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October 6, 2023

Stricter Payment Reporting Laws: A Closer Look at the New Retention Records Requirements

Stricter Payment Reporting Laws: A Closer Look at the New Retention Records Requirements


In a significant move to bolster corporate payment transparency, the UK Government is reinforcing contractor payment reporting laws, introducing stringent measures that include reporting retention records in six-monthly returns. This development aims to bring about a more comprehensive understanding of payment practices within the construction industry, offering insights into areas such as retention payment timelines, dispute resolution, and invoice values, including those paid late.

Enhanced Transparency Measures

The updated payment reporting laws come with additional provisions that promise to provide a clearer picture of payment practices. One notable addition is a new value metric, allowing businesses to assess the value of invoices, with a specific focus on late payments. Furthermore, a disputed invoices metric will shed light on the frequency and nature of payment disputes, offering a more nuanced understanding of the challenges faced within the industry.

Key Elements of the New Regime

The forthcoming regime is poised to introduce several key metrics that will be crucial in evaluating payment performance and fostering transparency. These metrics include:

  • Average Days for Retention Payments: The average number of days taken to make retention payments after practical completion and the end of the contractual defects liability period.
  • Retention Payment Timeliness: Percentage of retention payments made within specific periods (30 days or fewer, 31-60 days, 61 days or longer).
  • Payment Period Adherence: Percentage of retention payments due within the reporting period that were not paid within the agreed payment period.
  • Retention Value Analysis: Average value of retention held per construction contract as a percentage of the total contract value.

Implications for the Construction Industry

These new reporting requirements are poised to have a profound impact on the construction industry, fostering greater accountability and transparency in payment practices. By delving into the intricate details of retention payments and invoice values, the industry can identify areas for improvement and work towards more efficient and equitable payment processes.


As the UK Government fortifies payment reporting laws with a focus on retention records, the construction industry is entering a new era of transparency. These measures not only provide a comprehensive understanding of payment practices but also lay the foundation for improved industry standards. The introduction of specific metrics underscores the commitment to creating a fair and accountable payment ecosystem within the construction sector. It will be interesting to observe how these changes shape the industry landscape in the coming months and contribute to a more robust and transparent construction payment system.

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