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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

Related FAQs

How do you ensure clinical governance around MHFAs?

MHFAs are not qualified mental health medical professionals and they should not be diagnosing or giving medical advice, however, their training will equip them to provide initial support to those experiencing symptoms of mental ill health, and to signpost to further professional help when needed. The MHFA training makes the boundaries of the MHFA role very clear and there should be clearly defined role specifications, procedures and support pathways in place to ensure that individuals are referred on appropriately. There should be peer support in place for MHFAs and a system in place to ensure no individual or individuals are overloaded.

What is the new process for assessing status under IR35?

The end user client will be responsible for assessing if the contractor is employed or self-employed for tax purposes. It is required to take reasonable care in carrying out the assessments.

When an assessment is carried out the outcome must be confirmed to the contractor with accompanying reasons in a Status Determination Statement (SDS). This SDS must be provided to the contractor before making payment to them. It must also be provided to the agency if there is one in the chain (more on this later).

The end user client must have a dispute resolution procedure to enable to the contractor or agency to appeal the assessment outcome.

What is the NICE guidance around clinical decision-making?
  • Be alert to the fact that guidance on treating Covid-19 may change with emerging knowledge/scientific data and this may require subsequent modifications to treatment.
  • Critical care staff should support healthcare professionals who do not routinely work in critical care but need to do so.
What is the current guidance for court of protection hearings?

The current guidance issued by Mr Justice Hayden confirms that remote hearings may be conducted using the following facilities and that this will be the default position until further direction:

  • By way of an email exchange between the court and the parties;
  • By way of telephone using conference calling facilities;
  • By way of the court’s video-link system, if available;
  • The use of the Skype for Business App installed on judicial laptops;
  • Any other appropriate means of remote communication, for example BT MeetMe, Zoom or FaceTime.
What happens if someone is asked to restrict their duties but, despite acknowledging the risks to their health involved, they say that they want to continue to work on the front line?

As their employer, you have an overriding duty to provide a safe system of work. The Trust would not be able to run a defence to say that an employee “waived their rights” and chose to continue to work. Provided the decision around restricting duties has been carefully thought out, a full risk assessment undertaken and the employee has been truly consulted about the impact on them, then the decision taken will be a reasonable management instruction. Failing to follow that reasonable management instruction could amount to a disciplinary offence.