Matthew McCarrick, board member of the Construction Alliance North East (CAN) claims that improved planning systems could go a long way toward protecting the region’s SMEs, who could become vulnerable to falling into administration.
CAN is a network of regional construction and engineering companies representing more than 500 member companies
Its call for talks follows publication of a report from the Federation of Master Builders which found that the current planning system is proving to be a major obstacle for SME businesses across the country.
“In the last 12 months, we have seen a 22% rise in administrations in the construction industry, with businesses like Tolent, Metnor Construction and Howard Russell Construction just a few businesses to fold in the northeast,” said McCarrick.
While planning delays alone will not drive businesses into administration, the knock-on impact on funding opportunities to take projects from inception to construction can be severely impacted, said McCarrick.
He said that an increasing number of its members are reporting difficulties caused by planning delays, not only directly with contractors but also businesses across the wider built environment landscape.
“Unfortunately, a reliance on getting planning decisions over the line means contractors have their hands tied by what appears to be a deterioratingly poor service but it can put projects back by several months without knowing when an additional delay might be thrown into the mix without notice.”
CAN chairman Ken Parkin added: “Far too often we are seeing SME firms in the north of England who get overlooked for projects, instead missing out to national rivals. When they do actually get an opportunity to tender and win projects it’s therefore important that planning timeframes and deadlines are met.
“There are widespread benefits of employing SME contractors. Not only do they bring local knowledge and better value for money, but the money spent contributes back directly to the regional economy.