Archive | General

Presidents Column (October 2019)

One thing that really raises my blood pressure is hearing politicians using that old chestnut ‘metal bashers’ when in fact nothing could be further from the truth. But it’s sometimes hard for those outside the sector to reconcile their traditional image of the structural steelwork industry with the modern-day reality of digitisation, automation and business process improvement.

In fact, BCSA members are already expert in the use of technology and automation and are always on the lookout for what’s next. And BCSA’s Digital
Technology Working Group continues to investigate new technologies on behalf of the structural steelwork sector.

Software use is integral to the steel fabrication process, supporting activities such as internal knowledge and bid management, project planning, analysis and design, 3D modelling and BIM coordination. Continue Reading →

2019 Structural Steel Design Awards winners announced

The Structural Steel Design Awards have recognised and rewarded many of the best examples of ambition and innovation in our built environment. Now celebrating their 51st year, the 2019 Awards, jointly sponsored by the British Constructional Steelwork Association and Trimble Solutions (UK) Ltd, continue that great tradition. This year’s collection of entries once again demonstrates the excellence achievable with the use of steel, as well as structural and architectural design.

The Judges selected the Award-winning entries from a shortlist of 20, all of which scored highly in terms of efficiency, cost-effectiveness, aesthetics, sustainability and innovation.

The five projects receiving Awards this year were announced at a presentation evening held at LSO St Luke’s, London yesterday (Tuesday 1 October). They include:

The Judges were once again impressed by the remarkably high standard of entries and thought all the shortlisted projects showed merit.

Commendations were awarded to six projects: Battersea Arts Centre, Chiswick Park Footbridge, Fen Court, London, Ingenuity House, Birmingham, Neuron Pod, London and Royal Academy of Music, London.

Merits were awarded to four further projects: G W Annenberg Performing Arts Centre, Greatham Creek Seal Hide, Middlesbrough, Telford Central Footbridges and The Macallan Distillery.

This year’s ‘Project of the year’ award, which went to Tottenham Hotspur Football Club, New Stadium.

Presidents Column (September 2019)

From small acorns grow mighty oaks. This wellknown proverb applies perfectly to the UK’s structural steelwork sector.

BCSA has many substantial member companies who only a generation or two ago were just starting out and are now contributing significant amounts to the UK’s economic growth, productivity improvements and  employment. And BCSA’s small and medium sized member companies are individually and collectively contributing to UK PLC. While some of these companies will continue to remain SMEs, others will grow and become large individual contributors to the economy in their own right.

Or will they? Not if the government persists in bringing in new regulations and taxes that affect SMEs and construction sub-contractors disproportionately.

Continue Reading →

BCSA Calls for Government Review of Reverse Charge VAT Decision

Reverse VAT could send countless construction sub-contractors out of business as their cash flow is sent into negative territory on 1 October this year under government rules that will impose reverse charge VAT on the construction industry.

The British Constructional Steelwork Association (BCSA) joins the 15 UK construction bodies in calling for a six month delay to the implementation of reverse VAT.

BCSA is also asking the government to use this time to review its decision to impose reverse VAT.

BCSA has calculated that for an average subcontractor turning over £15 million, reverse VAT will mean increasing negative cash flows, peaking at £262,500 in month three of the change.

‘This could be the end for many subcontractors who are already experiencing late payment, difficulties in agreeing final payment amounts and other additional costs such as the apprenticeship levy and increased pension contributions’, said Sarah McCann-Bartlett, Director General of the BCSA.

BCSA believes that the government does not fully understand the implications of yet another financial blow to subcontractors and has not communicated the changes sufficiently to industry. This is borne out by data collected by the Federation of Master Builders that shows that over two-thirds of construction SMEs (69%) have not even heard of reverse charge VAT.

‘The potential damage to subcontractors’ cash flow is significant, which is why BCSA is calling for the delay plus a review of the actual decision to impose reverse VAT’, said Sarah McCann-Bartlett.

