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Addicted to cashflow

Updated: Oct 3, 2023

It is like oxygen to lungs or fire that burns brightly

On the 25th subbies scribe their prayers politely

The three quarters done will be 80 on the run

at the end of the month, guessing rightly

The contractor will predict 83, if he is quick

To exploit the consultant late on the 5th

Who is too busy to measure all his projects at once

appears the 3% was done, last month in a lick

The Ides appear

the subbies fate is near

What will he be paid

for labour dear?

The contractor can

only see 78

that’s 2 less

than the subbies best guess

On well he’s too busy delivering

to count more than once a month

he’ll take it,

It’s better than half a lunch

So, the contractor pockets

5% in one month

But the deception backfires

If this party trick retires


what will he do?


a hunch

Give it back slowly

The slower the better

To ease the pain of withdrawal

Is this cash or cocaine in a letter?

The best QS magic

all tricks in a row

make project profit appear

100% in cashflow

When only a quarter

of the project is built

Like spinning plates

on a stick with a tilt

From then to the end

it’s a balancing act

To distribute the drug

between client and the bank

The subbies are ok

We’ve got retentions on them

They have to come back

Like live baiting on the Thames

Start with front end loading

Shave the claims as you go

Submit variations

Like angels in the snow

Pass the subbies VO calcs

conservatively high

To the consultant asleep

Or it will never get by

Playing both ends to the middle

Where the contractor keeps

What either does not see

or miss, unless they peep

Retentions once protected

Worker’s wages



but like a drug

it had flavour

to the contracting


When the liens act was repealed

And with no justification

Liens Retentions became

Just retentions the same

Let the show go on

Until 2017

When trust appeared

To make contractors lean

Now 3 points of cashflow

Are slowly withdrawn

Over 20 or so

Monthly dawns

Then we watched

them tumble


Dom – in - os




On the list goes…

But some retentions now return

in judgemental trepidation

For directors’ fear a lawsuit

in their next liquidation

By Matthew Ensoll.

Life Member NZIQS. Reg.QS.

Editor The New Zealand Building Economist.



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