Business Models and Fair Practices

Introduction from CLC Workstream Lead

Sustainable and productive supply chains are critical for the success of our industry.  This workstream is therefore focussed on improving collaboration within supply chains in order to improve project outcomes and profitability.

In the longer term we believe the industry’s business model needs to change.  However, to build towards that, and to address current fundamental issues, the focus of this workstream is on improving the fairness of commercial practices. This includes elimination of onerous contractual clauses, improving payment practices, including retentions, and driving better procurement approaches, particularly price evaluation.

Much good work has been done to date by people within the industry and more is due to follow.

Steve Bratt – Group Chief Executive Officer, Electrical and  Contractors’ Association  /  Business Models and Fair Practices Workstream Lead 

Scope and Mission

To identify, support and develop interventions that will lead to successful and sustainable supply chain relationships and improved project outcomes. Including the development of collaborative contracts, fair payment practices, efficient and value-based procurement processes and the adoption of e-commerce.


  • Onerous Contract Clauses: Identify and promote the exclusion of unfair contractual clauses from contracts.
  • Procurement: Develop and promote best practice procurement guide.
  • Payment Improvement: Develop and implement initiatives for wider coverage and greater transparency on payment performance including digitalisation, payment reporting and the wider legislative landscape.
  • Retentions: Identify and promote sustainable solutions for the practice of cash retentions.

Onerous Clauses

The CLC has the ability to demonstrate leadership to: clients, consultants, contractors, supply chain and suppliers and publicise what is common ground for fair and unfair contractual practices.

The Next Generation Delivery: Fair Practices: Contracts Group is seeking to develop a collaborative view from industry to agree: a) what is fair, in doing so provide b) a public barometer for what is unfair, and c) allow SMEs to access a range of support on approaches to contractual good practice.

In the longer term, we will be seeking to work with the wider industry to consider existing contract forms and the potential development of collaborative approaches to support the Construction Playbook, Modern Methods of Construction (MMC), whole-life and Value Toolkit etc.

As a first step, we have created this resource section tool to identify sectoral approaches to best practice with regard to fair risk apportionment. The aim is to develop an active and comprehensive industry-wide resource tool for the benefit of the whole industry.

There are a number of great guides already available across our industry on what should and should not be included and they can be found at the links below.

This page and its contents are live. They will be regularly updated with examples of good practice. If you have any recommendations for this resource page, please contact the CLC at



Work is ongoing to identify common issues with evaluation in the built environment and development of a best practice procurement guide, setting out solutions to common procurement issues arising for clients and bidders, potential unintended consequences, and simple solutions with a focus on price evaluation.

Further information will be provided shortly.


Prompt and fair payment within the construction industry has long been a concern, and the payment landscape remains fractured. Business model fragility, adversarial contractual practices and project and payment risk aversion can lead to significant cash flow challenges for all within the supply chain.  

The CLC seeks to support the development of strong and resilient supply chains within the sector, and is committed to driving better behaviour, through ensuring payment performance is considered as a core part of procurement decision making by both public and private sector clients. The Council continues to work closely with the Government on this issue, including on the development of new policies and other initiatives.

Over the last twenty years, steps have been taken to deter negative behaviours, improve transparency, and penalise those who continue to break the rules via a mixture of legislative, policy and voluntary initiatives.

In November 2023, the Government published the Prompt Payment and Cash Flow Review. This followed a period of consultation to which the CLC contributed towards driving reform. The Review scrutinised existing prompt payment policy and set out actions that government will take forward to improve payment times across the UK. 

It focuses on 4 key areas to drive improvement:

           ·  Increasing transparency;

           · A more active enforcement approach;

           · Better access to information; and

           · Instilling a stronger payment culture.

A number of general fair payment requirements and initiatives for both public and private sector contracts have been introduced and many of these apply to
construction. There are also a number of construction specific measures.

 A summary of resources including legislation is provided is here.


  • Under Construction

Further Useful Resources