HSE International

UK economy starts 2015 in good health as rate setters meet

Construction, manufacturing and services figures for January, due out this week, are expected to show a healthy economic start for the UK in 2015.

Analysts expect all the numbers, based on purchasing managers’ surveys, to be up on December’s.

The Bank of England is due to meet this week to set interest rates, with no change expected.

The UK’s trade deficit will be announced on Friday. It is expected to have widened to £1.6bn in December after narrowing to a 17-month low of £1.4bn in November.
The corporate calendar, which is heavy with pharmaceutical business news this week, begins today with news from RM Group. Tomorrow BP, BG Group, Modwen Properties, Ocado, Rosneft and Santander will give updates.

Wednesday’s reports are due from BSkyB, DMGT, GW Pharmaceuticals, GlaxoSmithKline, Hargreaves Lansdown and Victrex.

On Thursday AstraZeneca, Avanti, Beazley, Compass, Dairy Crest, Enterprise Inns, McBride, Smith & Nephew, Vodafone and Wincanton will all give figures.

Original Source: http://bit.ly/1D5FjH1

Construction output to grow 5.3% in 2015 and 18% by 2018

Construction output will grow 5.3 per cent in 2015, driven by a 10 per cent rise in private housing output and 8 per cent growth in the commercial sector.

Infrastructure output is also forecast to increase by 7.9 per cent this year, while public housing output will see growth of 4 per cent, according to forecasts from the Construction Products Association.

Private housing, commercial and infrastructure are expected to be the biggest growth areas up to 2018.

Commercial output is forecast to rise by 25 per cent between 2015 and 2018, while infrastructure output will increase 51.5 per cent over the same period.

Output in private housing is forecast to grow by 20.2 per cent over the same period.

Starts in private housing will grow by 10 per cent in 2015, having soared 18 per cent in 2014.

Next year will see this growth slow to 4.2 per cent, according to the CPA, before dipping to 3.4 per cent in 2017, as the uncertainty surrounding May’s general election begins to affect contract awards and inward investment.

R&M output is forecast to remain relatively flat, with 2.6 per cent growth expected this year, followed by 2.5 per cent in 2016.

Commenting on the data, CPA economics director Noble Francis said: “While output in the sector during 2014 was 8.5 per cent below the level seen in 2007, overall capacity last year was not a key issue.

“However, construction output is forecast to surpass the pre-recession peak during the next 18 months, this despite the industry having lost 343,000 jobs and considerable materials capacity in the seven years following the financial crisis.

“As a result, it is essential there is significant investment in UK construction skills and manufacturing over the next few years if the growth forecast is to be achieved.”

Original Source: http://bit.ly/18GVE9O

Construction Industry needs 200,000 extra workers by 2019

The industry must recruit more than 200,000 extra workers in the next five years to keep on top of rising demand across the country.

The latest CITB Construction Skills Network forecast shows for the first time since the downturn, rising spending on housing, leisure and infrastructure will deliver growth in every region of the UK.

To deal with the upswing in workloads the industry needs to recruit almost 45,000 workers annually – 8,000 more than predicted last year at the start of the recovery.

The annual forecast predicts that commercial work will expand at the same pace as housing estimated at 4.6% annually over the forecast period to 2019.

Total construction employment is projected to reach 2.74m in 2019, still a little below its peak level in 2008 of 2.86m.

New recruits annually for each region

Skills demand

A resurgence of growth and employment in the north of England has the potential to create an economic power base in the region, with the North West set to grow by 2.5%, the North East by 2.3%, and Yorkshire and Humber by 2.3% annually, over the forecast period.

The biggest regional growth will be seen in Wales, which is predicted to grow by almost 6% year-on-year and create as many as 5,320 jobs in the next five years.

Scotland is expected to see a drop in growth from 2% to 1.1% over the next five years, as a result of completed infrastructure projects associated with the re-development of the M8 and the Commonwealth Games, but infrastructure investment remains at historic levels.

