12 Apr 2017

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

22 Feb 2017

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.

14 Feb 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


19 Jan 2017
What can you buy for £10m?
You could build a horse ‘monorail’ training track for starters.

Perhaps a mansion in the Cotswolds (or a one-bed flat in central London if you’re feeling optimistic).

Or 16,949,152 pints of milk, according to The Guardian.

£10m is also the amount the Health and Safety Executive has charged construction companies over four years to cover the costs of inspectors looking into H&S breaches, according to FOI documents obtained by law firm Clyde and Co.

More than £9.9m-worth of invoices were sent out to companies in the construction industry between 2012/13 and 2015/16 under the HSE’s Fee For Intervention (FFI) scheme, according to the documents.

Firms will receive an FFI invoice through the letterbox if HSE inspectors see a material breach of the law when paying you a visit.

You’ll be charged a fee on the amount of time an HSE inspector spends on identifying and dealing with that material breach – £129 per hour to be exact.

According to guidance issued by the HSE, these material breaches could be anything from not providing guards or effective safety devices to prevent access to dangerous parts of machinery, to leaving materials containing asbestos in a poor or damaged condition resulting in the potential to release asbestos fibres.

While most parts of the industry are fortunately well above such practices, there is still a great deal to be done. Almost one in two refurbishment sites failed to meet safety standards in targeted inspections last year.

It should be noted that there is a process for querying and disputing FFI invoices, and that the FOI figures do not tell us how much cash the HSE has actually recovered from construction firms through the scheme.

Regardless, fatalities and serious injuries still happen all too regularly on construction sites, and a zero harm policy means paying attention to small details.

The HSE’s £10m of FFI invoices should serve as a further wake-up call: not only are high safety standards a moral and legal imperative first and foremost, there’s also a heavy price to pay for those who fall short.


17 Jan 2017

CITB to slash levy by a third

The industry training board told Construction News its board had approved a deal for the industry that would see the amount of levy paid by qualifying construction firms cut from 0.5 per cent of PAYE bills to 0.35 per cent from 2018.

The decision comes ahead of the CITB seeking a Levy Order from the government to allow it to continue to receive money from construction firms.

As part of the Levy Order process, the CITB is required to receive consensus from the sector that it should continue to collect levy from construction firms.

This process will take place between August and September this year, with a decision expected in February 2018.

Sources have told Construction News that the CITB faces one of its biggest challenges yet in persuading the federations and CITB levy-payers to back its continued existence, amid discontent with the organisation throughout the industry.

The new proposal for a reduced levy for nearly all firms across the construction industry will form a major part of the new deal offered to federations and levy-payers later this year.

Firms with a payroll under £80,000 will continue to be exempt from paying any levy. A rate of 1.25 per cent will remain on payments to Construction Industry Scheme (CIS) subcontractors.

CITB policy director Steve Radley said he hoped the new deal would improve the perception of the body ahead of it seeking consensus later this year.

“I think this helps us in three ways,” Mr Radley said.

“One is that we have listened to what industry has said. Secondly, it would be seen by most people as the fairer option because we are treating everyone the same.

“Thirdly, I think it gives us more space to work out what industry needs and work out what we aim to deliver.”

The organisation did admit that the proposals would lead to a reduction in the funds available to the CITB.

Mr Radley said that while he couldn’t give a definitive figure on the reduction in income, his early estimates were that it would mean a £25m drop in the levy funding available for the CITB. Current levy income is about £200m annually.

The CITB also confirmed that it would be aiming to increase efficiencies over the coming years and that the drop in income would not automatically mean a cut to the CITB’s services.

The organisation also expects some of the loss to be covered by “industrial growth” over the next couple of years, with the CITB expecting levy-payers’ wage bills to grow over the coming years.

The plan to cut the CITB levy is the culmination of months of work by its levy working party, which consulted with industry on the future structure of the levy.

The organisation was initially presented with four options last year, but these were whittled down to two before Christmas.

The other option up for consideration was a two-tiered system in which firms paying the government’s apprenticeship levy would have been given a reduced CITB levy rate.

The government’s economy-wide scheme will see all companies with a PAYE bill above £3m pay 0.5 per cent of anything above £3m into the government apprenticeship levy fund.

