Architect failed to pay 57% of invoices on time

BDP failed to pay more than half its invoices within agreed timescales this year, according to payment data it supplied to the government.

The architect took an average 32 days to pay bills in the six months to the end of June – although this was an improvement on the previous six months, by four days.

BDP paid 70% of invoices within 30 days and 90% within 60 days, according to the six-monthly data it is required to file as a firm with more than 250 staff. Both those statistics were also slightly improved.

But it admitted to failing to pay 57% of its invoices within the terms agreed with suppliers, a notable deterioration from the 45% it achieved last year.

Atkins took 36 days on average to pay and Aecom 38. Both failed to pay their invoices within agreed terms 43% of the time.

Stantec UK, part of the Canadian giant, had the slowest average payment time, at 48 days, and failed to pay within agreed timescales just over half the time. It only paid 80% of invoices within 60 days, while Sweco UK – part of the Swedish multi-disciplinary group – managed to do that 95% of the time.

Foster & Partners, the only practice on the list specialising purely in architecture, has missed its filing deadline by two months. But last year it took an average of 23 days to pay invoices, a deterioration on the previous period.

Companies whose size obliges them to supply the six-monthly reports, had until yesterday to file details of how long they took to pay invoices as part of the government’s Prompt Payment Code, set up in 2016 to encourage firms to pay their suppliers on time and within the contracted terms.

The government has repeatedly threatened to freeze companies from new public contracts, starting next month, unless they have paid 95% of all invoices within 60 days in their two previous six-month reporting periods.

Among the worst-performing contractors for paying 95% of invoices within 60 days were Galliford Try and Kier.

And two of the worst-performing housebuilders were Avant Homes and Telford Homes, who both took seven days longer to pay than the last time they reported.

BD has contacted BDP and Foster & Partners.

Prompt payment
ArchitectReporting dateAverage days% within 30 days% within 60 daysNot paid within agreed termsAverage days increase/decreasePrevious Reporting dateAverage days% within 30 days% within 60 daysNot paid within agreed termsAverage days increase/decrease
BDP 18/07/2019 32 70% 90% 57% -4 28/01/2019 36 66% 89% 45% 5
Foster & Partners 31/05/2019           30/11/2018 23 77% 94% 23% 4
Atkins 22/07/2019 36 64% 90% 43% 1 18/01/2019 35 67% 89% 44% -1
Aecom Ltd 30/04/2019 38 62% 95% 43% 0 31/10/2018 38 58% 91% 44% -2
Sweco UK Ltd 30/07/2019 32 65% 95% 38%   n/a          
Stantec UK Ltd 15/07/2019 48 30% 80% 52% -5 11/01/2019 53 39% 80% 40% -5