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Brexit uncertainty causes another drop in construction output, warns FMB

THE Government and Parliament must break the Brexit deadlock and find a way forward warns the Federation of Master Builder (FMB), in response to the latest Construction PMI data, which shows another drop in construction output.

The March 2019 PMI data revealed an Index score of 49.7, up slightly from 49.5 in February, against the no change threshold of 50.0. This points to a sustained decline in construction output, representing the first back-to-back fall in construction output since 2016. While the residential building sector enjoyed an upturn, commercial construction was the worst performing area.

Commenting on the results, published yesterday morning, Sarah McMonagle, Director of Communications at the FMB, said: “The construction industry is being seriously affected by Brexit uncertainty as evidenced by two very worrying sets of results for construction output in the first quarter of 2019. Businesses have been waiting for politicians to come to some resolution for far too long now, and it’s time that this deadlock was broken. It’s not surprising employers are finding it hard to plan for the future, when we don’t even know when, or indeed if, we’re leaving the EU. These results are a reminder of just how vulnerable the construction industry is to political turmoil as confidence among consumers and contractors continues to wobble.”

McMonagle concluded: “Brexit uncertainty and the construction skills shortage have created a perfect storm in our industry. Around 9% of construction workers in the UK are from EU countries, but we know from speaking to small construction employers that many of these skilled workers are starting to return, whether that’s because of strengthening economies elsewhere, or that they simply don’t feel welcome anymore. This is compounding an already severe construction skills shortage, and I’m worried that the Government’s post-Brexit immigration system will make it even worse. For example, the system will not allow Level 2 tradespeople to live and work in the UK for more than 12 months at a time. At the same time, the Government’s figures last week show that the number of Level 2 apprenticeship starts among our domestic workforce is dropping.

"It’s quite simply not possible to build the homes and infrastructure we need without bricklayers, carpenters and plasterers. The Government and industry must work together to attract more people into the industry, by offering them high quality training with clear career pathways for progression but in the meantime we need sustained access to tradespeople of all skill levels for the industry to continue being open for business.”

Pressure mounts on UK ports to enhance infrastructure capacity ahead of Brexit

DUE to the uncertainty of Brexit and the impact on export and import of goods, UK ports are making preparations to support further checks by customs officers. A common issue for all ports, especially Dover, will be finding the space necessary to do so.

Many UK ports may have to consider temporary warehouses or custom designed modular storage buildings to maximise available space at their ports. This would not only help lower waiting times, but support the surrounding transport congestion areas. Another feasible idea would be to build new customs checkpoint facilities inland, allowing businesses to conduct clearance checks in secure locations away from busy border locations.

Flexibility, agility, capability and dependability are the key factors when looking at warehousing. The benefits of semi-permanent structures include fast design, manufacture and construction, with the flexibility to be adapted, modified, extended or relocated if needed. This allows clients to adapt quickly to change.

The BBC reported that Andrew Baxter, the managing director of the freight logistics company Europa Worldwide, told a House of Commons Committee: “If customs wanted to do a documentary check, that could delay it by up to three hours, and if there was an inspection of the goods, that could delay it by up to five hours.”

Talk of these delay times are alarming for all businesses involved in the import and export of goods, on top of potential increased tariffs. Then there is the issue of providing enough manpower to deal with the additional workload. According to HMRC chief executive Jon Thompson, around £300m will be needed to finance around 5,000 additional customs officials.

The government will also need to boost ongoing projects to improve the country’s road and rail infrastructure, in order to enhance connectivity between ports and the destination of handled freight.

Ian Hindmoor, Managing Director at Rubb Buildings Ltd, a UK manufacturer of custom designed modular storage buildings, commented: “Feedback from our customers suggests that they are planning for the future, to be able to maintain the flow of their production and fulfil the demand from their customers. Rubb storage facilities provide an alternative and sustainable solution to traditional storage warehouses.”

FMB confirm construction output rises despite Brexit uncertainty

THE Government must not be complacent about the damage a ‘no deal’ Brexit would cause amid positive signs of growth in the UK construction industry, says the Federation of Master Builders (FMB).

The released figures on the construction industry were published by the Office for National Statistics in November 2018.

Sarah McMonagle, Director of External Affairs at the FMB, said: “The UK construction sector grew by 2.1 per cent during September to November 2018 compared with the previous three months.

This is despite unparalleled levels of political uncertainty around the very real prospect of a ‘no deal’ scenario.

However, we are urging the Government not to allow these results to create a false sense of security. Since November, political uncertainty has cranked up and is increasing every day.

A growing and prosperous construction sector will be a distant memory if the Government allows the UK to crash out of the EU without a deal in place.”

McMonagle concluded: “The construction industry is also extremely concerned about the Government’s proposed post-Brexit immigration system.

In the Immigration White Paper, published at the end of last year, the Government revealed that they will make few allowances for low skilled workers to enter the UK post-Brexit.

Most tradespeople will be defined as low skilled and therefore will not be permitted to enter the UK, regardless of whether they are from the EU or further afield.

