Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Questions (21)

Jonathan O'Brien

Question:

21. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform when the code of practice for adjudication under the Construction Contracts Bill will be published. [42521/13]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

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 worked closely with Senator Feargal Quinn to develop the Senator's private members' Construction Contracts Bill into a robust piece of legislation. I believe that there is considerable support both inside and outside the Dáil for these reforms. The Act, which is subject to a Commencement Order, to allow for the development of a comprehensive code of practice was signed into law on the 29 July 2013.

The key objective of the Construction Contracts Act is to ensure that cash flows down the supply chain on all construction contracts. This issue is addressed in the Act by providing statutory arrangements in relation to payments under construction contracts, including providing for interim payments. This will reduce the subcontractor's exposure to non-payment. The Bill also provides the means for subcontractors to enforce these rights, by suspending their labour and by introducing a new mechanism for the swift resolution of payment disputes through a process of adjudication.

This is an important piece of legislation aimed at creating a more level playing field between contractor and subcontractor in the construction sector. This legislation is a priority for Government. In this regard, my officials are currently working on the code of practice that will deliver a timely and cost effective adjudication procedure and to give effect to the legislation.