How do I guard against contractor insolvency in the construction industry?
It is almost impossible to completely guard against the risks associated with contractor insolvency, but there are some steps which can assist in mitigating and managing the risks involved. To be in the best possible position, it is worth considering the following at the outset of any project:
- Check the contractor’s financial position – particularly the specific company which will enter into the building contract, as the employer’s rights will be against this company rather than the business as a whole
- Take legal advice to ensure that the building contract is properly drafted with appropriate provisions to deal with an insolvency event
- Consider requiring a performance bond and/or parent company guarantee (each serve slightly different purposes)
- Obtain collateral warranties from the consultants and sub-contractors involved, so that there are contractual rights against other parties if the contractor is no longer able to meet claims
- Consider requiring retention bonds, advance payment bonds or vesting certificates if necessary
- Project bank accounts and escrow accounts can also provide some further assurances for the parties involved
Individual contractors who are not operating via an intermediary (eg sole traders) do not need to be assessed under IR35. However, you will always have the risk with those individuals that there is no intermediary – therefore if their tax status is wrong, HMRC are very likely to consider that responsibility for this would fall on the hiring company in any event.
Civil Court listing priorities, last updated by HMCTS on 24 April 2020, categorise the Court’s work into the following:
Priority 1 – work that must be done: this includes any applications in cases listed for trial in the next 3 months, any applications where there is a substantial hearing listed in the next month, all multi-track hearings where parties agree that it is urgent (subject to triage).
Priority 2 – work that could be done: Infant and Protected Party approvals, Applications for interim payments in multi-track / personal injury / clinical negligence cases, Applications to set aside Judgment in default, Preliminary Assessment of costs.
The full guidance can be found at:
Schools should be considering both Youth MHFA training and Adults MHFA training so that there are people within every school who have the skills and knowledge to support the mental health needs of students and teaching staff.
- Is the individual held out as being employed by the business by having a company email address, uniform, how would they introduce themselves to customers?
- Is the contractor restricted from working for other organisations without the consent of the end user client?
- Length of engagement:
- Is the contractor engaged to work on a specific project for a defined period? Or are they engaged for an indefinite period with no reference to a specific task or project?
- Are there regular fixed payments or is payment on completion of specific task or commission based? Is the contractor entitled to benefits or bonuses?
- Does the contractor provide their own equipment and materials to provide the services?
- Financial risk:
- Is the contractor personally responsible for any loss arising from their work in performing the services? Will they have to rectify unsatisfactory work at their own time and expense? Will they have the opportunity to profit from the success of a project?
You can claim for regular payments you are obliged to pay staff such as non-discretionary overtime, non-discretionary fees, non-discretionary commission and piece-time payments. Overtime in this context is referred to as ‘past overtime’ in the updated guidance which would suggest that you should use the variable pay calculation (see FAQ above) for those who regularly carry out overtime.