UK Construction Week unveils its latest surprises

WITH the final touches to next week’s UK Construction Week (UKCW) show now in place, the organisers are issuing a final reminder for visitor registrations.

Billed as construction’s largest industry event, the organisers are expecting more than 30,000 people at the show next week, from Tuesday to Thursday at the NEC in Birmingham.

Among the latest speakers to be confirmed, Lord Digby Jones, a cross bench peer in the House of Lords, former head of the CBI, developer, and lover of construction will be wading into the Brexit debate on day one, on Wednesday 9 October. He will be part of the session on ‘Brexit boom or bust? Industry Economic Forecast 2020’ on the main stage in Hall 12.

Also, on day two, the new construction minister Nadhim Zahawi MP is also set to make his first industry appearance. Advanced booking is being advised for both these events.

This year’s UKCW also promises some big numbers, including more than 300 expert speakers,150 hours of free CPD, a celebration of 98 industry role models, 500 exhibitors and new product launches, and more than 30 major new innovations on display in the Innovation Zone, from brick laying robots to crane simulators, from quieter and more efficient heat technologies to new software.

As part of a major focus on MMC (modern methods of construction), there are also full-scale builds at the show, a SIPS panel home, a factory-finished modular bathroom pod for the high-end hotel sector, ground breaking systems like Project Etopia, and offsite solutions for the education sector.

Nathan Garnett, event director at UKCW said: “UKCW opens in just a few days with a greater diversity of features than ever before, including innovation zones with over 50 brand new products from well-known brands and start-ups, a Wellbeing Information Zone, cycling and sporting challenges, an electric vehicle arcade, awards and construction summits, all on top of the trade show and major seminar programme you would expect.

“With Brexit drawing closer by the day, we also have packed the show full of practical advice on how to adapt and take the opportunities around over the coming months. It is well worth  a day of your time to see what you can learn from the event. It’s a place where business gets done, new contacts are made and the networking is fantastic. If you have yet to RSVP, it’s time to get your skates on.”

The usual printed show guide is being switched for an environmentally friendly app as part of UKCW‘s sustainability push. To help reduce single-use plastic, free water fountains will be installed around the show and 3,000 reusable bottles will be made available to visitors. And to offset the carbon footprint of the show, UKCW is planting 2,500 trees.

UKCW is one event with many sections, including Build sponsored by Easy-Trim, Building Tech, Civils, Energy and HVAC, Surface and Materials, and Timber. It also features Concrete Expo (8-9 October only) and Grand Designs Live (9-10 October only). Single registration gives free access to all areas of the show. Pre-booking is also strongly recommended for the extensive seminars and CPD programme.

Last minute tickets are still available via the website www.ukconstructionweek.com

CEA announce new recruit to the CESAR network team

THE Construction Equipment Association (CEA) has announced the appointment of Clive Harris as a consultant to help deliver the new specialist police unit to combat construction and agricultural equipment crime.

He was formerly the Agricultural Vehicle Specialist for leading insurers NFU Mutual and an insurer representative on the CESAR Review Committee which supervised the work of the successful official plant marking and registration scheme, CESAR.

CEA Chief Executive, Rob Oliver welcomed the appointment; “We have worked with Clive for some years over which time he has been the source of excellent advice and support on plant theft and insurer issues. The opportunity for him to join “Team CEA” was too good to miss. He will help manage the relationship between the insurance sector, the police and other stakeholders in relation to the CESAR programme.

"This comes at an important time in the run-up to the creation of a new police resource to build on the work of the old PANIU organisation which suspended operations earlier this year.”     

Stephen Howarth, AEA Economist also commented on Clive’s new role: “Clive has an unparalleled knowledge and experience of the issues around security and theft of machinery and of the partnership between the industry and the police to minimise the risks. I can’t think of a better person to take on this role, which should ensure that the new police unit will make an effective contribution to reducing the impact of rural crime.”

Clive Harris added: “I am delighted at having been given the opportunity to continue working with the CEA, AEA and all CESAR stakeholders to make a positive contribution.

