Its Snow Joke! How To Avoid Being Blamed For Delays Caused By Bad Weather

The bad weather has affected everyone up and down the UK in some way, and the construction industry is no exception. Whether people haven’t been able to get to work or a full day’s work has been completely snowed off, someone will be out to dish the blame, so make sure you aren’t first in line with these streetwise tips:

  • Understand your programme obligations under the contract, in particular the start date, duration and completion date.
  • If you cannot proceed with your work due to the bad weather, record the fact with an email, letter or fax, doing nothing is fatal.
  • Take dated photographs of anything that is delaying your progress. It isn’t enough that the snow is all over the news, you need solid proof of how it affects YOUR job!
  • If it becomes evident that you will not complete by the completion date due to the delays, you must be able to demonstrate it’s not your fault and you should apply immediately for an extension of time.
  • Understand the requirements for submitting applications for extensions of time, as in some circumstances you may lose your entitlement with a late application.

Secure Extensions of Time To Avoid Incurring Costs

At its simplest, events such as bad weather which are beyond your control and cause you to take longer to complete than originally planned entitle you to an extension to the contract period.

The amount of time to be added to the contract period for delaying events should be calculated logically and methodically by the Contractor, and in turn if those events have delayed the Contractor, they should be dealt with upstream by the Contract Administrator, or Architect.

All of this should be done impartially and objectively.

In other words, if it comes to a dispute as to whether a fair and reasonable extension of time has been granted and the Contractor (and/or the Contract Administrator or Architect) has determined the period of that extension of time instinctively, intuitively, or under the instructions of one of the parties, that decision is likely to be overturned.

Urgent Sub-Contract Delay and Disruption Problem?

If all this seems somewhat confusing, then don’t be put off. There is a lot of nonsense talked about extensions of time and delay analysis. So, our best advice is to give us a call and talk it over with us.

Our initial advice is free! Call us now on 01773 712116.

You will be pleased to know that you can also find a wealth of information on about avoiding delay and disruption problems.

Please click here to go to the Contractual section.

If you already have a problem with a Contractor or Client regarding delay and disruption and you need help to find a solution please check out the Dispute Resolution Section for information that may help you to resolve the situation.

Please click here to go to the Dispute Resolution section.

If you simply haven’t got time to look or have any other problem whatsoever and you can’t find what you are looking for, then why not use the Ask Streetwise or StreetwiseConfidential feature on this site to ask our Virtual Team of experts for help on delay and disruption?


The Streetwise Guide To Increasing Profits In Any Economy

Britain may be officially out of the recession, but that doesn’t mean we instantly feel the benefits of this. And knowing the track record of this country we could just as easily slip back into yet another economic crisis at any time. But that doesn’t have to affect you and your business. We have put together our Streetwise Guide to increasing your profits no matter what the economy to help your business to keep growing, recession or not.

YOU Determine Value Your Products and Services

The reason so many larger companies start and win price wars is because they are willing to and can afford to make a loss. This is why trying to sell your products and services based on a competitive price and that price alone is not a fool proof plan if you want to make any profits, as there is always someone bigger that you who will price you out. That doesn’t mean completely disregard what your competitors are charging, as knowing your market and competitors is always important in the pricing process. But if one of them is undervaluing their own goods, don’t feel the need to follow suit. Price your own products and services based on their value and demonstrate why.

Demonstrate The Value

My last point brings me to demonstrating why you value your products and services at the price you have chosen. The main reason why people will buy something solely on it being of the lowest price is due to the fact that they are simply given no other reasons not to. It is your responsibility to give them enough reason to want to pay your prices over the lower ones. These reasons could include quality, a guarantee, flexibility of services, etc.

Have Confidence In Your Prices

You should not be ashamed of charging higher prices; in fact it’s quite the opposite. If you wear your prices like a badge of honour and be proud of the prices you charge and your reasons for this then you will attract an increased quality of customers and increase your response rate. Have confidence in your prices and so will the customers you attract.

