News

Member and industry related news to help keep you up to date in the areas of trade, health and safety, training and funding.

6th October 2020

Cement and concrete industry leaders convene online to discuss ‘building the sustainable world of tomorrow’

Industry leaders, CEOs and key stakeholders gather online to progress work to achieving ambition of carbon neutral concrete at third annual GCCA Conference

CONSTRUCT has been invited to attend the Global Cement and Concrete Association’s (GCCA) 3rd Annual Conference to discuss Building the Sustainable World of Tomorrow. CONSTRUCT’s Manager, Dave Campbell, will attend the conference alongside more than 400 cement and concrete industry delegates, CEOs, experts and key stakeholders from around the world.

Running from 6-7 October 2020, the virtual conference has been organised to discuss the industry’s role in ‘building the sustainable world of tomorrow’ – the focus and title of the two-day event.

The conference follows the milestone announcement last month (September) of the GCCA’s Climate Ambition 2050, which outlines the industry’s aspiration to deliver society with carbon neutral concrete by 2050.

Dinah McLeod, GCCA Chief Executive said: “Our global conference provides a great opportunity to discuss the next steps in achieving our ambition to drive down the CO2 footprint of concrete, the world’s most used material after water. Concrete is crucial to building the sustainable and prosperous world of tomorrow, and how we achieve that is at the heart of our discussions.

“We have gathered some of the best and brightest minds within the industry and from key stakeholders to address this vital challenge.”

Moderated by renowned broadcaster Gavin Esler, the conference included a keynote presentation from Dr. Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency on industry transition to a low carbon future, with key contributions over the two days including Pratima Rangarajan, Chief Executive of OGCI Climate Investments, and high-level stakeholder organisations including WeMeanBusiness, and the IUCN Global Business and Biodiversity Programme, as well as cement and concrete industry CEOs.

Delegates also discussed health and safety, best practices and reporting, thought leadership and resilience, and the role of innovation in building a more sustainable world.

Dinah McLeod added: “The conference showed the progress we have made on our global industry roadmap which will define the actions our industry will take towards delivering a carbon neutral future. Our roadmap outlines the need for cooperation with governments, policymakers, stakeholders and other industries to achieve this important ambition for the world.

The Conference coincides with the GCCA’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) to be held on the 8 October.

A full list of GCCA conference speakers is listed below. For more information please visit the conference website.

Full list of GCCA conference speakers:

  • Dr. Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency
  • Pratima Rangarajan, Chief Executive, OGCI Climate Investments
  • Jan Jenisch, Chief Executive, LafargeHolcim
  • Daniel Balthasar, Senior Portfolio Manager and Head of Basic Industries & Utilities, Norges
  • Mahendra Singhi, Managing Director and Chief Executive of Dalmia Cement (Bharat) Limited
  • Dr. Dominik Von Achten, Chief Executive, Heidelberg Cement
  • María Mediluce, CEO, We Mean Business
  • Gerard Bos, Director of IUCN Global Business and Biodiversity Programme
  • Araceli Fernandez Pales, Senior Energy Analyst, International Energy Agency

 

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1st October 2020

Form Tie Systems – Health & Safety Awareness

CONSTRUCT has teamed up with member, DYWIDAG, to offer toolbox talks on Form Tie Systems.

We are looking to raise awareness amongst the construction workforce to ensure that the appropriate checks are carried out when using form tie systems. Form Tie Systems are a specified product and as such are designed to high degrees of tolerances with high safety factors to ensure safe operations of formwork systems, and more importantly the safety of everyone on site. By not using an approved system there is a potential of failure which can result in serious injury. To avoid the dangers please
check:

  • Is the bar cross section free of damage?
  • Are the threads clean and undamaged?
  • Corrosion: can any rust be removed with a wire brush?
  • Are all elements of the system compatible?
  • Datasheets: does the product match the specification?
  • Are there test certificates available?

By putting checks and procedures in place the chance of dangerous and costly failures is vastly reduced.

To book a short toolbox talk, either on site or via video link please contact either Dave Campbell or Neale Beardsley.

To find out more, view our poster.

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29th September 2020

GCCA joins world leaders at United Nations Secretary-General’s high-level roundtable on climate action

The Global Cement and Concrete Association (GCCA) was invited to participate in the UN Secretary-General’s high-level roundtable on climate action, joining world leaders as a part of the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly.

As the climate crisis continues to impact on the world, UN Secretary-General António Guterres convened a roundtable of around 20 global leaders from government, business and finance and civil society, to discuss the bold climate actions they are taking and their ambitions for a better future.

Dinah McLeod, GCCA Chief Executive, participated in the roundtable to discuss how the cement and concrete industry is aligning on long-term strategies, recovery and stimulus opportunities and its ambition to achieve greater carbon neutrality.

