Delays in the procurement process for public-sector infrastructure projects are causing major concern in the construction industry, MSPs have been warned.
Too many projects are not due to start until later in 2013 because the procurement process is too slow, the chief executive of the Scottish Building Federation (SBF) told Holyrood's Finance Committee.
Giving evidence at a session on draft budget scrutiny, Michael Levack said: "We are in a perilous state as an industry. We don`t have a begging bowl out. We don`t get grant-funding. All we want is work. The simple answer is: get procurement moving."
The past three years have seen almost 600 Scottish construction businesses go bust, with 196 Scottish construction firms bankrupted in the 12 months to June 2012 alone, according to the SBF.
The budget, announced by Finance Secretary John Swinney last week, contains a "stimulus package" for the construction sector worth £40 million this autumn and in the next financial year.
The sector has been hit harder than others during the economic downturn and has been blamed in part for pulling Scotland back into a recession.
Mr Levack said: "We are comfortable that the Scottish Government fully understands the position of the construction sector and seem to be attempting to bring projects to the market. However there are a couple of issues here. How many projects are currently still stuck in the constipated public procurement system?
"We must make sure that all projects that are there on the wishlist, on the infrastructure investment plan - whether they be non-profit distributing or other - are actually coming to the market.
"Currently that isn`t the case. It is very, very slow in terms of projects coming out. In terms of what the Scottish Futures Trust (SFT) has delivered on the ground, it is still very slow.
"We want the momentum to increase there, because only when the shovel actually goes into the ground do we actually protect employment and create apprenticeship opportunities."