President’ Column (September 2018)

While BCSA steelwork contractors are required to have a fabrication facility in the UK or Ireland that meets stringent quality standards and undergo a competence assessment relating to the company’s work facilities, track record and technical and management experience, there are still some companies out there without the skills, experience and financial standing to be taking on structural steelwork projects.

Who are these companies? On paper, they might look like legitimate steelwork fabricators. Some have ISO 9001, CE Marking certification and have undergone well-known prequalification assessments. But incredibly, they don’t have a fabrication facility at all. Continue Reading →

Does Your Steelwork Contractor Stack Up?

While BCSA steelwork contractors are required to have a fabrication facility in the UK or Ireland that meets stringent quality standards and undergo a competence assessment relating to the company’s work facilities, track record and technical and management experience, there are still some companies out there without the skills, experience and financial standing to be taking on structural steelwork projects.

Who are these companies? On paper, they might look like legitimate steelwork fabricators. Some have ISO 9001, CE Marking certification and have undergone well-known prequalification assessments. But incredibly, they don’t have a fabrication facility at all. Continue Reading →

President’s Column (July/August 2018)

BCSA members came together in June for the Association’s Annual General Meeting, National Meeting, and its National Dinner. My President’s address at the dinner focused on commercial and contractual matters, just as readers of this column might expect.

But as well as the opportunity to hear about the work of our Association, discuss current issues, and get together to celebrate our industry, these events gave me the opportunity to reflect on the advantages of being a BCSA member and the myriad of benefits that using a BCSA member provides to clients and main contractors.

Of course, BCSA members are well aware of the benefits of membership, including exclusive access to expert advice, knowledge and programmes that improve our services to clients, reduce commercial risk, and make the workplace safer for everyone. Continue Reading →

President’s Column (June 2018)

I was interested to read a recent opinion piece in the construction press that painted the construction sector as an industry divided on the issue of retentions. A good read, but it completely missed the big picture which is that the construction sector is unanimous that retentions should be abolished. As usual, it’s in the fine print of implementation where there is some disagreement.

The danger with our lack of agreement on implementation is that it will allow the government to sit on its hands and take the ‘do nothing’ path once again. This can’t happen in a post-Carillion world where hundreds of sub-contractors so recently lost retentions to the failed Tier 1 contractor. Continue Reading →

President’s Column (May 2018)

I’ve learnt over the year that my view of the world isn’t shared by everyone else. And when we think about design, that is certainly the case.

From an architect’s perspective, design can be seen as a bridge – one between a client’s vision and the actual form of the structure. When I have met with architects or heard them speak, they have often referred to design as both an art and a science. Then when the design is passed onto the engineer, mathematics, science and modelling dominate, and practical design issues such as buildability, cost and safety come to the fore.

Like engineers, steelwork contractors use modelling to ensure the safety, buildability and cost-effectiveness of the steel structure. But for us, design provides much more than this. Continue Reading →

President’s Column (April 2018)

The UK economy is bumping along, we have read about construction material costs rising across the board, tightening labour availability, and the latest Construction PMI shows subdued growth conditions.

So, what does 2018 and beyond hold for the structural steelwork sector?

Given these general conditions, the outlook is solid – as is the sector itself. In 2017 structural steelwork consumption in the sector was 894,000 tonnes. We did see an easing in consumption last year, but 2018, 2019 and 2020 are forecast for an increase of 1.4%, 2.5% and 2.2% respectively giving total structural steelwork consumption of 950,000 tonnes by 2020. Continue Reading →