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BCSA supports NCE Future of Bridges conference

BCSA is supporting New Civil Engineer’s (NCE) two-day Future of Bridges conference and is able to provide 15% discount to BCSA members.

To book your place please visit the Future of Bridges booking page and enter the discount code BCSA15 when you checkout.

The event, which will be held at the America Square Conference Centre in the City of London on the 25th and 26th November, and will showcase a number of inspiring projects from around the world, and address some sobering lessons from bridge failure. The emphasis will be on learning from the past, pinpointing how we can innovate in the future, first class networking, and examining the ongoing pipeline of projects.

This will be NCE’s first event dedicated to the design, construction and maintenance of bridges. Future of Bridges will bring together an international audience of clients, consultants, contractors, specialists and architects to discuss best practice, materials innovation and sustainable design and construction.

Some key features of the conference include, a dedicated half-day seminar focused on the monitoring and maintenance of existing bridges; a number of talks and panel discussions exploring innovation in materials, access and technology; a meeting place for the key stakeholders in the supply chain – clients, consulting engineers, contractors, architects and specialist suppliers; an in-depth analysis of high profile bridge projects, including existing assets and new builds; and a graduate competition, encouraging young engineers to ‘Design a Carbon-Neutral Bridge’.

Further information please visit the Future of Bridges website.

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 →