Demand is projected to be strongest for construction trades supervisors (2.9% a year on average), for the professional occupations strongest growth is likely for architects and surveyors (both 2.3% a year on average), and for trades, leading the way is plant operatives (2.1%) and bricklayers and building envelope specialists (both 2%). Demand is also expected to be strong for logistics personnel (2.2%).

Steve Radley, CITB’s Director of Policy and Strategic Planning, said: “Employers will need to pull every lever available to them to meet the skills challenge they face but government can play a vital role in giving them the confidence to invest in training for the long-term.

“CITB is already identifying future skills needs and working with government and industry on the talent pipeline.

“But to help it plan ahead, industry needs a clear commitment from all political parties in the run up to the General Election that infrastructure projects will be delivered on time and to plan in the next Parliament.”

Government can also help employers to develop the next generation of workers by sending out a clear signal that it will make it as simple as possible for companies of all sizes to invest in apprenticeships.”

The CITB is calling for:

  • Continued commitment from all parties to deliver the National Infrastructure Plan
  • Renewed focus on improving the quality and delivery of careers advice in schools to attract the next generation of construction workers.
  • Government investment in the energy efficiency and retrofit market
  • Industry and government to back CITB’s industry-wide campaign to create clear and accessible pathways into construction for people from all backgrounds.


To download a full copy of the CSN report click here.

Original Source: http://bit.ly/1LdZ0Qy

‘The Great Construction Comeback’

Infographic showing construction industry predictions for the next 5 years

Original Source: http://www.citb.co.uk/research/construction-skills-network/construction-comeback/

Want a job? Construction’s going to add a quarter of a million of them

New forecast claims 224,000 jobs will be added to the construction sector over the five years as the industry gets back on its feet.

Britain’s construction companies will need an extra 224,000 workers over the coming five years as growth returns to the industry across the whole country for the first time since the financial crisis.
The prediction comes in the Construction Industry Training Board’s (CITB) annual survey of the sector’s health, which also forecasts annual year-on-year of 2.9pc out to 2019.
With all regions in the UK set to see growth, the report puts paid to claims that the industry’s recovery is being driven solely by housing demand in London and the South East.

Major infrastructure projects and demand for leisure developments are also driving the recovery, CITB said.

At 44,690 per year, the number of new workers expected to be required is more than 8,000 higher than last year’s prediction – and raises the issue of intensifying the skills shortage in construction. The industry currently employs about 2.6m people.

Steve Radley, policy and strategic planning director at CITB, said: “Our forecast shows that construction is experiencing a major comeback – with a sustained period of growth set to make a positive impact on the wider economy.

“Employers will need to pull every lever available to them to meet the skills challenge they face but government can play a vital role in giving them the confidence to invest in training for the long-term.”

As well as calling on Government to help make apprenticeships in the industry more accessible to companies of all sizes, CITB also wants reassurance from MPs from all parties that planned infrastructure projects will go ahead.




Mr Radley added: “Industry needs a clear commitment from all political parties in the run-up to the General Election that infrastructure projects will be delivered on time and to plan in the next Parliament.”

chart (4)

According to the report, the strongest growth will come in private housing and commercial construction, both averaging 4.6pc until 2019.

Infrastructure will see growth of 2.4pc. The report notes that while this does not seen large, but points out that a number of major projects including Crossrail are due to complete during the period.

Public housing is also expected to grow at 2.4pc.

Original Source: http://bit.ly/15NUXKw

IPAF to focus on machine pre-start inspections at Intermat

Mobile elevating work platforms (MEWPs) are one of the safest ways to perform temporary work at height and the International Powered Access Federation (IPAF) is urging the industry to keep the use of this equipment safe by ensuring that pre-start inspections are done before starting any work.

This is the message that IPAF is highlighting at the Intermat construction show from 20 to 25 April 2015 in Paris, France, at stand E5 G005.

