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Industry News ‘DO YOUR

Industry News ‘DO YOUR RESEARCH’ With the fallout from the collapse of Carillion still having a huge impact on the construction sector supply chain, question marks remain over the fate of 43,000 jobs, whilst 30,000+ small businesses are thought to be owed money. DISTRIBUTOR CALLS FOR CLARITY Vivalda Group, a leading distributor of cladding systems, has called for greater clarity on rainscreen cladding Standards and confirmed that it no longer promotes aluminium composite materials (ACM) for use on high-rise applications which fail to reach A2 Standard. Ben Jayes, Managing Director of Vivalda Group So how can SMEs protect themselves against such collapses? ArchOver CEO Angus Dent offers his advice: “Overall, 25% of bankruptcies are due to unpaid invoices. In the construction industry, this figure is likely to be even higher. This is a sector that experiences the highest levels of insolvency per year so SMEs need to be more mindful of the risks they are exposed to. “Don’t just rely on a big company’s reputation for reassurance. Look at whether they have a good record of paying their debts. Do they have a strong cashflow? Have your peers had issues with invoicing them? Consider what would happen if a customer were to default and ensure that you have protection, such as credit insurance, in place. The Carillion case shows that credit insurance does pay off when a big contractor goes bust – the payments to its suppliers will range from £5,000 to several million pounds – but not nearly enough companies took it out. The company is concerned that contractors could inadvertently make unintentional specification errors, given the complexity of the UK's current safety standards. While the initial report on the likely causes of the Grenfell fire is not expected until spring 2018, Vivalda Group has stated that shortcomings in the current ‘approved inspector’ regime have created a confusing landscape for contractors. This scenario has been made worse, according to Vivalda, by the widespread adoption of complex laboratory tests used by manufacturers to gain approval for ‘so-called’ safe systems which are impossible to replicate on site. Ben Jayes, managing director of Vivalda Group, explained: “The issue of fire safety is at the very top of the agenda for contractors right now, but many within the industry are not helping to build confidence in the supply chain. We know of one manufacturer of ACM that put out ambiguous claims relating to how their standard material performs at a high level. But that’s not the whole story. It’s worth remembering that behind every panel lies a complex web of subframes, fixings and fire barriers, none of which this manufacturer is prepared to detail as part of a system. “The poor contractor is on the hook should there be failure in even one minor component, so confidence in the complete system’s performance is vital. Besides, setting up a rig for a lab test is one thing, replicating it on site, 18 metres in the air, is quite another. “We’ve looked closely into this and decided in the best interest of clarity to promote only ACM products that meet or exceed the gold standard of A2. Despite their best endeavours, many customers could be installing systems that may turn out not to be safe. Thus, we’ve moved to make the task of A2-standard aluminium rainscreen cladding simple – by offering only fully approved claddings and associated fixings.” What will Hackitt Review mean for contractors? p.62 “When we trust too much in a company’s longevity or size, we’re making an understandable but risky mistake. Investments and contracts can go bad but that doesn’t mean you can’t take steps to protect yourself. Just like Carillion didn’t have to accept tough contracts, SMEs should not accept contracts where there’s a risk that they won’t be paid or where there aren’t measures in place to protect them against losses. “Do your research, go only with sound debtors and put protection for your deals in place.” Payment issues, a contractor’s view: p.76 UK ROOFING AWARDS LUNCHEON 2018 It’s now just under two months The competition, covering the full until the UK Roofing Awards spectrum of roofing disciplines, Luncheon 2018. runs from October to January every year with judges assessing the The Awards, which take place at shortlisted projects on range of criteria including the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge Hotel, on degree of difficulty, aesthetics, problem-solving, Friday 11th May, have established themselves health & safety, workmanship and environmental as a key date in the roofing sector’s calendar qualities. and promote best practice as well as shine a light on the high calibre of work which is For further information and to purchase your carried out on roofing and cladding projects ticket to the UK Roofing Awards Luncheon, visit: throughout the UK. www.nfrc.co.uk. 6 TC MARCH 2018

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