We’re not the first to ask the question.
Wales has been struggling with the shortage of commercial general contractors (CGCs) for decades, and a shortage that is not alleviated by the introduction of a new licence, which allows companies to operate without a specific licence, but rather a general licence that covers a range of services.
The licence was introduced in June 2018 and will see CGCs operate in Wales for the first time.
It was introduced to address the demand for more CGC services, and to allow more companies to expand their operations.
However, Wales’ new licence will not provide the same level of access as the previous one, which allowed the same number of companies to register.
It has been widely criticised by industry experts and campaigners for not having the same degree of scope as the existing licence, and the lack of a transition period, meaning companies are not required to register as a new service provider, which means the CGC industry is still not at capacity.
CGC firms have also complained that the new licence does not cover any new areas of expertise, which could be crucial for companies like the Care Quality Commission (CQC) to provide quality services.
CGC firms in Wales have been using a “black list” to find CGC jobs in the past, and CGC providers have also been using that to avoid paying the fee that is required to be registered.
Despite the complaints, the new CGC licence is likely to improve the availability of the Welsh market, particularly for those looking to start new companies.
The Welsh Government has said that the CGM licence will increase the number of firms that can be registered in the country, and will allow more businesses to get started.
However, the Government has acknowledged that it does not have a comprehensive plan for the number and type of CGC licences that will be in place in Wales, as the new licences will not cover the same areas of competence as the current licence.
Wales has a number of requirements that need to be met before companies can begin operating, including an initial assessment, an in-depth evaluation of their services, as well as being subject to an annual licence fee.
The current licence does include a “special access” provision, which will allow a company to operate for up to four years without having to pay the fee, however it will not apply to all services.
The government will also be reviewing the licensing and accreditation processes for CGC and private hire businesses, which has led to some frustration among the CGMs in the industry.
“The new licence is good for business, but the Government needs to consider all aspects of the licence, from the number to the type of services, to ensure the new services are in place for the long term and that the licensing process is robust,” said James Stewart, general secretary of the CGAW.
“The CGM licensing regime needs to be robust, so that Wales is a successful, thriving and competitive market for the CGT and CGM industries.”