Gordon Matheson, former president of the Scottish and Northern Ireland Plumbing Employers’ Federation (SNIPEF), has been appointed the new chair of the Specialist Engineering Contractors’ (SEC) Group Scotland. Meanwhile, former local chairman of Clydesdale Bank, Ken Lewandowski, has been appointed executive chair.
Mr Matheson, who owns Matheson Plumbing of Falkirk, replaced Eddie Myles of the Building Engineering Services Association (BESA), who has stepped down after seven years as chair of SEC Group Scotland.
“With the Scottish Government currently carrying out an industry consultation on the abuse of retention payments in the construction sector, there has never been a more important time for the role which SEC Group Scotland plays,” Mr Matheson said. “I’m honoured to be one of these appointments, taking on this post at what we hope will be a critical turning point for the industry, with the long-overdue overhaul of the 200-year-old system of retention payments now seemingly on the horizon.”
In a career spanning more than 35 years, Mr Lewandowski has held a number of senior positions in the technology, manufacturing and banking sectors. Currently the chair of three businesses – Wren & Fraser, ShotScope Technology and Emblation Medical – he has been a long-time campaigner for action on late payments.
“It is unacceptable that so many businesses must waste valuable resources chasing money which they are legitimately owed,” Mr Lewandowski ?said. “This has a particularly detrimental effect on SMEs in the construction sector, who are effectively bankrolling the cash flow of larger organisations up the supply chain. It is heartening that the Scottish and UK governments are now considering legislation to end this abuse, and I look forward to helping SEC Group Scotland in its continuing campaign to bring these practices to an end.”
Retention monies are withheld from sub-contractors to ensure that all work is completed properly. The money is meant to be repaid once work is finished and confirmed compliant with industry standards.
SMEs in the industry regularly report late release or non-payment of cash retentions. In addition, research carried out by the UK government suggests that smaller construction firms are haemorrhaging almost £1 million worth of retentions per working day due to upstream insolvencies.
Alan Wilson, national executive officer of SEC Group Scotland and SELECT managing director, thanked outgoing chair Eddie Myles for his leadership and support and welcomed the two new appointments. “We are delighted to welcome Gordon and Ken to their new roles,” he said. “Their experience, integrity and expertise will be invaluable as we continue to press for positive change in the construction industry.”
SEC Group Scotland represents the interest of specialist contractors on a range of industry issues, including the current Scottish Government consultation on retentions, which closes on 25 March 2020.