Archive for December, 2010

Quiz answers

And the answers to our quiz were:

  1. Grant Shapps
  2. Aecom
  3. Joseph Cyril Bamford
  4. Spackle
  5. The Design Council
  6. Keep on Roking!
  7. Conservation of fuel and power
  8. Paul Morrell
  9. Banner
  10.  The Shard

Christmas Quiz

As it’s nearly the end of the year I thought we could have a bit of fun.

So here are some questions for you.

Email me your answers and I’ll consider giving out a prize to the fastest, and the funniest answers I receive.

I’ll publish the answers before the New Year…have fun and enjoy the holiday period

  1. What’s the name of the Minister of state for Housing?
  2. What was the name of the company that took over Davis Langdon?
  3. What do the letters JCB stand for?
  4. This term came to be both a noun and a verb, but it is actually a trademark for a powder or paste designed to fill cracks and holes in interior walls, ceilings and partitions, what is it?
  5. Cabe the government design quango has been saved this year by which organisation?
  6. What did Garvis Snook say in his parting email to his redundant staff?
  7. Part L1A of the building regulations came into force in October 2010, but what does part L stand for?
  8. What’s the name of the governments Construction Advisor?
  9. Apart from Connaught and ROK another household named contractor went in June of this year, can you name them?
  10. What is the tallest building in London?

I blame the Government…


Well Sir John Egan does, so read on….

But first

Here’s an unsurprising statistic.….one in eight UK Construction firms are pricing jobs with no profit in.

Come on, who on earth paid KPMG to come up with this piece of earth shattering news! Oh I know its just KPMG wanting to drum up more business for themselves.

For those of us old enough and been around the game long enough will know what really goes on, and its nothing new to find this out given that we are in one of the toughest periods construction has ever known…..or has it?

On this theme a thank you to Keith Kelly @pagroupuk via twitter who drew my attention to a bbc article online about deconstructing the economy. Makes for some fascinating reading. Statistics I ask you. Duh.

Anyway who out there doesn’t know what contractors get up to when things get tough and they are scrambling around for work and every last penny they can find. And who suffers in the long run as a result? Well everyone really. Don’t they?

How can we change this circus we are in? I’m afraid I haven’t got the easy answer, I wish I had. Everyone has a role to play from the employer, professional advisers, contractors, subcontractors and suppliers alike.

Dear old Sir Michael Latham and Sir John Egan and their review Rethinking Construction of our industry from 1998 recommended many things but heres two of them repeated again:

  • ’The industry must replace competitive tendering with long term relationships based on clear measurement of performance and sustained improvements in quality and efficiency.’
  • ‘The public sector has a vital role to play in leading development of a more sophisticated and demanding customer base for construction. The task force invites the government to commit itself to leading public sector bodies towards the goal of becoming best practice clients seeking seeking improvements in efficiency and quality through the methods that we have proposed.’

Sir John Egan was asked 10 years on by building magazine were we on track? Part of his interesting reply (although in the context of the OFT investigation at the time) ‘In 1998 we said the government was a relatively poor client. This is still the case.’

So perhaps that’s the answer we’ve got to wait for the government to slap us into shape??? Think again……..

If you want to re-read the full original report heres the link

Notices in Writing

As its getting nearer to Christmas I thought I’d trot out one or two of our favourite old chestnuts…

It’s a very old one……

Get your notices in writing!

If I had a pound for every time we’ve had to tell a contractor or subcontractor did you send them a notice under the contract that you were in delay, that it was a variation, that you haven’t got this vital piece of information…..well, I’d be a rich man and not sitting here on a cold, dark and foggy December night writing this!

It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate, confrontational or quoting the contract clauses verbatim. What it simply has to do is quote the facts of the situation. Record the current position, nothing more, nothing less.

Simple!

Keep it up-to-date too, tell the other party if things have improved or got worse, have a dialogue you’ll be surprised what it may bring out. If it brings out the worst, well then you know where you stand a lot earlier that if you let matters drift. You could end up with a serious financial penalty that could perhaps have been avoided.

Then why don’t we do it?

Not enough time, afraid of offending the other side, not sure what or how to say it, think you are in the wrong too, or something else? Then pick up the phone and talk to your counterpart, tell them the situation and that you are going to drop them a line as a result recording it. At least they will know its coming.

If you cannot do that then ask me to do it for you, I’d be only too pleased to help!

A relevant case if you are interested in reading more is Steria Limited v Sigma Wireless Communications limited, or have a read of our briefing paper (number 1 on the list, now there’s some irony!)


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About Me

I’m now the Managing Director of Mynott Associates Limited my own specialist measurement business. I’ve been in the industry all of my life since I left school. My first job was with Bovis Construction as a management trainee where I trained to become a quantity surveyor. I’ve worked for contractors all through my career, I am FRICS, FCIOB and MCIHT qualified and act as an RICS assessor. I’m also a keen Arsenal supporter having followed them from a young boy

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