Frustration with Construction Contracts Act delay

While the recent appointment of Dr Nael G. Bunni as Chairperson of the Ministerial Panel of Adjudicators to be appointed under the Construction Contracts Act, 2013, industry focus remains on the effects the delay in implementing the Act is having on sub contractors.

Speaking to Construction Tommy O’Malley, a member of the Master Painters and Decorators of Ireland, said member firms are inhibited from accepting new contracts because, he says, it might necessitate the hiring of new staff.

“Who wants to take on the responsibility of extra staff when there is no guarantee of payment,” he asks.

“Our biggest problem is that in the current scenario, nobody is held responsible when we don’t get paid,” he says. “When the Act is finally fully implemented at least we’ll have somewhere to go (with payment disputes).”

Tommy says that for most sub contractors it is a case of “week to week”, such is the precarious nature of new contracts and when they are offered. Ultimately, he says, knowing when you get paid will make the world of difference to sub contractors and will help with returning confidence to the sector.

The big worry for sub contractors is that the Construction Contracts Act is not fully implemented before the next general election. “That could mean even more delays,” he says.

One of the major issues preventing the full implantation of the Act was removed during May when the Minister for Business and Employment, Ged Nash TD, announced his intention to appoint Dr Nael G. Bunni as Chairperson of the Ministerial Panel of Adjudicators to be appointed under the Construction Contracts Act, 2013.

Dr Bunni has extensive knowledge and wide ranging experience of dispute resolution in the construction industry both in Ireland and internationally.

Minister Nash said: “I am very pleased that Dr Bunni has agreed to accept the role of Chairperson of the Panel of Adjudicators. He has a proven track record of dispute resolution at the highest level in the construction industry and he has the right skills and the essential knowledge to chair the panel of adjudicators that I will appoint following an open competitive process to be run by the Public Appointments Service, which will commence at the earliest opportunity following his appointment.”

Our image shows Senator Feargal Quinn in September 2013, just after the Construction Contracts Act was passed by the Oireachtas. The Act is yet to be implemented.

This article first appeared in the June/July issue of Construction magazine 

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