The CITB believes the new “reduction for all” approach represents the fairest and simplest option and ensures a clear distinction between the CITB levy and the government apprenticeship tax.

Mr Radley said: “The advantage with this option now is that when we start consulting industry from next month, we are not spending time debating thresholds and changing rates and anything that is complicated.

“The conversation will be, ‘This is the proposed business plan, this is the reformed grant scheme and this is how we would fund it through the levy: does this deliver value for money?’”

Construction News understands that federations and employers will be fully briefed on the changes this week.

FMB chief executive Brian Berry said: “The ‘reduction for all’ option will be welcomed by the vast majority of SME levy-payers who fall below the pay bill threshold for the government’s apprenticeship levy.

“However, it’s still not clear exactly which products and services the CITB will cut to allow for the reduced funding – we need to know that critical services will remain.

“Also, the CITB needs to do more than make the case for this levy option – the CITB needs to make clear its vision for meeting the skills needs of the construction sector and how the organisation intends to reform itself so it’s able to lead us there.”

09 Dec 2016
Will your construction firm be left facing huge bills as changes made to legislation 2 years ago start come into effect?


HMRC believes that if just 1 in 10 self-employed workers could be converted to PAYE they would receive an extra £1.5bn and have recruited 1000 new case workers to investigate employment status in the industry.


RIFT Legal Services has developed a free White Paper to take you through the motive and means for the government crackdown, the potential consequences for the construction industry and the steps you need to take to protect your company.



08 Dec 2016

A damning independent survey claims the CITB has “little or no impact on its primary mission of encouraging the provision of training” among smaller construction companies.

Research conducted by YouGov on behalf of Hudson Contract showed only 9% of SMEs said they receive CITB funding for training employees.

And of that 9%, only half receive the full cost of training.

Hudson said SMEs pay twice as much levy as larger firms yet have less power to influence the CITB.

The survey also found that 60% of levy payers provide training without CITB grant funding.

Ian Anfield, Managing Director of Hudson Contract said: “Despite spending millions on websites, roadshows and PR, the CITB’s influence on training provision is negligible.

“In reality, the CITB is a hapless bystander while SMEs get on with the day job.

“More and more stakeholders are questioning whether there is a need for a levy and grant system at all. This needs an answer.”

Further results from the research show that:

  • More than half of the firms interviewed have either no knowledge or no opinion of the CITB levy’s effectiveness in ensuring training and skills development.
  • 71% say the possibility of a CITB grant to cover training does not influence decisions to send workers on a training course; and a mere 2% say a CITB grant is the main reason for training.
  • 38% of firms would continue training even without the possibility of a levy grant.

Anfield said analysis of the CITB’s own accounts show that large businesses receive a 92% return on their levy payment, whereas small and micro sized businesses receive 61% and 52% respectively.

Of those who say that they find it difficult to claim back grants, 55% say that the reason for this is that they do not have an administrator to support them, while 50% say the process is too complicated.

Anfield added: “Training is absolutely vital if the construction industry is to thrive and deliver our country’s much needed infrastructure and house building programmes.

“As the backbone of the industry, SMEs play a crucial role in this.

“Yet not only is the CITB offering scant support to SMEs, it is actually putting obstacles in their way by collecting a levy and passing most of it on to major contractors.

“Those with the narrowest shoulders bear the toughest burden. That is bad for business and bad for the industry.”

Tony Willson, Managing Director of training adviser Helmsman Services, said: “Any company that moans about not getting Grant only has itself to blame.

“It is not that large companies are getting proportionately more Grant than smaller ones, it is that they do a lot of training and have processes to ensure that claims are maximised.

“Although the Grant Scheme is complex, if a company wishes to ensure that it is receiving the maximum Grant for the training that it does, there are many ways of obtaining assistance to achieve this from CITB itself, Training Groups or companies such as ours.

“But in many cases, the companies can’t be bothered.”

YouGov independently questioned more than 500 construction companies during the research.

02 Nov 2016

Please also read the New Construction Advisor post as well.

The CITB and the construction industry have been given a final chance to prove why the industry levy – and the organisation – must be retained.

