Brown Street Visual
Collapsed contractor CPUK was delivering Novo's Brown Street scheme in Hale

PODCAST | Building a better future for construction

Dan Whelan

As we near the end of another tough year for construction firms, join Stuart Stead, head of construction and property at accountancy firm Cowgills, and Ben Fearns, managing director of developer Novo Property Group, as they discuss the biggest issues facing the industry and what can be done to improve the outlook for medium-sized contractors in an increasingly competitive market. 

Much like 2019, this year has seen a number of high-profile firms forced to call in administrators as cashflow problems, exacerbated by the Covid-19 lockdown, made it impossible for them to continue trading.

Guests on this Place North West podcast, hosted by Dan Whelan and sponsored by Hargreaves Contracting, discuss what the industry needs to do to prevent more firms going the same way as the likes of Cruden Construction and Harry Fairclough.

Questions asked 

  • What can contractors and employers do to safeguard construction firms in the future? 
  • How much are design-and-build contracts to blame for the demise of construction firms and, if they are so risky, why do companies agree to them?
  • Aside from design-and-build, what other factors contribute to the collapse of construction firms?

Main takeaways 

  • A more collaborative approach between contractors and employers would go some way to rebalancing the proportion of risk currently weighted against construction firms  
  • An “adversarial” relationship between employers and contractors has contributed to a sense of dissonance  
  • By ringfencing funds for a specific project, contractors can limit the impact one bad job can have on the wider company 
  • Covid-19 has accelerated the demise of some firms that were already struggling to maintain cashflow.   

The views expressed by the guests on this podcast are not necessarily shared by Hargreaves Contracting.

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