It is crucial that the Government introduces a post-Brexit immigration system that continues to allow us to draw on essential migrant workers or else their house building and infrastructure targets will be totally unachievable.”

Hire advice from industry expert Dan Daintry

IN A SPEECH in February, Prime Minister Theresa May revealed there is more to her Government than Brexit by announcing new measures to boost housebuilding.

The PM’s government also provided alternative methods to deal with the ‘housing crisis,’ such as allowing an extra two storeys to be added to houses and flats.

When developing houses, building companies and tradesmen need to know all about the current market for hiring or buying tools.

In a complex marketplace, it’s essential that they receive expert advice. So step forward PAL Hire’s Director, Dan Daintry, whose nationwide company is at the forefront of the booming sector.

Dan, who is based in Greater Manchester, said: “With the housing market as competitive as it is, more and more people are choosing to renovate their own homes rather than moving house.

“This has led to an increase in projects across the country, which means more people need to hire tools to do the job.

“We all know the importance of having the right tool for the job, but when the job you’re doing might only be a one-off job. Ask yourself, is it really worth paying for a piece of kit you’ll never use again? I don’t think it is.

“This is where hire specialists PAL Hire can help. We provide customers with an access to a wide range of tools and equipment at the fraction of the cost of the purchase.”

Unfortunately for tool manufacturers, the tool hire industry is a casual one and there is no correlation to work off to what hire companies specifically require, as Dan further explained.

He said: “When a customer wants a particular tool, it’s up to a hire firm to have that particular product ready to go.

“That’s why it’s important to have a range of products on standby to deal with covering a whole range of tasks – this can lead to good financial practice.”

Dan also revealed the hire market has always been strong as it allows both domestic and commercial customers to access tools and equipment which they may not have the financial resources to obtain. For these clients, there wouldn’t be any general value in an option to buy.

Dan continued: “With so many industries requiring to hire tools for renovation, landscaping, demolition and construction, people will always require temporary access to job specific equipment. “In short, as long as people are working – there will be people wanting to hire.”

Like most industries, tool hire is a sector trying to improve energy efficiency in order to reduce downtime. Dan believes ‘insider knowledge’ about the hire or sale of tools can mean large cash savings.

He said: “It’s more important to select the right tool for the job and not to pick a cheaper alternative. Also, make sure the job is done properly, and it will cost less in the long term.”

Dan explained that when choosing between buying and hiring, it’s important to consider the following:

  • How often will equipment be used?
  • The full hire price v. outright purchase
  • Delivery costs
  • Finance options - what is the finance rate?
  • When responding to a commercial enquiry, it is also pivotal to understand what the depreciation period is.

Dan’s many years as a leading figure in the sector have shown him that by working together, customers and clients can make the entire hiring process easier.

He concluded: “It’s always easier if customers do their research on what equipment is suitable for the task at hand, and they should always check equipment reviews if they are unsure.”

Hire Sector Vital Enabler for the Infrastructure Investment Announced by Chancellor

The Hire Association welcomes the additional capital investment in national infrastructure announced by the Chancellor. Hire companies are key enablers of construction, homebuilding and infrastructure works.

Clearly, economic uncertainty and weakening consumer demand, plus growing inflationary pressures are impacting on growth expectations and confidence.

Prioritising infrastructure will help to unlock the potential for building new homes, improve connectivity and address congestion pinch points.

Hire employers were surprised at the lack of mention regarding the Apprenticeship Levy - a highly significant new business tax due to start next April. Many of the details remain unclear.

Graham Arundell, Managing Director, HAE EHA said; “The Chancellor's analysis is very much to invest as a buffer against the uncertain times ahead as we approach exiting the EU. At the same time, the hire sector will be a vital component in realising this investment on the ground, whether building new homes, modernising roads and railways, and widening next generation digital connectivity.”

ABUS Brings Security and Price Stability in an Uncertain World

Since the Brexit result in June, from governments down there is international uncertainty concerning the UK’s future trading position.  Uncertainty brings speculation, resulting in the dramatic decline of the value of the £ against both the € and the $.
The £’s decline has already forced many UK suppliers and manufacturers dependent on goods supplied from Europe or China to increase their prices, often with a double digit percentage.

Neither the UK hardware and security market in general nor ABUS in particular are immune from these issues.  ABUS UK is reliant on supply of quality products supplied in €s from Germany, and in $s from our factories in China.

While the current £ v €/$ is cutting very deeply, we are not just ABUS UK, but ABUS and our parent Company fully support the ABUS brand in the UK.

Therefore with ABUS Group support, ABUS UK is pleased to confirm:

ABUS 2016 £ RRPs will remain in place till April 2017,
15 months after our January 2016 RRPs were confirmed.

We therefore pass on this very positive message to our UK distributors:

ABUS now more than ever is the brand to stock.

In a changing and uncertain world, ABUS offers the UK hardware and security market quality and price stability.  For full information on our security solutions please contact ABUS UK:

[email protected]

Telephone: 0117 204 7000

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