That is the warning from Stepnell managing director Mark Wakeford who compared large construction companies to “slow moving tankers”.
Wakeford said that major contractors don’t have the speed and flexibility of SMEs to react to changing market conditions.
And he warned that if they don’t change their relationships with subcontractors then some of the industry’s biggest players face “extinction”.
Wakeford said: “Main contractors must seek out talented as well as visionary supply teams within the SME sector with innovative products, services and processes to support them through the industry’s current crisis.
“These suppliers too need to find competent and forward-thinking partners who can support and develop their product offering in the current business climate.
“With energy and material costs up, confidence down and late payments and lending conditions getting worse, it’s hard to see how much of the industry will survive if main contractors, subcontractors and suppliers fail to play to their strengths.
“Main contractors need to be partnering with innovative supply teams who can provide not just the services required but project, product and process innovations which will make contracts more profitable, deliver higher quality cost-efficient buildings, minimise risk and provide the client with a better and more valuable construction service.
“Main contractors who employ the best supply chains will be able to stay ahead of the market.
“They will have the ability to identify and offer products and services clients want now and in the future, as well as spot new market opportunities and gaps in client service provision.”