Scheme’s e-learning courses have received unprecedented engagement, with over
53,000 people working in construction taking the courses so far.
Hardy, Chief Executive of the Considerate Constructors Scheme said: “There is
no doubt that the shocking number of deaths and long-term illnesses caused by
significant exposure to carcinogens in the workplace needs greater attention by
everyone. We must continue to improve our standards in how we raise awareness
and understanding of the risks and how to take measures to, where possible
eliminate them, or at the very least minimise them.
call on everyone across our industry to take the ‘Occupational
Cancers‘ course and to encourage colleagues, friends and family members to
do the same.
Hub also features the ‘Spotlight
on…occupational cancers‘ campaign which provides excellent examples of best
practice in tackling this issue provided by construction sites, companies and
suppliers to the industry across the length and breadth of the UK and Ireland.
We anticipate more examples of best practice being shared across the coming
months in order to drastically reduce the impact of carcinogens on our
Click here to take the
‘Occupational Cancers’ e-learning.
Lesley McLeod, CEO, The
Association for Project Safety
“Safety needs to be
built in so, while the government’s commitment to additional funding to replace
high-rise cladding is welcome, it is better sense to tackle construction risks
at the outset. The Association for Project Safety (APS) believes it is vital
everyone who lives in a high-rise home can be confident they are safe so safety
must be the priority right from the planning stage.
“Safety is at the core
of good design and the APS remains committed to working with the government and
other professionals in the construction sector to promote and share good
practice, as well as making sure everyone can build the skills and knowledge,
they need to make Britain’s building better.
“The APS welcomes the
use of public funds to make high rise buildings safer, but we are concerned the
timetable is very tight and that funds may prove insufficient – we believe it
is better to do things right than force a potentially unrealistic deadline and
budget on the project.”
A recent UK study has revealed which sectors
are the most likely to need to take time off work for their mental wellbeing,
with healthcare topping the list (26%) followed by those working in the media
(23%) and those working in education (21%).
This research into the
mental wellbeing of Britons was conducted after the inventor of income
protection discovered that 7% of all claims made in 2018 were related to mental
The team at www.Holloway.co.uk conducted the research to find out how each sector was affected by
absence relating to mental wellbeing. A total of 3,000 adults aged 18 and over
from the UK, were quizzed as part of the study. Respondents were split evenly
across 15 key sectors.
participants were asked, “Have you ever taken time off work for your mental
health?” with the following emerging as the results for each sector:
Healthcare – 26% (of employees have taken time
off work for their mental wellbeing)
Media – 23%
Education – 21%
Banking/Finance – 19%
Public Sector – 17%
HR/Personnel – 15%
Retail – 13%
Marketing – 12%
Construction – 11%
Transport/Travel – 9%
to elaborate on the reason for their mental wellbeing-related absence from
work, if they felt comfortable doing so, the vast majority blamed it on
respondents were found to have taken an average of three weeks off for their
mental wellbeing; of which a third (34%) said they received their full pay
during this time and 57% said they received reduced pay.
who had suffered with their mental health, just 1 in 5 (21%) said that they had
gone to speak to a professional about this, with those that didn’t citing long
wait times (78%) and not knowing where to turn (20%) as reasons.
relevant participants were asked if they believed that their work had
contributed to their poor mental health to which 9 in 10 (92%) said that they
thought it had.
“Looking after your
mental health is often far harder than looking after your physical self. After
finding that 1 in 14 of our claims last year were related to mental wellbeing,
we wanted to see how each sector is affected by this growing crisis. With mental
health services overstretched and employees having to work harder than ever
before just to make ends meet, we need to remember to take the time to look
“The horrid thing is that
money is often a massive cause for worry which can contribute to mental health
issues. Having to take prolonged time off work can be scary in these situations
as your pay is never guaranteed. This is a prime example of why more needs to
be done to educate people on the importance of income protection.”
This summer, Aarsleff Ground Engineering are inviting their valued
clients to experience the virtual world of ground engineering at their Head
Offices in Newark, Nottinghamshire.
Guests will be shown to the company’s VROOM where they will
be given a short tutorial before leaving reality and entering Aarsleff’s ‘virtual’
Equipped with a state-of-the-art VR headset, user’s will be
taken through a 6-minute guided tour around the ‘Aarsleff World’, exploring
some of the company’s core specialist ground engineering techniques – both
above and below ground. Traversing through Rail, Commercial, Residential,
Mining and Industrial zones, the user will be able to take a closer look at
rigs and machinery by leading innovators Junttan, Klemm and Movax and
experience the ground engineering techniques that the Aarsleff organisation
deliver on site every day.
