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, 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 Committee Stage.
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. These minimum conditions of contract are provided for in Section 3 and the accompanying schedule to the Bill. The Bill also provides the means for subcontractors to enforce these rights; by suspending their labour and the provision of statutory adjudication.
My officials are developing a Code of Practice for the adjudication process. The Deputy will appreciate that the Bill has not passed all stages in both Houses and therefore further work will be required before such a Code could be finalised. This is a complex area and as such 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. In this regard, it is likely that a brief consultation with the relevant stakeholders will be required. This legislation is a priority for Government and whilst every effort is being made to have the legislation and ensuing regulation passed as quickly as possible it is important to put in place, one which is robust and effective.