The GCCA recently announced its Climate Ambition 2050, to demonstrate the commitment of the cement and concrete industry to drive down the CO2 footprint of the world’s most used material after water, with the aim of delivering society with carbon neutral concrete by 2050.

At this pivotal moment of climate action, Climate Ambition 2050 is a critical milestone for the industry, marking the first time it has come together globally to state a collective ambition for a carbon neutral future. It also builds on the longstanding climate commitments and sustainability progress of the industry as it works toward the long-term sustainability of concrete, as a vital building material.

Dinah McLeod, GCCA Chief Executive said: “Our industry is committed to ensuring the long-term resilience, prosperity and sustainability of our planet. Tackling climate change is a fundamental part of our approach, as we seek to play a role in creating a carbon neutral world whilst providing an essential material for economic recovery and ongoing sustainable development. We believe the way to respond to the current crisis is to ‘build back better’ and our focus remains on creating a more sustainable future world.”

The virtual roundtable focused on highlighting six climate positive actions to support a better recovery in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Leaders discussed the numerous social and economic benefits of a sustainable recovery with the aim of creating a more resilient, carbon neutral future.

More on the GCCA Climate Ambition 2050 and the 2050 Concrete Roadmap can be found on the GCCA website.

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23rd September 2020

CONSTRUCT Interviews Paul Kirkbride of PERI on Health & Safety During COVID-19

Intro: PERI is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of formwork and scaffolding, yet it is still owned by the founding family. Field Services Manager Paul Kirkbride reflects on how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted health and safety issues in the industry.

 

Have you seen changes to health and safety practices in the workplace, due to COVID-19?

In my experience, health and safety onsite is not very different to how it was before the pandemic. The main differences I’ve seen have been the use of one-way systems onsite; in some canteens, areas have been partitioned off and outdoor tables will have fewer people seated at them. On the sites I’ve visited, there has been no requirement for wearing masks, except when it’s obligatory for a task like using a grinder or cutting concrete. I also haven’t seen any restrictions on the number of people allowed onsite.

At PERI, we’ve put measures in place to make sure our products can be used within social distancing guidelines. For example, operatives can erect scaffolding structures whilst maintaining a safe 2m distance where possible. Onsite there are hand sanitation facilities everywhere but there is no shaking of hands, as you normally would, even though we are wearing gloves anyway.

But I think the lack of obvious changes is due to the improvements that have been made on that front in construction over the last few years. I don’t think that COVID-19 has prompted a massive jump forward in health and safety standards because the standards were improving anyway. It’s difficult to improve on something that is already at a high level.

 

What have been the biggest challenges for the industry since lockdown began?

Social distancing onsite can be very difficult. Another issue is travelling to and from the site. People are being encouraged to use their own vehicles where they can, rather than public transport. But for those workers who need to travel to inner city sites, I think it’s certainly easier now than it was earlier in the year. When I’ve travelled on the London underground, there have been no problems with social distancing or crowding. Construction workers tend to have earlier starts and later finish times than other industries, so they may miss the rush hour.

 

Has the coronavirus pandemic brought about any unexpectedly positive changes?

Not that I’ve seen in my particular role, but I would say that the increase in people working from home is an improved working practice. There has been less travelling, less stress and possibly an improved output when people work from home. At PERI we have migrated to Microsoft Teams for online meetings and phone calls; we’ve held Concrete Frame Training Forum (CFTF) meetings via Zoom, which means that people are taking less time out to travel. Sometimes people want face-to-face meetings, but perhaps we’ll see people working in the office for, say, three days a week – which would have a good environmental impact too. We’ve proved people can work at home as effectively as they can at the office, which is definitely a positive change. We have been doing online customer introductions, product presentations and demonstrations, even internal training has been carried out via webinars – eliminating travel time and utilising employees’ time effectively.

 

Has COVID-19 changed your approach to mental health issues at work?

At PERI, we have a mental health helpline that people can ring for assistance and there are mental health first aiders in each office. Many people, especially men, are often reluctant to talk about mental health issues. But if you can get people talking, that’s really good. Sometimes, just to have somebody listen is a big help.

Personally speaking, I was on furlough for four months and at times it was quite challenging, mentally. I was in constant contact with my team and was updated regularly on the situation. Although I was still speaking to people at work, I wasn’t actually seeing my colleagues. I was lucky in that I had my family at home with me, but I would imagine that people who were living on their own may have found it extremely difficult.

There was a lot of information coming out of CONSTRUCT, from the HS&E manager Dave Armsworth, all about mental health awareness. I think that CONSTRUCT have done a really good job on mental health.

 

Looking forward, what are the main challenges facing the industry?

There may have to be a new norm in terms of office-based personnel working at home. Perhaps not all the time, because I think we still need some degree of personal interaction, but people may work in the office less often and with staggered schedules. However, this new approach can only be achieved by people who have an environment at home where they can work successfully. It will be much more challenging for people who don’t have a spare room to turn into an office, or who have young children to look after, for example.