Aarsleff teamed up with leading UK 3D technology and software
development studio Luminous Group back in October 2018 to develop the virtual
reality application, and have since developed a close working relationship with
the organisation for the development of future digital initiatives.
The experience has been created using the latest Unity games
engine and HTC Vive Pro headset providing full natural interaction with six
degrees of freedom and high-quality visuals. Users can view a mini table top
view of the Aarsleff world or fly down to see interactive cut always of the
ground below. Games engines with their real time rendering capabilities and
ability to port content to multiple devices and platforms are becoming the
preferred choice for creating interactive computer graphics, VR experiences and
Aarsleff’s Marketing and Communications Manager said: “Finding ways to visualise and engage with
ground engineering techniques can be challenging – everything our specialist
industry does is underground or soon covered up. The new virtual reality
application makes it possible for our users to experience ground engineering
techniques in a more dynamic and accessible way than ever before, and this is
what makes it really unique”.
With half a million workers set to retire over the next 10
years, the application has primarily been designed to address the growing
skills shortage in the construction sector with a view to help attract the next
generation of digitally native gamers into the industry. The application has
been designed to both appeal to a new entrant into the field of construction,
and an already established geotechnical engineer who would like to understand
more about Aarsleff’s products and services including Drilling and Grouting,
Soil Nails, Driven Piling, Mini Piling and Sheet Piling.
Managing Director Kevin Hague said: “In embracing VR, we also hope to tackle the
challenge that ‘young people are not interested in construction’ by rolling out
the virtual application at careers fairs and university shows. Students and
aspiring engineers will be able to walk around on an Aarsleff site, helping
them to understand several ground engineering disciplines and learn about the
machinery operated on site – all whilst in a safe and engaging way”.
The Newark-based specialist contractor are
exclusively inviting a selection of clients to their offices to experience
their new VR application over the summer period, after which point the program
will then be exhibited at careers fairs and shows and for all other interested
parties to experience on a pre-booked basis.
For more information
about Aarsleff Ground Engineering visit www.aarsleff.co.uk or contact a member of staff on +44 (0) 1636
There’s been some alarming titles in the press
for more than a decade now: “A global crisis of the surveying profession” (2008), “Surveyor skill shortage approaching critical level, warns RICS”
(2015), “Easier to employ a ballet dancer than a quantity surveyor” (2017)…
The latest CIOB-cross industry research report
published in January 2019 highlights that the issue is far from being solved,
with 42% of construction businesses reporting difficulties recruiting
quantity surveyors, both now and by anticipation, post-Brexit.
The RICS Construction and Infrastructure survey
2019 also confirms that quantity surveying
is still the occupation with the greatest staff shortages, beyond trades,
bricklayers and other construction professionals, with 60% of companies
reporting skill shortages in the profession.
Why are there shortages of quantity
The construction sector in general is
experiencing an ageing working population, with nearly 430,000
construction workers to retire between 2010
and 2020. More specifically, the quantity surveying profession experiences
difficulties attracting young students, due to the complexity of the role and
the lack of clarity on the definition of the profession.
While a problem not limited to the UK, the
uncertainties surrounding Brexit are enhancing this issue. As 26% of the UK construction workforce comes from the EU, the
deterioration of the sterling makes the country less attractive as a work
destination. Construction material costs inflation also leads to a greater need
for complex cost estimates (and great quality quantity surveyors!).
What are the solutions to address the
quantity surveyor crisis?
The government is looking at increasing the
attractiveness of the profession, promoting apprenticeships and easing the
barriers to immigration as different solutions to address this challenge. One
of the recommendations of the CIOB-cross industry research report is to include
the quantity surveyor profession to the future “Shortage Occupation List” of
the Migration Advisory Committee.
As a construction business owner, there are
three routes to explore to find quantity surveyors.
Take on apprentices
23,000 apprenticeships started in England in
Construction, Planning and the Built Environment in 2017/18. Taking on
apprentices can be a really great way to attract young professionals,
especially as quantity surveying apprenticeships are fairly quick to obtain –
from 2 years for a Surveying or Geospatial Survey Technician apprentice (Level
3) up to 5 years for a Chartered Surveyor Apprentice or Geospatial Mapping and
Sciences Apprentice (Level 6).
