A message to you from Rudi
Industry champion Professor Rudi Klein joins SELECT as a consultant
First, let me say that I am delighted to be working for SELECT. Over some 30 years I have got to know many of its Members and have made long and lasting friendships.
Over that period SELECT has emerged as the leading trade body in Scotland’s construction industry and its views are regularly sought by government and other industry bodies.
It was no accident that under the leadership of Managing Director Alan Wilson, so many professional and trade bodies came together as the CICV Forum to support the industry through the COVID-19 crisis.
So how can I help SELECT continue this excellent work and assist you, its Members, in some of the many issues you face every day?
Supporting the regulation crusade
One of my tasks will be to support the pioneering work carried out by SELECT in seeking statutory registration of qualified electricians. This has been an all-consuming campaign for SELECT which is now bearing fruit.
The 2019 review by consultant Pye Tait of the case for registration concluded that a package of measures was necessary. These included protection of title, licensing of firms and individual registration based on the Scottish Joint Industry Board (SJIB) schemes. Given that licensing and registration schemes exist in many other jurisdictions, such as in most US states, this conclusion was entirely appropriate.
But there is now an added factor – the Building Safety Bill. This Bill is being introduced in the current session of the Westminster Parliament and is the UK’s response to the Grenfell tragedy.
The centrepiece of the Bill is the appointment of a building safety regulator to oversee measures to enhance safety in high-rise buildings. Amongst these will be improving the capabilities and competencies of trades people involved in the construction process.
A successful outcome to SELECT’s campaign for regulation of the electrical industry in Scotland will help complement the aims of the Building Safety Bill.
I therefore intend to devote some of my time to helping develop and influence the appropriate regulatory framework, which is the subject of a current consultation.
One of my tasks will be to support the pioneering work carried out by SELECT in seeking statutory registration of qualified electricians
Pushing for retentions reform
I’ve campaigned for many years to reform the cash retentions system, writing many articles on the subject in CABLEtalk and encouraging Members to write to their MP and MSP to agree the case for reform. Finally we seem to be making some progress.
At the end of last year, another Pye Tait review, commissioned by the Scottish Government, recommended that retention monies should be ring-fenced in a retention deposit scheme, which has been the focus of the campaign run by SELECT and other trade bodies over recent years.
If retentions are protected from those that use and abuse them, the likelihood is that they will fall out of fashion. The Pye Tait report stated that the overwhelming majority of clients and Tier 1 contractors use retentions as working capital – no surprise there!
The Scottish Government decided to consult the industry on reform of the practice, with the consultation closing last May and the consensus being that there should be a statutory retention deposit scheme.
The Scottish Government has now decided to set up a working group to agree on the way forward and I will be briefing our representative on that group and working with Alan Wilson to keep the pressure on for legislation.
Little will happen before the May elections but we must be prepared to lobby prospective candidates to support a statutory retention deposit scheme.
Offering vital legal support
As a visiting university professor of construction law, I am keen to help improve Members’ understanding of construction contracts.
To that end, I’ll be creating short podcasts on some of the issues faced by Member firms when taking on new contracts. Watch this space!
Unfortunately, I won’t be able to deal with individual legal queries, which can be submitted to the MacRoberts hotline on 0141 303 1111, but I would welcome any ideas on the type of issues which arise frequently and cause difficulties for firms. These ideas can be addressed to Iain Mason, Director of Membership and Communications.
Alongside my SELECT colleagues, I look forward to playing a part in helping to improve the industry in Scotland. In the meantime let’s throw everything at getting positive outcomes to the long-standing problem of retentions and to the campaign for regulating the electrical industry.
Got a question for Rudi?
If you have a query that you would like Rudi to help with, please email firstname.lastname@example.org