Presidents Column (July 2019)

I often use this column as a soapbox for issues facing the structural steelwork sector, who wouldn’t? But this month’s column is all about celebration. Celebration of the incredible industry that is structural steelwork. An industry that I’ve worked in for 15 years. When I’m walking around the City of London and look up to see one of the many great buildings I’ve worked on over the years, I feel a rush of pride as I tell myself , I helped create that. And happily for me, I’m able to travel the length and breadth of the UK and more often than not, I will come across one of ‘my’ projects.  Of course, these projects aren’t really mine. They belong to the whole team; from the client to the designers to the specialists who took a concept and made something out of it. They also belong to the people who live, work or play in that building or structure. Every time I cross the Forth, I look at those three beautiful bridges lined up one next to the other. The grandfather, the father and the son. I think of the people who designed them, who built them, and those who maintain them today. All of them servicing a need, and each of them a fantastic piece of engineering and construction in their own right. And they will all still be there, serving our community long after I’m gone. Of course, it would have been far better for UK Plc if the main span of the Queensferry Crossing had been made by a UK steelwork contractor,  see I really can’t keep off my soapbox, because UK steelwork contractors, and in particular, BCSA members, really are the best in the world. Continue Reading →

Presidents Column (June 2019)

I often use this column as a soapbox for issues facing the structural steelwork sector – who wouldn’t? But this month’s column is all about celebration.
Celebration of the incredible industry that is structural steelwork. An industry that I’ve worked in for 15 years. When I’m walking around the City of
London and look up to see one of the many great buildings I’ve worked on over the years, I feel a rush of pride as I tell myself – I helped create that. And happily for me, I’m able to travel the length and breadth of the UK and more often than not, I will come across one of ‘my’ projects.

Of course, these projects aren’t really mine. They belong to the whole team; from the client to the designers to the specialists who took a concept and
made something out of it. They also belong to the people who live, work or play in that building or structure.

Continue Reading →

British Steel Statement

It has been announced that British Steel has gone into compulsory liquidation. The company continues with business as usual while the Official Receiver looks for a buyer. The appointment of the Official Receiver creates a period of stability while a new buyer is sought for the trading business. BCSA’s first thoughts are with British Steel employees. We are hopeful that this key part of the UK’s proud industrial heritage can be saved.

The UK structural steelwork sector is in good shape. Demand for structural steelwork is steady, and UK steelwork contractors have the capacity and capability to deliver the future pipeline of work.

The UK has an efficient and mature stockholder and distribution sector, and steel stocks in the UK remain healthy as stockholders had already been preparing for a no deal Brexit.

The Official Receiver has said that British Steel will continue to trade as normal; taking orders, producing steel and despatching while they look for a buyer. Notwithstanding the current challenges, British Steel continues to be a key supplier to the UK construction sector and the company could return to profitability and have a long-term future should a buyer be found, or necessary funding be secured.

The major European mills supplying steel to the UK, along with other high quality international mills, have the capacity to fully service the needs of the UK structural steelwork market, if required. There are also other UK steel mills producing a variety of other products for the UK construction sector.

The structural steelwork sector and its supply chain will continue to offer the construction sector the high level of service they expect.

Presidents Column (May 2019)

This magazine provides engineers, architects, main contractors and clients with an enormous amount of information, technical guidance, news and case studies every month. It also showcases structural steelwork and shows the industry the range of benefits that designing and building in steel can bring.

Steel’s high strength-to weight ratio delivers the most efficient designs and allows for the design of longer, flexible internal column-free spaces. It also
delivers spectacular buildings and structures with ease. Steel buildings are highly adaptable and flexible, offering future-proofed design solutions.

Steel is the most cost-effective framing material for buildings and structures of all types. Cost savings in steel buildings start at the foundations, where the loads imposed by a steel frame are up to 50% less than those of a concrete alternative. AECOM’s most recent cost study shows that on a typical city centre office building, the frame and upper floors cost of the cellular steel composite beam and slab option was 7% lower than the concrete alternative.

Continue Reading →