The latest apprenticeship data from the
Department of Education in January
2019 shows that only 9 people started an
apprenticeship as a Geospatial Survey Technician since 2015/16, 506 as
Surveying Technicians, and 1,892 as Chartered Surveyor Apprentices – there’s
still room for many more!
Look for temporary contractors
Rather than desperately trying to recruit
permanent quantity surveyors, recruiting contractors from temporary recruitment
agencies can be a way to avoid turning down projects. While this route is typically
more expensive than recruiting permanent members of staff, it can be a great
way to release the pressure and gain flexibility. It might also lead some
contractors to convert to permanent positions in the future.
Becoming familiar with 3D modelling packages and
BIM (Building Information Modelling) software (e.g., Estimator360, HBXL,
PlanSwift, Clear Estimates…) to price projects can be another way to fix the
crisis. While the barrier to entry can be high in terms of cost, digital skills
required, and time required to select, implement and be trained on how to use
estimating software packages, it can also be a great way to make the profession
more attractive to younger generations too.
Whilst the crisis will not be solved overnight,
there are some solutions out there to explore to help you address this
Bookings are now open for a
national structural waterproofing conference, which has become a significant
event in the industry’s calendar.
Property Care Association’s fourth annual International Structural
Waterproofing conference takes place at The Slate, University of Warwick,
Coventry on 17 July, 2019.
dynamic programme – which includes a knowledge sharing hub, where experts and
the audience debate key industry issues and best practice – has seen the event
gain increasing recognition within the architectural, civil engineering and construction
well as professionals from these sectors, the event also attracts surveyors,
lawyers, public authorities, geologists, ground engineers and academics.
Last year’s conference included insights into high-profile
projects underground, technical details and an overview of liabilities and
responsibilities, with speakers including academics, practitioners and industry
went on the record books as the PCA’s biggest one-day conference to date, with
over 160 delegates attending.
year’s conference was also the first to be supported by specialist event technology
– the PCA Structural Waterproofing app – which helped amplify the conference’s
system played a key part in the proceedings, allowing delegates to ask
questions to the speakers throughout the day and in advance of the Q&A
sessions and panel debate.
conference is of appeal to both members and non-members alike.
James Berry, technical manager of the PCA, said: “The
structural waterproofing conference goes from strength to strength and the
speakers lined-up and the subjects being covered in 2019 are set to make this
year’s event a success too.
“The participants share a deep interest in this technical
subject, and in turn that creates the atmosphere for an interesting and
“Early booking is advised, as last year we were at
In the wake of tripled
turnover and the launch of a brand-new division, West Yorkshire-based Access
North Ltd is marking its biggest financial year to-date with an office
relocation, following a recruitment drive which has seen the team double in
Company owners, Berenice
and Daniel Northcott, credit the new Access North Build division – launched in
2018 – as the driving force behind the financial uplift, which has seen the
group generate £1.75m of revenue over the past 12 months.
To facilitate a marked
upturn in service demand, the firm has made eight new appointments since March
2018 and – having recently celebrated its eighth birthday – has now outgrown
the base it has called home since 2013.
As a result, the 13-strong
team recently moved to a larger space at the Park Valley Mills Business Park in
Lockwood, Huddersfield – the local regeneration project complimenting the
firm’s own commitment to breathing new life into existing spaces.
With a trio of team members
having been appointed in October 2018, a further three new faces have joined
the growing team of specialists in recent weeks. These include, Sales Project
Manager, Paul Crawford, Procedures and Operations Manager, Louis Aspeling, and
Business Admin Apprentice, Naomi Collins.
Access North Ltd managing
director, Berenice Northcott reflected on a positive year: “It goes without
saying that it’s been a brilliant year for us. With additional team members
joining us and an office move, we have high aims for the next 12 months.
“Access North Build has
enjoyed a fantastic start. Our work at Alsager School in Cheshire saw the team
pioneer an industry first – a lightweight steel space frame supporting an ETFE
membrane – while our work at Haggerston Castle in Northumberland has breathed
new life into an inspiring space.”
Established in 2011, Access
North Structures specialises in the installation, inspection and maintenance of
complex structures, ETFE facilities and tensile fabric canopies, via rope
Meanwhile, Access North
Build specialises in the design, engineering and construction of ETFE,
lightweight tensile fabric structures and structural glass roofs and facades –
across a variety of construction projects.
Grimsby-based Forbes Burton, a company rescue and
insolvency specialist has warned that ongoing uncertainty over Brexit means
more companies could be facing financial difficulties in the months to come.
