The Programme for Government contains a commitment to introduce new legislation to protect small building subcontractors that have been denied payments from bigger companies. In this regard, my colleague Minister of State Brian Hayes is working with Senator Feargal Quinn to develop the Senator’s private member’s Construction Contracts Bill into a robust piece of legislation. The Bill has passed Second Stage in the Dáil.
The key objective of the Construction Contracts Bill is to ensure that cash flows down the supply chain on all construction contracts. This issue is addressed in the Bill by providing statutory arrangements in relation to payments under construction contracts, including providing for interim payments. The Bill also provides the means for subcontractors to enforce these rights; by suspending their labour and the provision of statutory adjudication.
I understand that Minister Hayes will shortly bring proposals to Government in advance of Committee Stage. This is an important piece of legislation aimed at creating a more level playing field between contractor and subcontractor in the construction sector. Therefore it is essential that these complex issues are properly assessed so as to avoid imposing unnecessary regulatory or cost burdens on parties in dispute, the State or others.