Want more advice and information on sales and marketing strategies that could benefit your business? Contact the Streetwise Team and check out our website.


Construction Minister Michael Fallon announces team that will work with Government on the Industrial Strategy for construction.

The eighteen strong advisory council has been put together by Government Chief Construction Adviser Peter Hansford who is leading the formation of the strategy and will chair the group.
Construction Minister Michael Fallon said:

“Industrial strategy is about setting out a long term Government approach to how we support business. This will give confidence now for investment and growth.

“Construction is a sector where Government and business working together can have a real impact. It can drive productivity and growth in other parts of the economy.

“We are very clear that in order for it to deliver, the construction industrial strategy must be developed in true partnership with industry. This advisory council will be an important part of that.”

Chief Construction Adviser Peter Hansford said:

“I’m delighted that these key figures from across the construction industry have agreed to join our new Advisory Council. I look forward to working with them over the next six months to create a long-term strategy for our industry and to chart the way forward for construction in the UK.”

The members of CISAC are:

• Peter Hansford (Chair) – Chief Construction Adviser, UK Government
• Denise Bower – Professor in Engineering Project Management, University of Leeds
• Mark Clare – Group Chief Executive, Barratt Developments
• Geoff Cooper – Chief Executive, Travis Perkins
• Keith Howells – Chairman, Mott MacDonald
• Chris Kane – Director, Greendale Construction
• Simon Kirby – Managing Director, Infrastructure Projects Network Rail
• Kevin Louch – Managing Director, Stanford Industrial Concrete Flooring
• Robert Mair – Professor and Head of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Cambridge
• Chris Newsome – Director of Asset Management, Anglian Water
• Ray O’Rourke – Chief Executive and Chairman, Laing O’Rourke
• David Pinder – Chief Executive, BDR Thermea
• Neil Sachdev – Property Director, Sainsbury’s
• Paul Sheffield – Chief Executive, Kier Group
• James Stewart – Chairman of Global Infrastructure, KPMG
• Jack Pringle – Principal, Managing Director, Pringle Brandon Perkins + Will
• Mike Putnam – CEO and President, Skanska UK
• Mark Wakeford – Managing Director, Stepnell

The issues the strategy is expected to cover include growth and innovation; supply chain; SME engagement; skills; access to finance and overseas trade. It will build on, but not duplicate, the work of the Green Construction Board, the Infrastructure UK Cost Review, and the Government Construction Board.


Please give us your constructive suggestions about the issues they should consider and what the industry should expect from this Advisory Council.

You can do that here, or you can email us at


What Should Peter Hansford And His “advisory council” Be Expected To Deliver?

Whilst aspirational talk of cost saving, innovation, BIM, and low carbon construction is all well and good, is it what the industry desperately needs right now?

The view from the industry’s front-line is that ideas from the centre such as BIM will not succeed without some specific changes to how the industry is currently operating.

We have had literally hundreds of constructive responses from Specialist Contractors in our recent surveys, but what this research has also revealed is a deep rooted institutional blame culture, spurious claims, corporate greed, and endemic late or non-payment.

The industry has never been in a worse state, and one of the UK economy’s biggest drivers is being dismantled piece by piece as a result of appalling practices and cultural apathy.

I wish Peter well with his new advisory board as he seeks to address the industry’s next decade, and I trust that it will include well informed representation from the specialist contracting community, as it is this community that actually delivers the work on site!

Specialist Contractors are passionate about the industry that they have committed their working lives to, and I believe they have constructive proposals to bring to the table.

‘Name and Shame’ Deadline In War over £37 bn Late Payments!

late payments, government name and shame

Image courtesy of

After Business Minister Michael Fallon announced Government plans to name and shame anyone not signing up to the Prompt Payment Code in November 2012 it has finally started to make some waves among industry giants. Power and temperature control rental giants Aggreko along with supermarket leaders Sainsbury’s and Morrisons are all leading the way after being said to be in talks about changing their payment terms to adopt the prompt payment code.