Maintaining standards of social distancing will also be challenging over time, although personally I can see masks becoming a normal part of PPE.

 

What other benefits have you seen from being a member of CONSTRUCT?

The amount of information that has been distributed amongst members did increase during lockdown and it was all useful, so it would be great if that could continue at the same level in the future. When we have meetings, the sharing of information even among competitors has been pretty good. Any details that people share about things that have happened on their site are not used in a negative fashion – it just helps to make others in the industry aware of issues, so perhaps they can change their work practices too. That is valuable and I would like to see that continue.

You can download the interview here.

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27th July 2020

CONSTRUCT Launches Two Metre Hardhat Sticker Campaign During COVID-19

The Trade Body for concrete structures has launched a campaign to help encourage 2m social distancing on construction sites across the UK.

CONSTRUCT’s bright hardhat stickers feature the 2m distance rule in order to embed new behaviours on site while social distancing measures are in place.

The stickers act as a visual reminder for operatives to keep them and those around them safe on site.

While the Government in England has moved to the ‘one metre plus’ rule, the guidance remains to keep at least two metres apart where possible, to help stop the transmission of COVID-19.

The stickers are in line with Government advice and the Site Operating Procedures (SOP) published by the Construction Leadership Council (CLC).

The stickers include a link to CONSTRUCT’s COVID-19 information hub for both workers and companies on the latest information and support.

The hardhat stickers are free to order and available to CONSTRUCT members and non-members alike. Order by emailing enquiries@construct.org.uk with the quantity, contact information and delivery details.

Be part of the campaign by posting on social media and tagging @CONSTRUCT_CSG on twitter or use #2mHardHat

Visit www.construct.org.uk/covid19 for all the latest guidance and support in regards to COVID-19.

CONSTRUCT Chairman, Neil Marney said:

“Implementing social distancing measures on site is a massive challenge for our industry, particularly on sites with cramped working conditions.

“All our members and clients are working together to implement the SOP, but behavioural change is key to every worker playing their part to keep them, workmates and families safe from COVID-19.

“Our hardhat stickers are a simple yet effective way to give a regular reminder to everyone on site to keep their distance where possible.”

CONSTRUCT Trade Association Manager, Dave Campbell said:

“Our hardhat campaign is part of a huge effort to keep our members’ workforce safe in the ever-changing landscape of this pandemic.

“We have pivoted our efforts to help contractors make sense of the flood of information from Government, clients, CITB, to name a few.

“We’ve opened up the stickers for free to all of industry – not just members – because we recognise that to beat COVID-19, every contractor on a site needs to adhere to social distancing.”

You can download the press release here.

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22nd July 2020

CONSTRUCT Lobbies to CITB for a Second Time to Support Member Training Activity

CONSTRUCT has written to CITB for the second time, requesting additional measures to increase access to funding, speed up grant claims, and ensure crucial standard development work continues ready for the ramping up of training in the months to come. You can read the full letter here.

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24th March 2020

CONSTRUCT Calls for Coordinated Measures to Support Construction Workforce

Download the PDF press release here.

 

CONSTRUCT Concrete Structures Group has written to card schemes, awarding organisations and
CITB calling for a flexible, coordinated approach to ensure the construction industry’s workforce can
continue to operate in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

These measures include accepting expired cards on sites for a temporary period, extensions to
qualification deadlines and measures to ease cash flow through grants and levy reduction.
With construction sites using card schemes including CSCS, CPCS and NPORS to permit access for
only qualified and trained operatives onsite, the pandemic poses a number of issues for the
application and renewal of cards, completion of qualifications and cash flow relating to levies and
grants.

 

CONSTRUCT has welcomed statements from the card schemes in response to the pandemic, but in
most cases, these do not go far enough to support industry.

 

CONSTRUCT has called for all card schemes to coordinate their advice, with clear guidance issued
to main contractors to ensure construction workers can continue to access site where they have been
unable to renew expiring cards.

 

The Health Safety & Environment (HS&E) Test – which underpins card schemes with their occupation
qualification – CONSTRUCT wants administered remotely while test centres are closed.
CONSTRUCT wants Awarding Organisations such as NOCN and City & Guilds – who award
qualifications such as NVQs and provide End-Point Assessments for apprenticeships – to look at
flexibility in extending deadlines to ensure operatives can complete their studies.

 

CITB have been asked to process grant claims quickly and work with Government to look at
temporary levy payment holidays and deferral options, with the latter similar to tax payment deferrals
announced by the Chancellor.

 

Neil Marney, CONSTRUCT Chairman said:

 

“This pandemic is an unprecedented and unknown threat to CONSTRUCT members’ workforce and
our businesses survival.

