‘Uncertainty around Brexit is unsettling but you can assess and mitigate risks’
PRESSURE ON TENDERS
Ray raises an important point in relation to procurement bodies applying pressure on price through tenders. A desire to provide value for money for the public purse is understandable, but we see countless examples where it results in a false economy. Too much focus on price, at the cost of quality and experience to deliver, often leads to projects being significantly behind schedule or not delivered to the agreed specification. Those circumstances then give rise to disputes or renegotiations which add unnecessary legal bills on top of what may have seemed an attractive initial price.
The construction industry is often a barometer for the wider economy, and the unique arithmetic of the Westminster election certainly presents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to close Northern Ireland’s infrastructure deficit. The most recent comprehensive study of Northern Ireland’s requirements came in the form of the National Needs Assessment last October, and identified projects in sectors such as energy, wastewater and transport as key priorities. That spending would not only provide a much needed shot in the arm to the local construction industry, but also make Northern Ireland an attractive place to invest with the services and capacity required for a changing economy. Lowering the corporate tax rate is one thing, but investors need an investment location underpinned with proper infrastructure, and individuals relocating here want a vibrant environment with opportunity, vision and effective government.
BREXIT — ACCESS TO LABOUR
Uncertainty surrounding the Brexit process is hugely unsettling to businesses and companies here, and whilst there are means of pricing it in to contracts with conditional clauses, these can often be difficult to negotiate. In the absence of clarity during negotiations, we are helping firms in Northern Ireland understand their exposure to any potential changes in labour regulation via personnel audits. By understanding the potential risk, business can better inform how it might fill any gap, for example, re-profiling recruitment efforts, increasing apprenticeships or helping existing staff understand their options and cement their status as far as possible.