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Wed 5 Dec 2007 04:00 AM

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Contractual abuse to be tackled

UK-based ductwork firms must tackle the issue of contractual abuses to avoid further damage to the sector according to a national M&E contractor.

UK-based ductwork firms must tackle the issue of contractual abuses to avoid further damage to the sector according to a national M&E contractor. Allan McDougall, managing director of Shepherd Engineering Services and past president of the UK-based Heating, Ventilating and Air Conditioning Association (HVCA), stressed the poor relationships that ductwork firms often have with M&E contractors must be tackled in order to improve future relationships and job opportunities. "I cannot remember the last time we had a dispute over a technical issue. More than 90% of the gripes are commercial - and now is the time to sort these out," he stressed.

McDougall was speaking at a conference entitled
Ductwork Contracting in the 21st Century

organised jointly by the Ductwork Group of the HVCA and the Association of Ductwork Contractors and Allied Services (ADCAS). He stressed that the industry is guaranteed healthy workloads over the next three years thanks to major government investment in schools and hospitals, plus the 2012 London Olympics programme.

Sub-contractors were also urged to ensure that their first tender price was their best price, so they could be included earlier in the design process.

HVCA Ductwork Group chair Barry Pollard added that the ductwork sector is working on profit margins of 0-3%, thereby subsidising profits further up the supply chain. "Most industries have substantially increased their prices, but there is pressure on us to reduce ours still further because the construction industry is selling buildings at less than realistic rates," Pollard insisted. "This financial squeeze from the top is the root cause of most of the aggravation we experience every day of our working lives."

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