This warning has come as
new figures from risk management specialists Red Flag Alert and The Insolvency
Service have been revealed, showing that almost 1 in 5 UK businesses are
classified as being in ‘significant distress’.
Rick Smith, Managing
Director at Forbes Burton says: “This is a real concern and should be taken
seriously. For example, in the Yorkshire and Humber area, companies with
Critical Problems (companies with County Court Judgements totalling £5,000 or
more) rose from 130 Q1 2018 to 172 Q1 2019 and in the East of England, which
includes Lincolnshire, the figures were up from 155 to 168 over the same
“The impact of the
uncertainty around Brexit is really starting to take hold now and we may see
even more increases in the number of businesses facing problems in the future.”
The construction industry,
usually used as a ‘bellweather’ for the UK economy showed a 9% increase in
businesses in financial difficulty. The East of England specifically showed a
6% increase from the from Q4 2018 to Q1 2019.
Rick added: “The hotels and
leisure industry have also been hit hard by Brexit uncertainty. The reduced
labour supply as the number of foreign workers falls and the cost of a 5%
increase in the national living wage has pushed 9% more hotel businesses into
financial distress as last year.”
Rick explains that the lack
of business travel could have had the biggest impact on hotel profits, as
businesses cut back on travel in light of the uncertainty over whether or not
the UK can scramble together a Brexit deal.
Premier Inn owner Whitbread
reported a 40% decrease in annual sales since the Brexit referendum and
blames lack of business travel as a major factor.
Rick continued: “Many
businesses have been preparing for a no-deal Brexit for a while now, but if you
haven’t, now is certainly the time.
“A no-deal Brexit has the
potential to seriously disrupt business in the UK for an extended period. Every
business should be ensuring that it has good cash flow and that all financial
accounts are up to date. Should the country hit a period of even more economic
uncertainty, it is essential that you know how healthy your business is and how
well you can weather out the Brexit storm.”
“It’s also a good idea to
check on your suppliers. I would always recommend you keep your options open.
If your most trusted clients start to feel the pressure, ensure you can fall
back to another more stable supplier. It’ll help keep your business strong and
prepared for the future.”
It isn’t too late for
businesses in the UK to find themselves back out of financial distress, as Rick
explains: “The UK economy is generally in good shape and we are seeing a record
number of people in employment. Hopefully, the government will be able to
provide greater certainty around Brexit over the next couple of months which
should increase confidence.”
A growing workplace
specialist is making an impact in sensor-based office space management, as
firms seek better returns on real estate and new ways of working and retaining
Hundreds of corporations
worldwide have introduced Abintra’s WiseNet system to monitor and manage the
use of desks, meeting rooms and other office spaces.
The patented system, two
years in the making, relies on industry-leading sensors that detect if anyone
is occupying a desk or a seat in a meeting room. The Wisenet software then
delivers a real-time visual display of space usage floor by floor. Crucially,
it gathers statistics over time that can be used to make space saving decisions
such as implementing desk sharing, how many desks are required and
rationalisation of office space. This in turn creates opportunities to
introduce new ways of working with wellbeing spaces, such as break out and cafe
Once a desk sharing system
has been implemented, the system delivers information on communal screens so
that employees can locate free desks, meeting rooms and other spaces.
Meanwhile, for managers, it
allows for ongoing review of space usage and for dealing with that trickiest of
tasks, managing use and abuse of meeting rooms. It displays information about
how many people, if any, are in a meeting room against booking information for
a better understanding of space requirement.
Abintra says Wisenet sets
the standard in space utilisation systems. Unlike competing solutions, it
doesn’t rely on employees to log on to a computer, upload an app to a phone or
carry a sensor around with them to sense that someone is using a space. Methods
like these have obvious drawbacks because they fall down if the employee
accidentally or on purposes fails to use them. They also raise the spectre of
employers spying on employees whereas the Wisenet sensors effectively record
that someone is in a space without reporting on what he or she is doing or his
or her identity.
Wisenet also scores against
systems using off-the-shelf sensors, because its purpose-built devices are more
precise and more discreet because they can be mounted underneath and at the
back of a desk rather than close to the edge. That precision is important
because it enables monitoring of other kinds of spaces than desks, notably
individual meeting room seats. Wisenet says other systems can’t match its
reliability in those areas and often amazed how companies get talked out of this
most important requirement.
Tony Booty, director at
Abintra, says: “Most organisations know they could reuse some space, probably a
lot of it, but fear staff won’t understand how that can happen without them
being cramped together. We can help. Instead of corporate real estate managers
being seen as the enemy by building users, we give you a way to prove what will
best support the requirement. Once people understand the statistics, they will
understand the solution, which can be a better environment with a variety of
spaces, better suited to the changing world of work.”
