NICK SANGWIN became national chair of the National Federation of Builders (NFB) on Thursday 13 June 2019 at the NFB’s annual general meeting, which was followed by a celebratory gala dinner.
Construction industry professionals and guests gathered at The Deep in Hull for an evening of dinner, entertainment, and networking.
The NFB’s AGM, which took place earlier in the afternoon, saw the outgoing NFB Chair Neil Walters, commercial director of Orbit Homes, hand the ceremonial chains of office over to Nick and mark the beginning of his twelve-month term.
Speaking at the event, Nick said: “The industry is changing, as it always is. This time, there is a very real sense that the balance of power is shifting away from the 1%. One of the most gratifying aspects of that change is that the NFB is there, pushing. Whether it is on prompt payment, contract risk, access to contracts, we are there.
“This change, however, is coming. Most of the industry is behind the change. The Government wants the change to happen. The only ones who are stalling are those who benefit from things staying the same. The patience for poor payers is running thin. The patience for poor payers with weak balance sheets that use their supply chain as a cheap source of finance is wearing thinner. People are more openly talking about which companies are on shaky financial ground and are not worth the risk. This is the type of cultural change that will be lasting because legislation can only go so far.
“During my time in post, I will build on the good work the outgoing national chair, Neil Walters, has done on highlighting prompt payment with a refreshing robustness and honesty that took many by surprise. Payment delays have an effect on cash flow, investment in training, recruitment and businesses as well as mental health. It also makes the industry less attractive to the young and to potential career switchers who, secure in a job, will have to try hard to justify moving to an industry with a reputation for poor payment.
“Secondly, we are about to launch the NFB Major Contractors Group. Given the number of large contractors in the NFB’s membership, this is causing many to look at the NFB differently. It will give us an opportunity to show that there is a better way of paying, of building supply chains and of giving back to our communities.”