The government has commissioned Paul Morrell to carry out a review of the organisation.

Mr Morrell is an excellent choice for the role, and though I do feel the industry spends too much time reviewing and reporting and not enough time actually being heard, this particular research is needed andcould ensure long-lasting change in the industry.

On the back of the Farmer Review, and with a new levy order due in 2018, the CITB’s status must now be determined once and for all.

The skills debate is too important and the clamour for change is now reaching a crescendo.

If the CITB is the right organisation to work with industry on rectifying its skills issues, great. If not, let’s figure out what works better.

The CITB is an organisation that divides opinion. It is doing much to reform internally, and certainly publicising that fact, but doesn’t appear to be winning hearts and minds on the ground.

When we publish the CITB’s view of how it can improve and contribute in a more productive manner to the skills debate, I inevitably get emails criticising our decision to publish them.

Shortly after publishing a piece on the government’s decision to task Paul Morrell with a review of the organisation, this arrived in my inbox: “It would be interesting to know what real reform the CITB can think of; they are currently presenting ideas for tweaking around the edges at employer forums, which are not well received or even understood by audiences – but CITB being CITB they put out PR pieces such as ‘choose change’ but seem to be plodding on regardless.”

The positive in this review is that Paul Morrell not only has the respect of Whitehall mandarins, but has led his own review leading to significant change before: the Innovation and Growth Team’s 2010 Low Carbon Construction report, not to mention the first government construction strategy.

His recommendation that the government mandate BIM led to a step-change in the way the public sector procured projects.

The motive at the time (given that BIM wasn’t ‘new’) was that it should help to drive down costs and improve collaboration, something Mr Morrell may feel has been lost slightly in the ensuing BIMwash.

But the report got the ear of government and led to an acknowledgement they could demand more of the industry. Businesses then started to change their attitudes pretty quickly (I say ‘start’, as the process is by no means complete).

The Farmer Review has led to criticism in parts, particularly from developers. But today the skills minister referenced it when he announced Mr Morrell’s appointment.

This could be a watershed moment for the 54-year-old CITB and, in turn, the future of the construction industry.

02 Nov 2016

The former construction advisor for the UK Government, Paul Morrell, has been selected to help undertaken a review of the industry’s training boards.

The recent publication of Mark Farmer’s ‘Modernise or Die’ study called into question the effectiveness and future role of the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB).

In his review, Mr Farmer stated the CITB was in need of wholesale reform along with its levy system, including a new mandate to properly fund and drive forward both appropriate skills development and innovation to suit a ‘modern progressive industry.’

With the new apprenticeship levy being introduced in April 2017, the new charge will impact larger construction companies currently in scope of the levies operated by the CITB and the Engineering Construction Industry Training Boards (ECITB). The report also asked whether market failures in construction still require a separate levy and grant system and if so, how this can operate alongside the apprenticeship levy

In addition, the ability of the UK construction sector to maintain and expand capacity was also questioned.

As an English chartered quantity surveyor and the former senior partner of Davis Langdon, Mr Morrell will use his expertise to help map out the future of industrial training boards.

Previously, from November 2009 to November 2012 he acted as the UK government’s first Chief Construction Adviser and helped produce the ‘Low Carbon Construction’ report in 2011.

Robert Halfon, Minister of State for Apprenticeships and Skills, said: “I am delighted Paul has agreed to lend his experience and advice to this important review. Paul is a highly respected figure both in the industry and in government and is known as a strong force for change and modernisation.

“The government’s ambitious infrastructure and housing plans require a step up in capability and capacity in the construction sector. Training boards can help deliver the skills we desperately need and I look forward to seeing some real recommendations from this review.”

Steve Radley, Director of Policy at CITB, said: “The Farmer report and this review raise a number of important questions about how to transform the performance and productivity of construction, and how CITB needs to reform to support this. It’s excellent news that Paul Morrell has been appointed to advise, as he knows the industry inside and out.

“We are working closely with government to ensure the review produces the right outcomes for industry, so that together we can help our sector modernise and grow.”

02 Nov 2016


Welcome to the latest edition of Construction infonet

Construction Infonet is a free eBulletin from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to provide a regular update on health and safety issues for all in the construction industry.




