It now appears that the demolition industry will not know the fate of those embroiled in a three-year investigation into alleged collusion until this summer at the earliest. But the effects are already being felt.
The Sword of Damocles that has hovered over the demolition industry’s exposed neck for the past three years looks set to hover just a little longer; before dealing what — for some — could prove to be a fatal blow.
On Thursday last week, the Competition and Markets Authority confirmed that its investigation — which many expected to conclude in March — will now run until at least July
The assumption among many in the demolition fraternity is that this will allow the CMA to dig just a little deeper; to cast its net just a little wider.
I fully appreciate the need to be thorough. It would be a travesty if any alleged collusion or price fixing were only partially exposed. But we must surely now be at the point where the investigation is causing widespread issues both within the demolition industry and beyond.
Those demolition companies that have been the subject of an investigation must be dreading each and every knock at the door; each and every phone call; each and every email.
Even those demolition companies with a squeaky-clean track record must eye the arrival of each besuited visitor to their head office with suspicion and fear.
Equipment rental companies must surely now be nervous about the prospect of getting paid should their demolition industry customers be hit with a massive fine.
Clients and local authorities will surely be reluctant to award new contracts and accept new tender bids, lest they find themselves contractually linked to a company that could be found guilty of collusion in a matter of a few weeks.
Trade associations that count the investigated among their membership will be seeking to protect themselves from the fallout. Allied organisations are already looking to distance themselves for fear of being splashed when the inevitable shit-storm arrives.
Yet for all those concerns, the wait goes on. And it could go on for quite some time yet.
Decisions and updates were expected in October 2019, June 2020, December 2020, February 2021, December 2021 and March 2022.
Each of those dates passed without resolution. July this year could do likewise.
And, all the while, the industry watches and waits.
Mark Anthony is the founder of DemolitionNews.com and the host of The Break Fast Show.