"We live in a world of constant change and the suspension of PANIU was disappointing. However, I am confident that the current work going on behind the scenes will create a very strong successor to challenge plant, construction and qgricultural vehicle theft, taking it to the next level through stronger alliances.”

Keith Dolbear, Chair of the CEA’s CESAR Review Committee confirmed, “Whilst the details concerning the formation of a new dedicated police unit are being worked through, the industry can continue to call on the expertise of the CESAR team. This includes the 24/7 “hotline” and the continuing links with police forces up and down the country. Support for the CESAR scheme and its growing number of applications has never been stronger."

www.thecea.org.uk

GAP Event Services celebrating at The Showman’s Show 2019

GAP Hire Solutions, the UK’s largest independent equipment rental company, has been commemorating its 50th anniversary throughout the year, and the company’s award-winning Events Services team are continuing the celebration at this year’s Showman’s Show 2019.

Not only are GAP’s Events team celebrating the Group’s 50th birthday, but 2019 also marks five years since the Event Services division was formed and officially launched at 2014’s edition of the show.

The Showman’s Show 2019 is being held at Newbury Showground in Berkshire on 16 and 17 October and GAP’s Events Services team will be at Stand 180 on Avenue C. The annual event is a complete exhibition of products, services and entertainment for the outdoor, festival and special events industries, attracting an average of 4,500 visitors. This will give GAP’s specialist team the opportunity to showcase their product and service offering and reach key players and markets.

GAP’s Event division offers full installation services and 24/7 access to specialist project management resources for event organisers across the UK. From February 2019 to the end of August 2019 the team supplied to and supported 310 events, with 144 of them taking place in the month of August alone. There are numerous and various types of events GAP’s team can and have supplied for including marathons and other sporting events, concerts and festivals.

GAP was awarded the contract to supply all fencing and barriers for the European Championships in Glasgow 2018. Read their case study on the event here.

This year GAP’s stand will have an emphasis on introducing their newest product, front of stage barriers; a heavy duty, temporary barrier system ideal for high-level crowd control. The cost-effective system has most recently been hired from GAP by productions such as Cotton Clouds Festival in Greater Manchester and Silverstone Circuit in Northamptonshire for the British Moto GP as pictured below.

GAP is constantly releasing and updating new products and services meaning the Events team will showcase a broad range of equipment available for hire including fencing, barriers, ground protection, two-way radios, toilets, plant, tower lights and GPS & GNSS systems.

Daimon Dunhue, Head of GAP’s Events division, commented: “We are very excited to be celebrating the Event division’s fifth birthday as well as GAP’s 50th anniversary at The Showman’s Show next month. We have been inundated with work since our launch as customers trust the GAP name and know that we have the backing of our other divisions and the experience and expertise to deliver to their exact event specifications.

“Our ever-growing team is continuing to go from strength to strength, especially after our SafeHire Event Equipment Hire Company of the Year accolade at the Hire Awards of Excellence in April 2019.”

GAP’s specialist Events team will be available for any questions or enquiries at Stand 180, Avenue C on both the 16 and 17 October so come along and celebrate with GAP Event Services and find out what the team can do for all your event needs.

Register for your free ticket here.

www.gap-group.co.uk

'Simple Brexit visa system needed for construction workers', says FMB

A SIMPLE, flexible migration system for construction workers post-Brexit is essential if the Government is to meet its housing and infrastructure targets, says the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) in response to the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) research report ‘Migration and Construction’ published today.  

Brian Berry, chief executive of the Federation of Master Builders, said: “The CITB report is absolutely right to highlight the barriers facing construction employers needing to employ non-UK workers. The Government needs to look again at its post-Brexit immigration system to make it easier and simpler for small building companies needing to recruit non-UK labour.

"There is currently a serious skills crisis in the building industry which explains why 9% of the construction workforce is made up of EU workers. Given it takes many years to train a high-quality tradesperson there will, in the short term at least, continue be an urgent need to recruit non-UK labour. Without this labour the industry will not be able to deliver the homes and key infrastructure projects that are needed to underpin the UK’s national productivity and growth."
 
