Lee Drury nominated for European Award

Lee Drury of Drury Joinery Services has been has been selected for the European Alliance for Apprenticeships Award 2017.

Our congratulations to Lee for being one of just 5 nominees from across the European Union. This recognises the fantastic work that Lee has done in employing, training and developing apprentices over the last 20 years.

Lee will find out whether he has won on the 24th November

 

UK Constructruction enters recession

UK construction enters recession amid warning of “biggest financial crisis in 30 years”

 

The UK construction industry is officially in recession now having contracted for the second quarter in row according to the latest figures from the country’s Office of National Statistics (ONS).

The data was released as the head of an influential construction supply chain body warned of the “biggest financial crisis in 30 years” as subcontractors face possible non-payment by struggling major contractors such as Carillion and Interserve.

Construction output decreased by 0.7% during the third quarter of 2017 (July to September), following a fall of 0.5% from April to June, the ONS revealed last week.

The dip occurred against the backdrop of better-than-expected gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 0.4% in the UK economy at large during the third quarter.

ONS data earlier this month for the sector for the three months to August showed construction output slipped by 0.8% compared with the previous quarter, driven by declines in new work and repair as well as maintenance activity.

Also last week came a stark warning about subcontractors getting ensnared in the cash crises affecting big firms such as Carillion and Interserve.

Chief executive of the Specialist Engineering Contractors (SEC) Group, Rudi Klein, told industry magazine Building that the pair’s troubles mean the industry is “facing possibly the biggest financial crisis I have seen in 30 years”.

He said subcontractors should be on high alert. “I would advise them to be looking out for signs such as slow payment processes and an increase in contra charges,” he said.

The UK’s second-largest contractor Carillion last month revealed pretax losses of £1.15bn ($1.5bn) in the first half of 2017. That followed the shock revelation in July that an £845m hole had opened in its finances as it made provisions to cover a suite of problem contracts.

Another major contractor, Interserve, dropped a bombshell earlier this month when it warned it may breach its banking covenants for the year after admitting it will have to lay aside nearly £200m in provisions for a string of problem energy-from-waste jobs.

The highly fragmented nature of the UK construction industry in which main contractors subcontract most work to specialists means the supply chain is vulnerable when the main contractors run into difficulty.

“My advice to them would be to chase every penny at the earliest convenience and make sure payments are made on time,” Rudi Klein said. “In a situation like this, if you are waiting 120 days for a contractor to pay you, then you could end up in dire straits.”

Klein also complained that not enough was being done to fix the problems at Carillion and Interserve. “The industry finds itself in an extremely unhealthy place. There appears to be a lack of leadership around how it can address this crisis”

Image: Construction output decreased by 0.7% during the third quarter of 2017 (July to September), following a fall of 0.5% from April to June, the ONS revealed (ONS)

 

High rise retirement living in Sherwood

Willmott Dixon has landed an £11m contract from Nottingham City Homes and Nottingham City Council to build a high-rise retirement village in Sherwood.

WD Sherwood

Winwood Heights will see the company’s housing specialists create 224 homes for Nottingham people over 55.

Work will involve construction of a new extra care apartment facility and modernising two 15-storey tower blocks.

The company will build a new 44 home extra care scheme in between the two existing blocks allowing resident to live independently, but provide flexible care as their needs increase over time.

Nick Murphy, Chief Executive of Nottingham City Homes, said that the transformation of the tower blocks in Sherwood will offer huge benefits to our existing tenants and to many more older residents in the future, thanks to the construction of the extra care apartments and facilities. It will offer flexible care and support to enable older residents to continue to live independently.

Simon Leadbeater, managing director at Willmott Dixon responsible for housing in the Midlands, said: As one of the UK’s largest builders of retirement accommodation, with a long established presence in Nottingham, we are delighted to be involved in creating Winwood Heights. Our local team is looking forward to delivering modern new homes that will benefit thousands of people in Nottingham for many generations.

 

Have you voted on CITB’s future

Construction News has likened the current consensus vote on the CITB’s future to the EU referendum.

A binary vote with two distinct camps: those wanting to maintain the status quo, or a reformed status quo, against those who wanted to break away from the way things had been done for decades.

Yet there is one area that the two votes so far differ.

When the UK went to the polls last year, 72 per cent of registered voters turned out, the highest since the 1992 general election.

So far the turnout for the CITB consensus hasn’t garnered the same level of response.