Wisenet maintains that any
organisation can benefit from reviewing its space utilisation, but the company
is typically called in when a corporation is going through a reorganisation,
restructure or merger, or when it is considering moving offices.
“Once you have the data,
you might discover you do not need to move to bigger premises, after all, but
if you do, you will have a much better understanding of how much space you need
in the new location,” says Tony Booty.
Banks, insurance companies
and local authorities are among those who have used Wisenet to inform decisions
about real estate, sometimes making huge savings in space usage and associated
costs. Another significant benefit that Abintra points to is staff retention
and reduced HR costs, by allowing customers to reconfigure floors for agile
working with collaborative spaces and even coffee shops.
When the system was used to
reconfigure one floor of an insurance company’s building, it opened the door to
staff welcoming a move to new offices where they knew all floors would be
configured that way.
There are other uses for
the data, including risk management, providing information on how much space
would be needed if an operation has to relocate because of an emergency such as
a flood. It can be used to plan efficient security routes and to reduce energy
costs and carbon footprint by managing heating and air conditioning based on
utilisation. The sensors record temperature as well as occupancy.
Perhaps the feature that
resonates most loudly with customers is accurate meeting room scheduling.
Unlike button systems or paper trails, the system reports on how many people,
if any, are in a meeting room at any time without those people being required
to do anything. One customer discovered a senior executive was routinely using
a large meeting room as an annex to his office. Another found that staff were
regularly booking pricey hotel meeting rooms in Belgravia when, contrary to
what their Intranet was telling them, there was meeting space free in the
apprentice, who was among the first to take part in a trade body’s pioneering
training programme within a specialist area of construction, has been named one
of the best trainees in the country.
Kris Marriott, aged 33, has won the Southern
Counties Apprentice of the Year accolade at the recent Southern Counties and
London Master Builder Awards.
From Biocraft UK – based in Reading – Kris will
now go up against other winning apprentices from across the UK for the chance
to win the coveted National Apprentice 2019 crown, as well as a cash prize of
£500 from the Federation of Master Builders. The result will be announced in
was among the first group of trainees to join the Property Care Association’s
NVQ Level 2 diploma in Insulation and Building Treatments (Wood Preserving and
Damp Proofing) apprenticeship in December 2015.
cohort took two years to complete their training, with a
programme including 21 days of offsite training held at the PCA’s dedicated
educational facility in Huntingdon.
and funded by CITB, the programme has gone from strength-to-strength since Kris
and the others in the first cohort were inducted.
has an industry-high retention rate of 91 per cent, with 18 students having
passed the NVQ and a further 17 currently going through the training.
programme provides a springboard into an area of construction not always
considered as a career option and draws in trainees from companies based across
the UK, in both PCA member and non-member organisations.
Jade Stocker, the PCA’s Training Manager, said: “We
are delighted that Kris’s work has been recognised at this level.
“It is a well-earned achievement and we wish him
luck in the next stage of the contest.”
to the PCA, new recruits to the property maintenance and preservation sector
are vital, to ensure the skills in this specialist area of construction are
retained and fine-tuned for the next generation.
say the apprenticeship is a valuable way of addressing a skills gap within the
property care industry.
programme covers important skills necessary to preserve and protect properties,
with insight into subjects including wet and dry rot, wood boring insects,
rising damp and timber treatments.
Kris Marriot said:
“I am really pleased to achieve this award.
“Previously I had
been a labourer with several other companies and when I joined Biocraft UK, I
asked Martin Fosbrook, the managing director, about an apprenticeship to
improve my job prospects.
was almost a return to education for me. It was daunting starting the training,
but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it and never looked back.”
Kris has worked for Biocraft UK for 10
years and the company has an award-winning approach to staff development.
Last year the business secured the
Training and Staff Development title, at the PCA’s annual awards, held at The
Slate, University of Warwick, as well as a Highly Commended accolade in the
Outstanding Customer Service Category.
Run by Martin and Jill Fosbrook,
Biocraft UK carries out specialist damp-proofing, timber treatments and
basement waterproofing and conversions across Berkshire, Surrey, Hampshire and
said: “We are very proud of all that Kris has achieved.
are key to the development and success of our business. Kris’ award is
testimony to the opportunities and career satisfaction in our company and in
PCA apprenticeship is an excellent industry specific programme that meets the
needs of our business.”