“The current non-EU migration system is exceptionally difficult for small employers to engage with taking as long as eight months in some instances to secure specialist tradespeople to come to the UK to work on sites. Most small businesses simply don’t have the time and resources to take that on.

"It would be very damaging just to extend this system to EU workers without seriously reforming it. Extending ‘low skilled’ visas from 12 months to 24 months; allowing non-UK born workers the opportunity to transition to a ‘high skilled’ visa; and the creation of an ‘umbrella sponsorship’ scheme would help ease concerns about how construction companies are going to fill the skills gaps.”

www.fmb.org.uk

A successful demonstration sparks new business at D K Plant Hire

D K PLANT Hire of Aberfeldy, Perthshire has opted for a brace of Volvo compact excavators for the first time, following a successful demonstration by SMT GB’s utility dealer, CS Machinery Sales Ltd.

The machines chosen by the company include a zero swing, two and a half tonne ECR25D and the smaller one and a half tonne EC18D following a competitive demonstration and comprehensive machine evaluation, according to Proprietor Danny Kirk. “We established a very good relationship with Calum Shaw at CS Machinery and opted for the Volvo excavators for the first time, as part of an overall package for equipment,” says Danny. “They certainly have quality built in and, so far, I’ve been delighted with their performance and reliability,” he continues.

Both machines join a comprehensive range of equipment, including; site dumpers, rollers, excavators up to sixteen tonnes in operating weight, tractors and ancillary equipment, which is deployed on either non-operated short and long term hire, or for groundwork and landscaping contracts undertaken by D K Plant Hire.

The ECR25D is the smallest zero swing model in the Volvo compact excavator range, and is powered by a 1.1 litre low emission engine, developing 21hp. With an operating weight of 2.5 tonnes, the ECR25D is available with a choice of short or long dipper arm, giving a reach of either 4.48 metres or 4.77meters, and a dig depth measuring from 2.67 metres to a generous 2.96 metres.

The zero swing excavator design provides exceptional stability, and is ideal for working in confined spaces. Simultaneous control of slew and offset movements provides faster, more precise performance. All hydraulic functions are also performed in total independence, for more control and less delay when handling multiple tasks. An added bonus is the ability to operate the wide range of hydraulic attachments using proportional control, if required.

Both machines feature automatic two-speed travel, automatically shifting gear from high to low, according to the travel load. The EC18D also has a hydraulically extendable undercarriage as standard. Hammer/shear lines are also a standard feature on Volvo compact excavators.

Established eight years ago by Danny Kirk, DK Plant Hire offers comprehensive machine hire, together with a full ground working and landscaping service covering the whole of Scotland, based at Aberfeldy in Perthshire.

CS Machinery Sales Ltd is headed up by Managing Director Calum Shaw, based at Longman Industrial Estate Inverness, and is SMT GB’s utility dealer for the whole of the north of Scotland.

SMT GB markets Volvo Construction Equipment products, which include; wheeled loaders, articulated haulers, hydraulic excavators, Volvo utility equipment and Volvo road equipment products in Great Britain. There are eight strategically placed Customer Support Centres, a dedicated National Used Equipment Centre and a network of utility equipment dealers, to ensure high quality customer support is maintained throughout the country.

www.smt.network

Construction input needed for Brexit preparations, says FMB

CONSTRUCTION should not be overlooked by the Government in no-deal Brexit preparation says the Federation of Master Builders in response to the construction PMI data published today showing that output in September declined at second-sharpest pace since 2009.

The fall in staffing levels was the sixth in as many months and the strongest since the end of 2010.

Brian Berry, chief executive of the Federation of Master Builders, said: “The construction industry accounts for seven per cent of the UK’s GDP and over three million jobs. Today’s figures, which show the second-sharpest fall in output since 2009 and staffing levels since 2010, should be a concern for us all. With ambitious infrastructure and house building targets, the Government can’t afford to lose any more capacity in this industry.”

