‘Un­cer­tainty around Brexit is un­set­tling but you can as­sess and mit­i­gate risks’

Belfast Telegraph - Business Telegraph - - Analysis & Company Report - By adri­ane akin, Part­ner & Uk head of in­fra­struc­ture Project steam

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.

MAR­KET PIPELINE

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.

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