Build UK has told Construction News responses to its survey, which opened on 4 July, have so far fallen short of expectations. This might be due to the time of year  it’s holiday season after all.

But the group, which represents the UK’s biggest construction firms and specialists, is keen for its members to engage.

This has been supported by a number of other consensus bodies, with the National Federation of Demolition Contractors (NFDC), the Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA), the Federation of Master Builders (FMB), the British Woodworking Federation and Finishes and Interiors Federation all calling on their members to get involved and have their say on the CITB’s future.

NFDC chief executive Howard Button said it was essential the vote carried proper industry representation. And CECA chief executive Alasdair Reisner emphasised the importance of all firms taking the opportunity to have their say.

The choice voters will be given is on whether to scrap the levy, thereby ending the CITB.

Or, the alternative: pay a reduced levy of 0.35 per cent on PAYE employees.

But the window to vote is getting smaller.

Build UK’s consensus window will close on 4 September. CECA, meanwhile, is engaging with members and will hand responses to the CITB next month.

The Home Builders Federation will also be sending out letters to members for responses in the coming weeks.

The NFDC will launch a postal vote in the first week of September, while the Finishes and Interiors Federation opens voting for members on the 4 September for a three-week period.

The CITB is also currently carrying out the surveying of 6,000 non-federation affiliated firms to have their say, with this process coming to a close next month.

To CITB, or not to CITB: that is the question, but the industry seemingly needs a lot more answers.

If you have a view on the CITB, good or bad, it is imperative you voice it and cast your vote.

The clock is ticking, make sure that you vote!

Construction Challenge 4th July 2017

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Over 50 year 9 and year 10 students from Arnold Hill Academy and Carlton-le-Willows Academy took part in the Construction Challenge held on Tuesday 4th July 2017 at Arnold Hill, undertaking a range of “taster” sessions in bricklaying, carpentry and painting and decorating tasks during the morning then taking part in the “Challenge” in their chosen trades in the afternoon.

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Michael Shepherd of Carlton-le-Willows was selected as the overall winner for the quality of his Painting and Decorating in the “Challenge” and his overall performance in the morning “taster” sessions. He received a trophy and a £25 tools voucher from Robert Samson, Chair of Frank Key Group

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Ethan Gatherar of Carlton-le-Willows was chosen as the Bricklaying winner, and received a trophy and a £25 tools voucher

Dalton Carwood of Arnold Hill was chosen as the Carpentry winner, and received a trophy and a £25 tools voucher

Olivia Hopkin of Arnold Hill was chosen as the Painting and Decorating winner, and received a trophy and a £25 tools voucher

Katie Sharpe, Isaac Thorne and Thomas Hankin of Arnold Hill and Charlie Mitchell and Billy Mitchell of Carlton-le-Willows were commended for their overall performance during the Construction Challenge. They all received a tool prize from Robert Samsom.

Many thanks to everyone who supported the event; Adam Kelly, Terry Brickles, Neil Walker, Steve Wilson, Dave Singh, Richard Walker and Robert Samson.

Nottingham Regeneration updates

New homes and a new old link along Arkwright Walk

Regeneration continues along Arkwright Walk after a historic through route was re-established in the area. Arkwright Walk follows the course of the old Arkwright Street, closed as a through route during the 1970s. This was previously blocked by a garden, and the Council has worked with Crocus Fields children’s centre to change the boundaries and create a new through route. This opened in February and has quickly become popular, reconnecting the city centre and station to Trent Bridge in the south.

The Council has cleared a number of sites along Arkwright Walk in preparation for the delivery of new homes for sale which will enhance this new route and provide homes to suit a range of different needs.  The Council is working with developers Keepmoat Homes to try to bring this forward in the near future.

New BioCity Discovery building opens its doors

You might have seen the new BioCity Discovery building – especially if passing it at night. That’s because of ‘Corona,’ a brise soleil on the front of the building linked to 2 NASA satellites which monitor the surface of the sun for solar flare activity. This energy is then expressed through an ever changing fibre optic lighting system which reflects the sun’s activity in real time on the facade of the building. The colours will evolve and transform over a 26 ½ day period – the time it takes the sun to rotate on its axis.