“The PMI data picks up on material shortages and bottlenecks already, even before leaving the EU, and this is likely to be a major concern in the event of a no-deal. I urge the Government to work with the industry to ensure that key construction products, critical to the building work this country needs, such as timber, are not held up at ports across the country in a no-deal scenario.” 

Berry concluded: “It is encouraging to see the industry is more optimistic for the next 12 months and I hope that if the Government is able to secure a good exit deal with the EU, then client confidence will rebound, and the industry will start growing again.”

www.fmb.org.uk

Centurion improves its offering of ratchet straps

CENTURION Europe Ltd, one of the UK’s leading independent distributors of DIY and trade products including, hardware, ironmongery, gardening, plumbing and electrical has launched an improved, own-branded range of ratchet straps.

Paul Kantecki, managing director of Centurion commented, “As part of our range reviews we invest in research and development to ensure we offer the best products for our customers and the end user. We were seeing a lot of low quality ratchet straps out in the market, yet they play a vital role, not only in the haulage industry to ensure safe securing of loads but also leisure, farming, construction, storage, travel and transport. This means they have to be able to stand up to the job at the hand.”

Securing any load safely is also a legal requirement. According to the highways agency, in 2015 there were over 4,000 incidents involving ratchet straps. Not using ratchet straps or using old and unsuitable straps can cause loads to fall, which not only causes long traffic delays but also can cause injury and death.

Paul continued: “We worked hard to work with a manufacturer to provide us with a quality range of ratchet straps that would stand up to the rigorous strapping and securing they are designed for. Our range is tested up to load and features the test label which is a legal requirement, clearly detailing the straps' capabilities. We are proud to now have this range of ratchet straps added into the Centurion brand.

Centurion offer four grades of ratchet straps, Light Duty, Medium Duty, Heavy Duty and Commercial. These are all made from strong quality polyester webbing and provide widths of 25mm – 50mm, strength ratings from 750kg to 5,000kg and lengths from 4.5m to 10m. So, whether it be a large object that needs securing to a pallet or keeping your possessions attached to your car, Centurion's range offers a ratchet strap for any application.

As with every product launch, Centurion has also introduced POS and merchandising options for their retail customers, as they understand merchandising the product right in store is important to grow sales.

Centurion also offers a selection of products to complement this range including luggage straps and tarpaulins.

www.centurioneurope.co.uk

Simply Business launches campaign to Stamp Out Tool Theft

SIMPLY Business has launched a campaign to Stamp Out Tool Theft once and for all, after research reveals one in three (37%) tradespeople have had their tools stolen, costing a combined average of £3,005 each in lost earnings (£870) and replacing stolen tools (£2,135).

The small business insurer, which protects over half a million SMEs across the country, is calling on the government to implement greater fines for those convicted of tool theft, as well as tighter regulations on the selling of second-hand tools. The insurer has launched a petition with the aim of attracting 100,000 signatures for the measures to be debated in Parliament. The petition can be viewed here.

To mark the campaign, a mobile billboard was driven to the front door of parliament at 8am today, laying bare the issue of tool theft to the government. The mobile billboard, announcing the petition on behalf of the thousands of victims of tool theft, then travelled to some of the capital’s biggest building sites across Battersea, Nine Elms and Wandsworth. It also stopped off and visited well-known businesses on the way, such as Pimlico Plumbers, Screwfix and Plumbase.

While the on-going Brexit debate has been taking government’s focus away from pressing issues at home, tool theft continues to have a serious impact on the lives of millions of tradespeople every year. 

Well over a third (37%) have fallen victim, while 65% also know someone who has. On average, tool theft costs £870 in lost earnings each. Almost a fifth (18%) lost more than £1,000 in lost earnings.  

Adding to this, the average tools stolen are worth £2,135, costing more than a month’s average real-time earnings. This means the average tool theft costs victims a combined £3,005 on average, taking into account lost earnings and replacing stolen tools. 

Over a quarter (26%) of those surveyed couldn’t work for a few days, while just under a tenth (8%) were unable to work for over a week. 

