YOUR CONSTRUCTION & BUILT ENVIRONMENT SECTOR NEWS
A round up of the main construction and built environment stories from recent months
SCHOOLS TOLD TO SHUT BUILDINGS OVER RAAC CONCRETE
More than 100 schools faced immediate closure at the start of the new term year following a failure of three RAAC concrete planks over the summer, previously classified as non-critical.
Education chiefs issued guidance to teachers, stating: “We have been proactively monitoring all confirmed cases of RAAC closely. Recent cases have led to a loss of confidence in buildings containing the material, leading us to advise education settings (schools, colleges and maintained nursery schools) to vacate all spaces or buildings that are known to contain RAAC, unless they already have mitigations in place to make the building safe.”
Previously 50 schools had been identified as needing mitigations in place this year, including additional funding for temporary accommodation.
A recent report in Construction News says the RAAC failures could be due to poor maintenance, including drilling, hammering or the insertion of tubes through RAAC plank.
RAAC concrete planks has been confirmed in 156 schools, as well as hospital buildings operated by more than 20 NHS trusts.
RIBA FUTURE TRENDS SURVEY 2023
Each month RIBA Architecture issues a Future Trends update, monitoring the employment and business trends affecting the architectural profession.
In their recent report, 16% of architects’ practices anticipate an increase in workloads over the next three months, while 26% expect a decline. 53% expected stable workloads.
The report also marked the lowest level of confidence among architects, with the overall outlook for future work becoming pessimistic for small practices.
MORGAN SINDALL TO BUILD A CENTRE IN SOUTH WALES TO DECARBONISE STEEL
Neath Port Talbot Council in partnership with Swansea University are working with Morgan Sindall Construction to design and build a £20m R&D facility to help steel and metal industries decarbonise.
The centre will be known as SWITCH Harbourside. SWITCH meaning ‘South Wales Industrial Transition from Carbon Hub’.
Bringing together academic researchers, industry experts and government officials, the aim is to accelerate the region’s transition to net zero.
It forms part of the council’s Supporting Innovation and Low Carbon Growth programme, helping to establish the region as a leader in low carbon growth and the green economy.
ONE IN FIVE INSOLVENCIES ARE CONSTRUCTION FIRMS
Official data from the government’s Insolvency Service revealed that nearly one in five of the insolvencies recorded during the first quarter of 2023 were construction firms.
This contributes to the 4,165 construction firms which became insolvent in the 12 months ended 31 March 2023.
The recent administration of the £700m turnover employee-owned business, Buckingham Group Contracting, is the biggest collapse since Carillion in January 2018.
A deal with Kier will see them take over Buckingham’s rail assets and HS2 contract, including 180 employees who will become part of the Kier Transportation business.
However after failures to find buyers for Buckingham’s building, civil engineering, demolition, major projects and sport & leisure operations, means 446 staff will lose their jobs.
Other large casualties of insolvency this year include one of the largest contractors in the North East, £200m-revenue Tolent, as well as Metnor Construction, £62.6m-turnover company based in Newcastle – both which collapsed in February 2023.
THE ‘REAL FACE OF CONSTRUCTION’ REPORT
Quarter of a million people are needed in construction by 2027 but outdated public perceptions mean too many overlook it as a career option.
The ‘Real Face of Construction’ report by CIOB has revealed that economic growth is under threat unless worker shortages across the UK are urgently addressed.
The report includes regional data as well as roundtables hosted by CIOB to understand whether the data paints a true picture about what is happening ‘on the ground’
Read the full report at https://d8.ciob.org/industry/research/Real-Face-Construction-2023