The sculpture, created by world renowned and Nottingham based artist Wolfgang Buttress and Dr. Martin Bencsik from Nottingham Trent University, adorns the new £30 million BioCity building built by Nottingham City Council and leased to BioCity to support their work. The new building will host Sygnature Discovery across three floors, who have outgrown their initial incubator space in the existing BioCity building and allow more space for new life science starts ups, cementing Nottingham’s reputation as a leading city in supporting life science growth.

New homes in Strelley just the start

Nottingham City Homes, in partnership with Nottingham City Council, has built 79 new high quality Council homes in the last year. This number include 12 flats, 11 bungalows and 25 family houses on the site of the former Cranwell Road flats in Strelley. It also includes several smaller developments which have brought former garage block sites back into use. These new properties bring better quality housing to tenants in the city, and plans are afoot to bring more new Council housing to Nottingham.

Work has also recently begun in Strelley to redevelop the older persons’ flats and the library on Strelley Road as part of a wider effort to build more council homes in the city. 245 are planned for the next year, including 45 new houses and 9 new bungalows on the old Q Blocks site of the Meadows as the council reinvigorates its housing stock.

City Council working with Island Site owners

Following the announcement of the sale of the Island Site in December, Nottingham City Council has been talking to new owners Lavignac and Conygar about plans to bring forward development.

In January 2016, as part of its push to bring forward redevelopment, the council developed a Supplementary Planning Document to guide the type of development deemed appropriate for the site and for Nottingham.  The Council also undertook a number of studies to determine the state of the site, access, roads and other infrastructure.  These have now been shared with the new owners and their planners and architects who are working with the council’s planning and urban design teams to develop more detailed planning briefs for various parts of the site.

These include innovative and exciting ideas for the site, including re-using the heritage warehouses, and for a range of different, complementary uses across the site, creating a new residential and commercial neighbourhood as part of the city centre.

Work to start on Trent Basin Phase 2

Phase 2 of the Trent Basin development is to start this summer and has been boosted by additional funding. £1.25 million will be spent on a new spine road linking Trent Lane to Poulton Drive, accelerating  delivery of 500 new homes.

Councillor Jane Urquhart, Portfolio Holder for Planning and Housing for Nottingham City Council, said: “This City Council is successfully forging ahead with many new housing schemes and is committed not just to building new homes, but good quality, energy efficient homes. This development is especially important, creating a new community in a riverside location on a brownfield site close to the city centre.

“This funding enables us to connect attractive homes in an in-demand area with main routes into and around Nottingham, including our new Eco Expressway. Spending on this crucial infrastructure is important so that residents in this new community feel part of a growing and innovative city.”

 

 

Woodhead’s win top considerate contractor award

Construction’s most considerate contractors revealed 

The country’s highest performing construction sites have been confirmed at the Considerate Constructors Scheme’s 2017 National Site Awards.

National Site Award winners

Winners have been picking-up their prizes at award ceremonies across the country

The awards have been taking place across the country with the scheme’s National Site Awards recognising companies that have demonstrated the highest level of consideration in respect of the community, environment and workforce.

The coveted title of ‘Most Considerate Site’ was awarded in six project value bands from under £500k to over £50m.

The winning sites were:

  • King Edward Skate Plaza – Robert Woodhead Ltd (Value Band 1: Under £500k)
  • M&S Dulwich SF – Wates Smartspace (Value Band 2: £500k to <£1m)
  • Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospital for Wales Phase 2 – Post Occupation Works – Interserve Construction Ltd (Value Band 3: £1m to <£5m)
  • Discovery Academy – Carillion Construction Ltd (Value Band 4: £5m to <£10m)
  • Foyle College and Ebrington Primary School & Nursery – Heron Bros Ltd (Value Band 5: £10m to <£50m)
  • Ulster Hospital Phase B2 – General Ward Block – Graham Bam Healthcare Partnership (Value Band 6: £50m and over)                                                                                                                                     

The awards ceremonies attracted over 3000 guests from construction sites across the UK and were held from 20 March – 7 April in Edinburgh, London and Manchester.

The Scheme presented 848 National Site Awards.

In addition to the six Most Considerate Site Awards, there were 337 Bronze, 319 Silver and 156 Gold as well as 30 Most Considerate Site Runners-Up.

Considerate Constructors Scheme Executive Chairman Isabel Martinson said: “Congratulations to all 2017 National Site Award winners. Winning an award with the Considerate Constructors Scheme is a huge achievement, as only the top-performing sites are eligible for such an accolade.

