Local authorities hear how PBAs can improve construction payment practices

Rudi Klein
Rudi Klein

Representatives from over half of the councils in Scotland attended a seminar in Stirling to hear how project bank accounts (PBAs) can overhaul payment practices in construction procurement.

There is a statutory obligation on all public bodies in Scotland with large construction spends to ensure that supply chain firms are paid within 30 days.

Speaking on behalf of the Scottish Government, Colin Judge encouraged the local authority representatives to consider setting up PBAs which enable all those delivering construction works to receive their payments directly from one bank account.

He explained that payments do not, then, have to pass through the different layers of the supply chain (with the result that many SMEs are waiting over 60 days to get paid). PBAs enable small firms to receive payments regularly with protection from any insolvencies at the top of the supply chain, he added.

Hilary Cameron from Transport Scotland, which piloted one of the first PBAs in Scotland, highlighted that the trial use of a PBA had demonstrated that it was feasible for payment to PBA beneficiaries to take place well within the 30 day statutory payment.

Professor Rudi Klein, from the Specialist Engineering Contractors’ Group (SEC Group), said that PBAs were the most effective method for ensuring that all in the supply chain were paid. He added that every SME in Scotland would support those public bodies setting up PBAs.

Also during the seminar, Ann O’Connell, chair of the drafting committee of the Scottish Building Contract Committee (SBCC), explained the SBCC’s support of PBAs and that standard PBA documentation was available from the Committee.

Finally, Scott Culbertson from The Royal Bank of Scotland gave an overview of how RBS is able to support public bodies in setting up PBAs.

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