Read the full story by The Telegraph’s Nathalie Thomas and James Hurley here.

The news of the giants stepping forward comes shortly after the Telegraph published the revelation that late payments in the UK had climbed to over a staggering £37 billion and the Government’s plan to ‘go to war’ on late payments, giving all companies in the FTSE 350 just one month to sign up to the prompt payment code (PPC) before being publically named and shamed.

Read the full story by The Telegraph’s Kamal Ahmed and James Hurley here.

Fallon’s decision to ‘go to war’ on bad payers is thought to have been encouraged by the uproar and calls to action that came after Streetwise Buddy Steve Sutherland made the brave and heroic decision to cut his company Dortech’s 13 year long relationship with Balfour Beatty due to “constant difficulties”, which included waiting over 200 days for payment on completed work to be processed, only to have the value of the work subjected to retrospective discounts.

Read the full story by The Telegraph’s James Hurley here.

But what does this mean for the Construction and Engineering industries? Will this pave the way for better payment terms and relationships between main and specialist contractors? Only time will tell, but in the meantime we can all keep doing our bit to influence the outcome. Keep spreading the word about the #buildfair4all campaign. Follow us on Twitter and join us on LinkedIn to keep updated on the latest #buildfair4all news. We also have a group of over 1,100 likeminded people on LinkedIn where we regularly discuss the industry news and issues, as well as give advice and support. You can also check out our Silver and Gold Buddy memberships to find out how we could help your business grow without major setbacks such as late payments and other disputes getting in the way.

Steve Sutherland’s story of unfair treatment and late payments sound familiar to you? Tell us YOUR story, anonymously if preferred, by emailing


How to help your website climb the Google ladder

Getting as high as possible in Google searches is one of the main aims of every company’s main aims for their websites, and though some take the route of pay per click advertising (sponsored links which appear at the top of Google searches) this is not always a worthwhile or cost effective strategy. So climbing the extremely steep and slippery ladder that is Google’s ranking system and turning your website into a search engine’s dream is the main aim, although it can take time and effort it is much more worthwhile in the long run.

The first thing we need to establish is that Google fairly recently changed the way it searches, making many previous search engine optimisation (SEO) efforts not enough anymore. The good thing about this change however is that Google is ever becoming more and more human in the way it searches, and it now not only searches for the keywords you type into its search engine, but also considers your intent when searching and your previous search behaviour.

The reason it considers your intent, i.e. whether you are looking to purchase a product, locate a service, define something, and so on, is because if it were to simply search the words you had typed in then you may not necessarily find anything at all relevant to what you were looking for on the first page. Take the word ‘hammer’ for example. We can assume someone searching for the word ‘hammer’ is looking to purchase a tool of that description. Before Google changed the way it searched, however, the first 3 rankings that would come up when ‘hammer’ was searched were:

  1. A film production company with Hammer in the title
  2. A vitamin with the word hammer in the title
  3. A Wikipedia result defining ‘Hammer’.

These 3 results would be of no use to anyone wanting to buy tools. That is why now, Google assesses the intent of this search, i.e. why would someone be searching for hammer? and brings up results based on this intent that also contain the key word.

Then on top of this comes the consideration of the searcher’s previous behaviour. This is done by accessing your previous web history, previous searches and previous activity, and then bringing up results that match your previous behaviour. So someone who typed ‘hammer’ and had been looking at tools and related websites would be brought results relating to the tool, and those who had previously been looking at film production websites and typed ‘hammer’ would be shown to the film production company with hammer in the title. Clever eh?

This is all very good news to us as businesses,  as we can now take on board these new search algorithms, and as well as incorporating basic SEO strategies into our website content we can ensure the content is tailored to fit in with our target audiences’ typical search behaviour and intent. Thus, making the climb up the Google ladder a little less steep after all.

Want more advice and information on sales and marketing strategies that could benefit your business? Contact the Streetwise Team and check out our website,