“The successes of award-winning sites demonstrate the importance of embedding the core principles of the Scheme’s Code of Considerate Practice, creating a positive long-term legacy for the local community, environment and workforce.

“Special congratulations to the Most Considerate Site award winners, who represent considerate construction at its very best.

“Each of these sites is a beacon of best practice for the industry, having clearly shown exceptional effort and commitment in pursuit of improving the image and reputation of the construction industry.”

For a full searchable list of this year’s 848 winners click here

Construction backlog ‘needs two million people in five years’

Construction backlog ‘needs two million people in five years’

The Arcadis Talent Scale study said two million people would have to join the sector over five years if a housing and infrastructure construction backlog was to be overcome. 

This was based on the industry delivering government targets on housebuilding as well as major infrastructure programmes.

Housebuilding is the primary driver behind the projections, with Arcadis calculating that nearly 371,000 recruits a year will be needed to meet housing targets, while infrastructure projects will require around 36,000 annually.

The consultant said skills shortages could lead to higher labour costs and combine with already rising material costs to push up construction prices and jeopardise output growth.

“The skills shortage is limiting capacity and it’s probably going to get worse before it gets better,” said Arcadis director of workforce planning James Bryce, who worked on the report.

Electricians, plumbers, carpenters and joiners were highlighted as being in very short supply.

Arcadis attributed the shortage in these areas to a perfect storm of fewer apprentices, a large number of over-50s leaving the workforce, falling migration and rising demand.

Mr Bryce said this problem had developed over many years because of a change in approach to work.

“Over the years we’ve seen an increase in people seeking white-collar work, [with] a lot of the shortfall in construction labour being backfilled with workers from abroad.”

The report separately predicts that a ‘hard Brexit’ scenario would see 214,000 fewer EU nationals enter UK construction by 2020.

This additional shortfall would have a nationwide impact, the consultant says the problem will be more acute in London and the South-east, where demand for new housing is at its highest.

These two regions alone account for 27 per cent of the additional labour that will be needed for the housebuilding sector. 

A skills shortage in certain trades is likely to see those trades that are most in-demand requiring higher wages, the report suggested.

This would add even more pressure to input costs which recently rose at their fastest rate since 2008, according to the construction Purchasing Managers’ Index.

Mr Bryce said: “We need to be thinking on a longer timeframe.

“Some infrastructure projects being prepared now won’t be built for another 10 years, and the people who will be working on those schemes are in their teens.

“The National Skills Academies are the first step, but we need to start attracting the next generation of workers now.”

Arcadis made three recommendations for plugging the skills gap in the short term: recruiting from other industries; redeploying older workers into supervisory roles that allow them to pass on their skills and knowledge; and a review by the industry of how labour is organised and time is spent throughout the supply chain aimed at reducing waste.

CSCS Card changes from 31st March 2017

The Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) is reminding the industry to prepare for the withdrawal of the Construction Related Occupation (CRO) card. CSCS will stop issuing CRO cards from 31st March 2017.

Cardholders must take further steps to replace their CRO cards before they expire, read on to find out what happens if:

You already have an approved qualification

CRO card holders with approved qualifications will be able to apply for a skilled worker card without having to complete any further qualifications.

Your occupation is moved to another card scheme

Industry has confirmed that over 70 occupations are better represented by one of CSCS’s Partner Card Schemes. You need to contact the appropriate scheme to discuss their application requirements.

Your occupation is removed from the scheme

Industry has confirmed over 60 occupations are non-construction related and should be removed from the scheme.  CSCS will not be issuing cards for these occupations. This means workers will be arriving on site without a card.

Your qualification requires enhancement

Industry has confirmed a number of CRO occupations have existing qualifications that do not meet the nationally recognised standards for those skilled occupations.  Industry is working together to bring these qualifications up to the agreed nationally recognised standards.

CSCS needs more information about your occupation

Industry has identified 25 CRO occupations that require further investigation before deciding what to do next. We are asking for individuals or sector representatives involved in these occupations to get in touch with the CSCS team.

Your occupation is moved to Labourer

Industry has agreed a number of CRO occupations are labouring and should be moved to the green Labourer Card. CRO card holders working in these occupations must complete an approved qualification and apply for the green Labourer Card.

To find out more, please contact: –

Construction Skills Certification Scheme Ltd.

Tel 020 7291 0740

www.cscs.uk.com