Engineering Happiness – Can UK Construction Be As Happy As It’s Engineering Peers? We Believe So!

The new Engineering Happiness video from the Institute of Civil Engineers (ICE) is a cheerful and upbeat way of showing some appreciation for the UK engineering industry! The feel good video is celebrating a great range of engineering achievements to be ‘happy’ about.

And a reason to feel happy is something the UK’s Specialist Contractors could do with right now!

Sadly, Specialist Contractors in UK construction continue to suffer at the hands of ruthless main contractors despite all the talk of things being on the up.

But as always, our aim is to give Specialist Contractors something to be happy about!

So, if you are a Specialist Contractor, you will be glad to know that we are continuing the fight to expose onerous payment practices, and the worst offenders to watch out for! And a massive resource at our disposal is our annual State of Industry survey.  This year’s survey will be our third, and we continue to focus on the key issue of payment terms and unfair treatment.

By gathering as much evidence as possible from Specialist Contractors across the industry, we can continue to expose the extent of the problem, and force those in power to take more action!

Please take two minutes to complete our State of Industry Survey, and help us work towards a future that UK construction can really be happy about! And then you can treat yourself to the “happy video” as a reward.

And if a business problem such as late or poor payment, is making you unhappy right now, we can help you be happy again with immediate advice and support. Get started today by letting StreetwiseSubbie help you! Visit to see and hear from some of the people we have already helped with their contractual problems!


Bursting The Construction “Growth” Bubble: Why Subbies Should Be Wary Of The Hidden Dangers of a “Growing” Industry

According to the headlines the industry is seeing the best growth it’s enjoyed in many a long year. And if you read enough of them, you could actually be forgiven for starting to believe that the industry is on the mend, and everything in the garden is rosy.

Well, sorry to burst the feel good ‘growth’ bubble, but from what we are hearing and seeing first hand on a daily basis, things are just as bad, if not worse than ever before.

With 1,921 Specialist Contractors in our LinkedIn Group, and 2,687 Twitter followers, not to mention our small army of exclusively Specialist Contractor StreetwiseSubbie Buddies, we have a pretty good handle on what’s really happening in the industry.

Payment problems, insolvencies and contractual disputes still abound and Specialist Contractors are not being treated any better than they were during the worst of the recession. But, what’s really sounding alarm bells, is the “merger” talks between Balfour Beatty and Carillion!

Is this really indicative of a healthy growing industry?

Balfour Beatty issued their 4th profit warning in July this year, with profits £65m below forecasts. And is it a coincidence that they have increased the paper value of 37 UK PPP (Public Private Partnership) contracts by a whopping 63%?

So, I ask the question, if these two companies were to merge, where would the money for the merger and any future growth come from?

What also sticks in my craw, is that the only reasons these two leviathans seem to be giving for the merger being worthwhile are financial and investor focused. Nowhere does it say how the “merger” will make a stronger, more competent Contractor, drawing on the skills and expertise of the two.

Where does it say how it will benefit the UK construction industry, or help to achieve the objectives of “Bull S**t 2025”, sorry I mean “Construction 2025”?

There is no mention of these things, because there doesn’t appear to be any to be mentioned.

All the talk of “growth” doesn’t solve the industry’s problems. We can’t sit back and relax!

Dig a bit deeper and you will find mixed reports about the health of the UK’s construction industry. Sisk has revealed its construction arm saw revenue and pre-tax profit fall last year, whilst there is some good financial news from North Midland and Galliford Try.

The only thing one can say with certainty is that the industry seems to be on a roller coaster ride. Some firms have increased revenues whilst others have diminishing turnovers and wafer thin or non-existent profits.

So, what are we to make of it all?

My advice is be careful!

In times like these there is no substitute for caution. Irrespective of who is inviting you to tender, or dangling the carrot of an order, please do your research.

Because no profits means no cash, and growth with no money to fuel it could well make monsters out of the most benign of Contractors. And those monsters may well develop a veracious appetite for feasting on small Specialist Contractors. Only capable of growing by sucking money out of their own supply chain.

Sadly, some Contractors will continue to use every trick in the book to hold onto as much cash as possible and continue to make withdrawals from the ‘Bank of Specialist Contractors’! And whilst some Contractors bottom lines begin to improve, too many Specialist Contractors will struggle to keep a hold on their cashflow and eventually go under.

But you won’t see that in the headlines will you?

It’s Wise Up Wednesday For Specialist Contractors – How You Can Get More Streetwise About Subcontracting!

Every week StreetwiseSubbie brings you Wise Up Wednesday!

It’s a great little gem for all Specialist Contractors in the UK Construction and Engineering Industries. Regular readers will know that it’s a little gem of information that packs a big punch!

This week’s Wise Up Wednesday is a little bit different in that we have a great way for you to get even more Streetwise about Subcontracting.  

You see we are already working with lots of other Specialist Contractors, and we do the lot, from resolving, commercial and contractual problems, to helping you find more profitable opportunities, settling accounts, ensuring you get paid what you are owed and resolving disputes! 

Earlier this year around a hundred Specialist Contractors attended our “Breakthrough Construction Conference” (you can see details here) and as a thank you for attending we offered delegates our StreetwiseSubbie “how to” guide books at a great price.

These guides are written exclusively for you as a Specialist Contractor and at the reduced rate they were a real bargain that quickly got snapped up.

But, inevitably we had over ordered just to be on the safe side, and we have a few left over. So I have decided to release the surplus stock to all Specialist Contractors at that price, on a first come first served basis.

Please note that this price is only available because we are offering them to youas a set of 4.

In other words they are reduced from 4 x £25 = £100 to only 4 x £8.75 = £35.00 plus postage.

We are almost giving them away at this unbelievably low price!

But hurry – because we are only selling our surplus stock at this low price as these exclusive books are still selling on Amazon at £25 each!

Here’s what’s on offer;

  • 25 Recession Busting Tips – It does exactly what it says on the tin!

     Over 70 pages of great ways to make more money – even in any economy!

  • Streetwise Contractual Guide – Quite simply a brief guide to sub-contract law for specialist sub-contractors

       Brief it’s nearly 100 pages! It’s a must have in today’s tough world!

  • Streetwise Contractual ToolkitIt’s a mini toolkit showing you everything you need to know from enquiry and tender up to the final account.

       Get a handle on the essential tips that will protect your interests.

  • The Secrets of Wining Sales Copy – Is packed full of hints, tips and tricks to ensure your sales letters and brochures make it into the client’s office.

      This really is an invaluable easy to read manual that you don’t want to miss!

Here’s what one of our readers had to say about our guides;

“A down to earth, simple approach, make these manuals ultra reader friendly.”

And remember; they are still selling on Amazon at £25.00 each, (for more information click StreetwiseSubbie on Amazon you might find a copy at £20 but don’t go paying £20 or £25.00 when you can get one of the discounted sets we have on offer today!!)

An Amazing Saving of £65!

If you want an amazing saving of £65, then grab one of around only 30 sets for just £35.00 per set of 4 plus a nominal amount for postage, but you’d better hurry!

Place your order today and we will even throw in “The Little Book of Crap Advice for Specialist Sub-Contractors” (usually £3.99) absolutely Free!

Just mail us at confirming how many sets you want to order, and we will contact you direct to arrange the most convenient payment and delivery method for you.