51d06aa0a8Pre-start inspections help keep MEWP operations safe, as IPAF will show at Intermat

In addition to demonstrations showing how to carry out a pre-start inspection, IPAF will feature its latest safety videos which provide visual tours of how to conduct pre-start inspections for scissor lifts (mobile verticals, 3a) and booms (mobile booms, 3b). Each video lasts about 10 minutes and is currently available in English (UK and US), German, French, Italian, Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese and Chinese.

The not-for-profit Federation will also promote its range of resources on the subject of inspections, including the popular inspection key tags, which provide a handy reminder of points to cover for pre-start and workplace inspections.

IPAF will also hold several member meetings during Intermat, including the IPAF Manufacturers’ Technical Committee meeting and Vehicle Mounted Manufacturers’ meeting. Details at IPAF Events.

Original Source: http://bit.ly/1ylns8h

British builders lose £2bn a year as clients fail to pay

Britain’s army of small and medium-sized building firms lose out on £2bn every year as clients fail to pay for work.

Some 70.5pc of construction companies employing up to 250 staff write off an average of more than £10,000 each year, according to a new report looking at small businesses in the industry.

Businesses of this size make up the vast majority of the UK’s 280,000 construction companies.

The study from Bibby Financial Services and the Vinden Partnership found that annually the entire sector contributes £90bn in gross value added to the UK economy and supports 2.93m jobs.

However, SME builders said late or non-payment was the biggest challenge they faced – ahead of skills shortages and government red tape – with the average amount written off over the past three years coming to £30,465.

Helen Wheeler, Bibby’s managing director of construction finance, said: “Many of the businesses we speak to have suffered bad debt, hindering their ability to pay workers and suppliers. In many instances these bad debts have forced viable businesses to close.”







Almost 60pc of companies said they do not always receive the full amount they invoice for, putting smaller companies under even more pressure as they may not be able to afford the cost of reclaiming the balance through the courts.

Original Source: http://bit.ly/1CrzZgt

HSE Chair on 40th Anniversary of Act

This year will mark 40 years since Health and Safety at Work Act received Royal Assent. Arguably it is one of the best pieces of legislation on the statute books – although we know it is often misunderstood and misinterpreted.

It has protected millions of British workers, and driven sharp reductions in incidents of occupational death, serious injury and ill health.

In 1974, fatalities to employees covered by the legislation in place then stood at 651. The latest figure for 2012/13 was down to 148 for employees and self employed combined. The actual reduction is probably more than this as data for sectors not covered by health and safety law pre 1974 was not collected. In the same time frame (and with the same caveat) non-fatal injuries have dropped by more than 75 percent. There is still room for improvement clearly, but the change in the last 40 years is quite remarkable.

Before the 1974 Act there was a host of different regulations – some industries swamped with prescriptive rules and others with little or no regulation at all. Something needed to be done.

The 1972 Robens Report concluded there were too many regulations and that what was needed was a regulatory regime that set broad, non-prescriptive goals for dutyholders, underpinned by a fundamental principle: ‘those that create risk are best placed to manage it’.

The Act that emerged from his review swept away detailed and prescriptive industry regulations; it created a flexible system where regulations describe goals and principles, supported by codes of practice and guidance. Based on consultation and engagement, the new regime was designed to deliver a proportionate, targeted and risk-based approach.

Forty years on this approach still applies. Despite having diversified away from an economy based predominantly on heavy industry and manufacturing, much of the original vision and framework of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 remains relevant. The principles have been applied time and again to new and emerging technologies and sectors. The legacy is a safety record envied around the world.

Much of our current reform agenda is aimed at: stripping out unnecessary or duplicated regulation and helping smaller businesses to understand how to take a proportionate approach to managing their risks – but the basic principles remain the same.

Forty years on the Health and Safety at Work Act has demonstrated it can be applied to new responsibilities and new demands, creating the framework for people to come home safe and well from a day’s work in any sector of the economy.

Original Source: http://www.hse.gov.uk/news/judith-risk-assessment/40th-anniversary-of-act.htm

BP confirms 300 job cuts

The oil company BP is to cut 200 jobs and 100 contractor roles following a review of its North Sea operations.

It is believed that most of the cuts will be onshore. The company expects a relatively small number of compulsory redundancies.

