”
Mr Lewandowski has held a number of senior positions in the technology, manufacturing and banking sectors. Currently the chairman of three businesses – Wren & Fraser, ShotScope Technology and Emblation Medical Ltd – he has been a long-time campaigner for action on late payments.
“It is unacceptable that so many businesses must waste valuable resources chasing money which they are legitimately owed,” he said. “This has a particularly detrimental effect on SMEs in the construction sector, who are effectively bankrolling the cash flow of larger organisations up the supply chain.
“It is heartening that the Scottish and UK governments are now considering legislation to end this abuse, and I look forward to helping SEC Group Scotland in its continuing campaign to bring these practices to an end.”
SEC Group is an umbrella organisation representing the interests of specialist contractors. It is made up of a number of bodies, namely SNIPEF, BESA, British Constructional Steelwork Association, Lift and Escalator Industry Association, Scaffolding Association, and SELECT – the electrical contracting trade association – in Scotland.
SELECT managing director Alan Wilson, who is also national executive officer of SEC Group Scotland, said: “We are delighted to welcome Gordon and Ken to their new roles,” Alan said. “Their experience, integrity and expertise will be invaluable as we continue to press for positive change in the construction industry.”
SELECT works closely with SEC Group on a range of industry issues, including the current consultation on retentions.
Mr Matheson, former president of the Scottish and Northern Ireland Plumbing Employers’ Federation (SNIPEF), replaces Eddie Myles of the Building Engineering Services Association(BESA), who has stepped down after seven years as chair of SEC Group Scotland.