One in three (33%) had their tools stolen from the building site – either from their van or from the site itself. Almost a fifth (16%) had tools stolen from their van while parked in the street or in a public car park.

Is the government doing enough?

A staggering 84% of tradespeople don’t believe the government is doing enough to prevent tool theft. Just under two thirds (60%) surveyed believe there needs to be greater sentences for thieves, while more than half (55%) believe there should be greater fines for those convicted. 

Over a quarter (28%) of tradespeople believe the sentence for tool theft should be five years in prison, and over one in 10 (15%) believe a £10,000 fine should be imposed.

Half (50%) of tradespeople also believe there should be greater funding for police and police presence on the streets, a third (32%) want to see greater restrictions on the selling of second-hand tools, and a further third (30%) believe there should be more CCTV in place. In addition, one in five (20%) want to see more street lights installed to deter thieves.

Bea Montoya, chief operating officer at Simply Business, said: “Tradespeople are the backbone of Britain, but they’re being stopped in their tracks on a daily basis due to the ongoing tool theft epidemic. Tool theft rips through the lives of thousands of tradespeople and their families every year, with victims losing out on over £3,000 each on average – through lost earnings and replacing stolen equipment. Having their tools stolen doesn’t just impact their ability to work, but it affects their livelihoods too.

“Brexit is having a paralysing effect on British politics, but there are pressing issues at home which urgently need addressing. This is why we’re calling on the government to Stamp Out Tool Theft once and for all. We want to see greater fines imposed on those convicted, as well as tighter regulations on the selling of second hand tools which, because of their high value, are often stolen to sell on the black market.

“Putting these two measures in place will go a long way in combating tool theft, protecting the lives and jobs of millions of tradespeople up and down the country.”

www.get.simplybusiness.co.uk/stamp-out-tool-theft/

Morris Site Machinery makes key appointment

LEADING manufacturer and distributor Morris Site Machinery has appointed Keith Godfrey to the new role of Key Accounts Manager to strengthen links with customers throughout the UK.

Focusing on large, multiple national hire companies and other key customers, he will promote its range of innovative equipment from lighting towers to generators, welders, pumps and pressure washers to show how it can benefit their businesses.

Keith, said: “I’m excited about the challenge and pleased to join a long established family company with a deserved reputation for quality products and customer service. I’m looking forward to getting to know existing customers, developing new ones and building on contacts I have made in the industry.”

Before joining Morris Site Machinery Keith held a similar role with professional cleaning equipment company Karcher UK Ltd, running accounts in the hire and industry sectors.

Keith said: “From my base in Oxford, I will travel around the UK to keep customers up to date on the range of equipment we offer that is built to perform and designed to meet their business needs.

“We are a trusted supplier to major national and independent hire companies, along with rail, events and welding industries and are committed to giving 360 degree support and service. My role underlines the importance we place on delivering the best for our customers.”

Morris Site Machinery is part of a fifth-generation family business group. It manufactures and supplies world leading site machinery brands and products to serve the hire industry across a range of sectors. 

www.morrismachinery.co.uk

The Hultafors Group acquires Custom LeatherCraft

THE Hultafors Group, which owns Snickers Workwear, has acquired Custom LeatherCraft (CLC).

The leading brand in the USA since 1983, CLC is North America’s premier designer, developer and marketer of ‘work gear’ for professional tradesmen and women. It’s a product range that includes softside tool carriers, nail bags, tool pouches plus personal protective equipment.

Custom LeatherCraft (which is more commonly known as CLC in the USA, and as the Kuny’s Leather brand in Canada) prides itself on developing high quality ‘work gear’ that combines innovative design and functionality as well as great value for money.

Peter Dumigan, managing director of the Hultafors Group UK said: “We are delighted with this acquisition given that the CLC ‘work gear’ range complements the Snickers Workwear, Hellberg Safety, Hultafors Tools, Solid Gear and Toe Guard safety footwear product portfolios perfectly." 

"We will now be able to offer the discerning tradesman and woman an even more extensive range of top quality premium brand products, ideally suited to the work they do on site."

www.goclc.com

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