Staff at BP’s North Sea headquarters in Aberdeen have been briefed about the plans.

BP currently employs 3,500 people in the North Sea, with a further 11,000 elsewhere in the UK.

The oil giant announced a major restructuring in December in response to the fall in the world oil price, which has halved in recent months.

BP said it needed to respond to “toughening market conditions”. The company has been downsizing since the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.

The recent oil price reduction “has simply made this even more imperative”, it said.

Deepwater HorizonBP has been downsizing since the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010

Trevor Garlick, regional president for BP North Sea, said: “We are committed to the North Sea and see a long term future for our business here.

“However, given the well-documented challenges of operating in this maturing region and in toughening market conditions, we are taking specific steps to ensure our business remains competitive and robust, and we are aligning with the wider industry.

“Whilst our primary focus will be on improving efficiencies and on simplifying the way we work, an inevitable outcome of this will be an impact on headcount and we expect a reduction of around 200 staff and 100 contractor roles.


“We have spoken to staff and will work with those affected over the coming months.”

Last month, BP announced that plans to cut hundreds of jobs within its back-office departments – many of them based in the UK and US – would be accelerated. The restructuring is expected to cost £640m in the coming years.

The price of a barrel of oil dropped to a low of about $46 earlier this week from a peak of about $115 last summer. It currently stands at about $48.

Oil prices hit record highs above $147 a barrel in July 2008 – but as the global economic crisis began to bite, they plummeted to around $30 in December of the same year before rising sharply again.

BP is the latest in a string of North Sea operators to announce job losses, with Shell cutting 250 jobs last August, and Chevron losing 225 in July.

Some, including the Wood Group and Chevron, have announced salary freezes for staff and pay cuts for contractors.

Even before oil prices started to fall, the industry had said it needed to address high costs, which included the number of contractors on large, often six-figure salaries.

Original Source: http://bbc.in/1ASHN9e


London construction costs hit new heights

It now costs more to build in central London than anywhere else in the world.

The average cost of construction in central London is now higher than Switzerland, the most expensive country in the world to build, according to the 2014 International Construction Costs Report.

The annual study by construction consultant Arcadis benchmarks building costs in 43 countries. The strength of sterling relative to the euro and accelerating price inflation have seen the cost of building in the UK overall increase significantly, while the continuing devaluation of the yen has led to the relative cost of building in Japan drop below that of the USA.

Central London ranks top in the relative cost league, reflecting high specification levels seen in many London developments and the fact that the UK construction industry has never been as productive as in the USA and mainland Europe, with legal frameworks and capability to deliver the schemes causing major delays, Arcadis said.

There has been significant cost inflation in London over the past year, Arcadis said, because of an acceleration of client demand in assets such as prime residential, which are reaching a capacity ceiling.

While established high-cost locations Switzerland and Denmark have held their places at the top of the cost league, European countries dominate the top 10. This is due, in part, to a degree of economic recovery, which is gradually translating into contractors putting up their prices. Elsewhere, currency devaluation in many emerging markets means that relative costs have dropped considerably in these areas. Costs in India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam are now around 35% less than that of the UK.

Arcadis head of strategic research Simon Rawlinson said: “The cost of construction in London has been heavily impacted by high specification levels in many of the city’s developments, topped off by the fact that its prime residential property is reaching a capacity ceiling, leading to significant cost inflation over the past year. This is bolstered by the UK construction industry being much less productive than its US and European peers and the fluctuation in global currencies, especially the strength of the Sterling relative to the Euro. Given that this is unlikely to cease, the UK is forecast to grow around three per cent in 2015.

“Extending beyond the UK, growing economic stability in parts of the Eurozone has led to European nations dominating the top 10 for building costs. This is at the expense of some Asian states such as Singapore, Macau and Japan, where currency devaluations have seen them drop down the rankings. Japan, in particular, has seen the relative cost of construction fall considerably over the last year and the market is now more competitive than that of the United States.”

Original Source: http://bit.ly/1IBaKKA