Sarno (Atecap): We Want a Clean And Transparent Market

Legality is an essential condition for recovery
Atecap, with about 300 member companies, is the reference national association in the reinforced concrete value chain. The market situation in the construction sector is certainly not one of the best, yet President Silvio Sarno rejects the logic of complaint to launch an important message to association members, the market as a whole and world of politics: “The construction industry can make a vital contribution to getting out of the crisis: it has always been an anti-cyclic tool for combating periods of recession in the economy. And the concrete sector represented by Atecap plays a central role”
Cresme data indicate that production of pre-packed concrete fell by 1.8% in 2007, 8% in 2008, 15.6% in 2009 and about 6.9% last year. “Our companies are having a hard time being paid,” Sarno added, “especially for public works because our clients in turn do not receive payments from public administrations. And here, it must be absolutely emphasised that the time has come for Italy to apply the European directive covering payment times for supplies.”
Recently, the Minister for the Interior, Roberto Maroni, mentioned that the construction sector is more exposed than others to criminal infiltration. Sarno holds firm on this topic and explains: “A harsh comment on our category which I cannot ignore in that certain operators who can hardly be called entrepreneurs mean that an entire sector is considered at risk. As an association, we are aware that the concrete sector has a number of critical aspects in terms of legality and safety and this is why we are determined to make efforts towards against all forms of irregular competition.”
These efforts are by no means limited to mere words but have already been converted into effective action: “We have opened several fronts: special mention must be made of the agreement with General Command of the Financial Police with which we have launched technical-operative collaboration intended to ensure vigilance on our market to identify unfair practices. To this end, we will support the training activity carried out by the Higher Council of Public Works for the financial police covering the dispositions governing production, transport and use of pre-packed concrete. In this way, the Financial Police will be able to perform effective controls.” Atecap is keen to extend such collaboration to other police forces, starting with the Carabinieri Environmental Protection Command and the Higher Council of Public Works in their respective fields of competence. “Naturally, we would also like to collaborate with the Ministry of the Interior,” Sarno went on; “our purpose is to promote legality and fair competition to ensure that works are safe for all concerned.”
Atecap has also promoted the institution of a full-scale “Concrete and Reinforced Concrete Observatory” managed by an institutional subject with the contribution of all the public and private parties involved in the value chain. “The Observatory is an effective meeting point between the entrepreneurial world, public administration and the authorities in charge of controls,” Sarno added, “and I would like to say something more as regards these controls. More inspections on sites are needed to verify respect of standards and safety, as well as sanctions that for certain unfair practices are currently not envisaged or negligible. Sanctions are not envisaged against the producer or site director, for example, if technical standards for constructions are not observed. This means that unfair practices are common or that suppliers themselves take acceptance samples; it is explicitly defined that this task must be performed by Site Direction. Such attitudes, together with the non-observance of safety regulations, are not perceived by unfair and/or improvised operators as full-scale infringements of the rules which equally generate unfair competition as regards entrepreneurs who observe the law. It must also be clearly stated that such practices can compromise the safety of such works and their relative durability.
Atecap would like to see on the market only companies that make product quality, plant qualification and respect for standards the cardinal points of their activity. “This is absolutely true,” Sarno summed up, “and in this direction we have signed strategic alliances with public authorities such as the Higher Council of Public Works, as well as with the other associations in the reinforced concrete and constructions value chain, and by playing an active role in the Federbeton and Federcostruzioni Federations of Confindustria.”
Source:  Samoter Press Room