 

“Our primary focus is always to ensure that the workforce is healthy and safe, but where they can
continue work, CSCS and all affiliated schemes need to offer a single and coordinated message to
the primary contractors.

 

“Our employees must be able to gain access to site and continue to work, even if the assessment and
renewal systems cannot work as normal, with the temporary measures applied in a consistent way
across the construction industry.

 

Steve Hammond, Chairman of CONSTRUCT’s Concrete Frame Training Forum, said:

 

“Training is grinding to a halt as providers cancel provision, and since the Prime Minister’s
announcement on tougher measures, we will see a total shut down of the system.

 

“Where our teams are able to keep building, we must provide flexibility in the system so we do not
lock out skilled operatives and we retain our investment in the workforce of the future – our
apprentices”.

 

Dave Campbell, CONSTRUCT Trade Association Manager, said:

 

“Margins are tight at good times in construction, so every agency and organisation that can help
construction keep building, must take the necessary measures to do so.

 

“CITB has an opportunity to ensure our members are given the support they need for training that has already taken place, and to support the retention of apprentices by bringing forward grant.

 

“But crucially, CITB needs to help keep our members’ cash flow as healthy as possible by not
collecting levy in the short-term and deferring payments in the medium to long-term.

 

“Companies can only pay grant if they stay trading – our survival is CITB’s survival.”
You can also read the letters issued by CONSTRUCT below:
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19th March 2020

CONSTRUCT support surrounding COVID-19

The impact of the Coronavirus or COVID‐19 has accelerated significantly, with the Prime Minister asking everyone to avoid non‐essential contact with others and unnecessary travel. We know that actions so far and the potential for a ‘lockdown’ are causing serious concern for every member, and across the whole of the construction industry.

Build UK members are reporting that the majority of their sites are operating, and that they will continue to do so unless they are told to otherwise.

During this period, CONSTRUCT wants to ensure that the information we provide is consistent across the construction industry, so through our membership of Build UK, we will work with them, the CLCCITBCECA and FMB, so that we will share all information and use our resources effectively to avoid duplication.

A letter has been sent to the government, signed by all parties calling for additional support for the industry, including:

  • Ensures all construction sites across the UK are able to remain open, as long as they are able to do so responsibly.
  • Instruct all public sector construction clients to continue to pay their contractors and supply chain.
  • Consider implementing financial measures, such as the deferral of  VAT & PAYE payments, that will reduce the burden on business and keep cash moving as long as possible.

You can read the full letter here.

CONSTRUCT are also making approaches Awarding Organisations, CPCS and CSCS about further flexibility in the renewal and new application of cards and qualifications, to ensure that operatives can continue to work in the light of training and assessments being suspended during this any ‘lockdown’.

CSCS has released information the steps they are taking during this period, including requesting leniency of access on site where they have not been able to sit the HS&E Test, and they have extended the grace period for renewal from 6 to 12 months.

CONSTRUCT members do have access to expert advice as part of their membership, including:

  • Health & Safety
  • Training 
  • Contractual and Legal
  • Employment & HR
  • Credit Checks
Members have been provided with the relevant contact information via email to access these services, or please contact us on 0844 249 1355 or email enquiries@construct.org.uk if you need assistance

Like many of our members, CONSTRUCT’s office based staff will now be working from home and all external meetings and engagements are being rearranged.

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27th February 2020

Bookings Open for CONSTRUCT Day 2020

Bookings are now open for CONSTRUCT Day 2020, which will be held on Friday 25 September! This year, the event is set out to be bigger and better than ever, as we are excited to announce that the event will be held at the spectacular London venue, Tobacco Dock. Located just east of the City of London, Tobacco Dock is one of the capital’s biggest venues and is the perfect location to hold the highly anticipated annual event. To book places at CONSTRUCT Day, please complete our booking form and return to enquiries@construct.org.uk.

With our new venue, there are now more opportunities to promote your brand in front of the industry’s key players. Tobacco Dock offers a vast range of branding opportunities throughout the venue, so with our various sponsorship packs you can get your company name seen by all! CONSTRUCT Day is a sell out event with over 600 guests in attendance, and offers an excellent opportunity to be associated with best practice in the sector, as well as raising your profile. To find out more about sponsoring CONSTRUCT Day, take a look at the Sponsorship Pack. If you have any questions or are interested in getting involved, contact Megan Gee.

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24th February 2020

Member Interview Series: Phil Petz – Byrne Bros

CONSTRUCT recently interviewed Phil Petz, Director of Byrne Bros. Phil discusses various challenges that the sector are facing today, such as the reduction of embodied carbon in concrete by the use of polymers and de-skilling work by using standard systems. Read the full interview to also find out Phil’s opinions on how common standards can support the sector and how partnering between main contractors and Tier 2 contractors could be improved. You can access the full interview here.

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