In a street near you

HSE construction inspectors are carrying out unannounced visits to sites where refurbishment projects or repair works are underway.

This year the Initiative began on 3 October 2016 and will end early November 2016.

Inspectors will be out and about ensuring high-risk activities, particularly those affecting the health of workers, are being properly managed.

These include

Where serious breaches of legislation are found then immediate enforcement action will be taken, but Inspectors will also be taking steps to secure a positive change in behaviour to ensure on-going compliance.

Health and safety breaches with clients and designers will also be followed up to reinforce their duties under CDM 2015 and to ensure that all dutyholders with on site health and safety responsibilities understand and fulfil these.

Take a look at the SaferSites Facebook page to see examples of what inspectors find on site – better still, like and share it with your colleagues!


Research has shown that just cutting two valley roof tiles in-situ in each daily shift (about fifteen minutes of work in eight hours) resulted in the operator being exposed to levels above the occupational exposure limit for respiratory crystalline silica (RCS). Colleagues working close by were also placed at risk.  The research findings led to a change in working practices in the construction sector.

Read the case study to find out what this means for you


To receive other updates like this, please subscribe to HSL’s eBulletin on Exposure Assessment and Control.


A round up of some recent HSE prosecutions and enforcement action in the construction sector and links to relevant advice.

Employer jailed for killing teen who fell from a ladder

The tragic consequences of cutting corners on cost when working at height – In this case a seventeen year old who fell to his death when working from a ladder.

 Read the full police press release


Fragile roofs

05/10/16: Worker suffers severe injuries in roof fall

Further information

Free leaflet – Fragile roofs

Busy Builder leaflet –Fragile roofs: What you need to know as a busy builder, contractor or maintenance worker

Busy Builder leaflet – Fragile roofs: What you need to know as a building owner, user or managing agent 

 Working at height

06/10/16: Building contractor prosecuted following worker’s fall

07/10/16: Council fined after employee was injured from fall 

Further information

Busy Builder leaflet – Construction Phase Plan

Construction Safety Topic – Assessing all work at height

Construction Safety Topic – Working at height

Construction Safety Topic – Using ladders safely

 Lifting operations

05/10/16: Worker injured after being struck by concrete skip

13/10/16: Building contractor in court after worker killed by falling load

Further information

Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER)

Construction Safety Topic – Lifting operations


20/10/16: Council and contractors fined more than £1.5 million after man dies and another seriously injured in roadworks 

Further information

Construction Information Sheet (CIS 53) – Reducing risk in temporary traffic management operations

 Carbon monoxide

21/10/16: Testing Services firm fined over worker’s CO death 

Further information

Construction Health Topic – Carbon monoxide

Struck by

07/10/16: Construction company fined after worker losses both legs

Further information

Construction Safety Topic – Dumpers


03/10/16: Bolton night club owner fined over asbestos exposure 

Further information

Asbestos survey

 Overhead power lines

24/10/16: Farming and drilling contractors fined after mast strikes power line

Further information

Construction Safety Topic – Overhead power lines


24/10/16: Worker seriously injured in mobile platform fall

Further information

Construction Safety Topic – MEWPS



Comment on our proposed changes to risk assessment guidance 

Take our survey about our ‘Regulation and enforcement’ web pages – share your views



APS Statement – CDM2015: One year on


WWT events

Improve the health and safety of your business by attending a health and safety event near you. Most of the Working Well Together (WWT) events we list are FREE and all provide an opportunity to meet like-minded people, see interesting new equipment and get confidential advice.

9 November 2016 – Guilty or Not Guilty – The verdict is your decision, Kidderminster

15 November 2016 – Work at height/Scaffolding SHAD, Cardiff

18 November 2016 – Service Strike Mock Trial – Guilty or Not Guilty? What’s your verdict? , Leeds 

24 November 2016 – Construction Occupational Health Awareness Event, Nottingham 

24 November 2016 – Back to Basics – Prevention and Innovation, Tamworth 

Find your nearest WWT Group and get involved.


Other events

Visit the HSE website to find more many national events, conferences and HSL training.


  View past eBulletins – http://www.hse.gov.uk/construction/ebulletins/index.htm