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As Australia’s construction industry faces an opportunity of a lifetime by way of record investment, cost inflation is simultaneously climbing across all categories, and lost time from floods and COVID has squeezed already tight margins.

However, the abundance of work means the industry has a moment to recalibrate old ways of working, not least how contracts between clients and contractors are drawn-up, how risk is allocated and managed upstream and downstream, and to reassess cultural standards and priorities. 

In the following three part series, Alison Mirams, CEO of Roberts Co, sits down with Guy Saxelby, CEO & Co-founder at Earlytrade for a fireside chat centred around solutions that are in the market now and the consequences of inaction.

Part 1: Collaborative contracting solutions

Alison and Guy discuss solutions to legacy construction contracting issues that threaten the industry’s future. They focus on a range of solutions, including Early Contractor Involvement (ECI), early site access and involvement for contractors, pegging trades to commodity prices, and ‘The Spirit of the Deal’, a simple and effective approach used by Roberts Co.

Part 2: War Stories from the Probuild acquisition

Alison provides a glimpse behind the scenes of the Roberts Co acquisition of the Probuild Victoria projects. Guy and Alison then discuss how Probuild’s collapse serves as a case study for the perils of portfolio-based risk profiles, the benefits of keeping construction VAs operational, lawyers pushing uncapped liability on contractors, the role of insurance, and client perceptions of risk.

Part 3: Supply chain liquidity and mental health

Alison and Guy discuss supply chain liquidity and its links to cash flow, construction business insolvencies, subcontractor health, and mum & dad operators in the supply chain. As well as covering liquidity’s importance for projects, the pair talk about links to mental health and the difference in industry expectations around safety versus health.

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