Construction workloads in Yorkshire and the Humber remained resilient, despite bad weather and a pessimistic economic outlook, in the first quarter of 2018.
According to the Construction and Infrastructure Market Survey from ROCS, in the first quarter of the year (Q1 2018), 25% more chartered surveyors in Yorkshire and Humber reported that their workloads had risen as opposed to fallen.
While 63% of respondents noted bad weather conditions as a limiting factor, the ‘Beast from the East’ was not enough to slow the pace of growth.
Looking at workloads across all subsectors; both new work and repair and maintenance activity rose steadily in the early months of 2018. Infrastructure saw the strongest rise in workloads with 24% more respondents seeing an increase in activity (up from 19% in Q4 2017) – the most positive reading since the beginning of 2017.
In the public housing sector, 20% more contributors reported a rise in workloads (up from 18% in Q4 2017), whilst in the Private Housing sector activity also increased, with 39% of respondents seeing a rise in workloads (up from 37% in Q4 2017).
However, in the private industrial sector, workloads dropped quite considerably, with 8% of respondents reporting a rise in work on such projects (down from 28% back in Q4 2017). Contributors also noted a fall in workloads in the private commercial sector, with 21% reporting an increase in work on such projects as opposed to 27% in the last quarter of 2017.
Comparatively, workloads are now reported to be increasing across all geographic regions, with an acceleration in the pace of growth in the Midlands and South West.
Looking ahead, the lack of sufficiently skilled workers remains an obstacle for many businesses in Yorkshire and Humber, particularly professional services, with 70% of respondents reporting a shortage of quantity surveyors.
The shortage of labour, along with higher input costs continue to restrict growth in profit margins across all regions, and while cost pressures may ease later this year, expectations on profit margins are still well below the three-year average of 40% recorded between 2014 and 2016. Indeed, tender prices are expected to rise over the next 12 months with respondents in the building and civil engineering sectors, respectively, envisaging greater price pressures.
However, despite the constraints that firms have been facing recently, surveyors in Yorkshire and Humber remain relatively upbeat, with 47% expecting workloads to increase over the next 12-months and 45% anticipating employment levels to pick-up over the coming year.
Lisa Bowden, head of infrastructure in the North at Mace said: “Despite the challenges reported at the start to the year, it is pleasing to see Yorkshire’s construction and infrastructure sectors remain resilient. The importance the government is placing on infrastructure investment is already bearing fruit and with a record £500bn pipeline of investment in national infrastructure, regions like Yorkshire will have an ever-growing role to play in the British economy if we are going to rebalance our country post-Brexit.
“Projects such as the £200m Siemens Rail factory in Goole, expected to start later in the year, as well as longer term infrastructure projects such as Northern Powerhouse Rail, are all critical to the economic success of the region. Companies in the construction and infrastructure sector must champion these opportunities to continue to drive improvements in regional infrastructure, create jobs, and improve productivity.”
Jeffrey Matsu, RICS senior economist, added: “While a short-lived snowstorm may have snarled logistical supply chains and site works at the end of February, it was not enough to negatively impact on workload order books. Indeed, several years of limited spare capacity have resulted in a backlog within the delivery pipeline which will take some time to unwind. Risk aversion by both lenders and developers, in the wake of Carillion and ongoing Brexit negotiation, will continue to weigh on investment decisions.”
Construction safety test centre workers have been caught giving answers to candidates for cash. The cheating ring was exposed during counter-fraud raids by CITB, police and the Home Office. Three men involved in the delivery of CITB tests were arrested for Fraud Act offences while seven construction workers were detained on suspicion of working in Britain illegally. Staff at safety test centres in Cheshire, Essex and London were found giving the answers to candidates, some of whom are believed to be working in the country illegally. At the Cheshire centre a staff member admitted helping candidates choose correct answers, while a considerable amount of cash was found without a plausible explanation. In Essex, staff members admitted being supplied with a large number of candidates, many of whom the administrators were paid to give the right answers to during the test. Candidates admitted paying up to £500 to take the £21 HS&E test. Six candidates were suspected of being in the country illegally and were detained, while the centre was suspended from carrying out further tests. In London, the Metropolitan Police arrested a man suspected of facilitating corrupt tests for other candidates. A quantity of fake documentation and card making equipment was seized from a number of locations. The man has been released under investigation pending further enquiries. CITB will now review just over 2,500 tests conducted by these centres in..
Middlesbrough Mayor Andy Preston has unveiled plans to create a £250m digital city in the city’s Boho district. The plans include building the highest office and residential towers for 30 miles as part of an initial £45m phase of the project that will transform Teesside’s skyline. Digital city plan for Middlesbrough with one office and two residential towers and a 750-seat indoor amphitheatre Construction of the first phase, which will include three 20 storey-towers, will start next summer and create up to 400 construction jobs. It will see the creation of a digital campus, a 750-seat indoor amphitheatre beneath a glass atrium and a 400-seat outdoor amphitheatre to host events such as lectures, cultural events and entertainment. Mayor Preston said: “For the next few years my obsession, my mission, my purpose on this planet is to get Middlesbrough on track as the digital city for the UK. “This is a £45m first step of a quarter of a billion pounds scheme that will propel Middlesbrough on a journey to become the UK’s digital capital – bringing investment, jobs and prosperity to the town. “This isn’t another pipe dream that might happen in two, four or ten years’ time. This is happening now. “We have the money and investors in place. Planning consent will be sought within weeks and construction will start next summer.” The £30m office element is being joint..
Officials from the Cabinet Office have written to firms to remind them of the new rules on prompt payment, which come into force this autumn. Minister for Implementation, Oliver Dowden, said: “Prompt payment is critical for all companies helping to deliver public services, particularly small businesses which are the backbone of our economy. “That’s why, from September, if government contractors are late with supplier payments, they could be prevented from winning public contracts until they clean up their act.” Under the new rules, suppliers who bid for government contracts above £5m per annum, who cannot show they are paying 95% of invoices within 60 days, risk being prevented from securing government contracts. The new measures follow further moves to level the playing field for small businesses, including an ambition to pay 90% of the government’s undisputed invoices from SMEs within five days. Suppliers that are not being paid on time are also able to raise complaints and concerns directly to the government through the Public Procurement Review Service.
Venian Recruitment are very pleased to announce the signing of Garry Schofield to the Venian Recruitment Team. Garry Joins as Business Development Executive with the remit to develop new accounts and assist with the management of existing relationships. Welcome Garry!!
The government could bar main contractors from winning public work if they fail to pay their supply chain on time. New rules will come into force next Autumn to ensure the government only does business with companies who pay their suppliers promptly. Cabinet Office Minister, Oliver Dowden said: “Companies providing crucial services to the public sector ,like delivering road infrastructure projects, must be paid on time. “Paying invoices promptly is vital in providing healthy cash flow, particularly for smaller businesses who are the backbone of the UK economy, to help them survive and thrive. “From next year, if government contractors are late with supplier payments, they could stop winning public contracts altogether – until they clean up their act.”
UK construction output is expected to bounce back to 2.3% growth in 2019 after dipping by 0.6% this year. The growth hiatus this year ends the five-year run enjoyed by the industry, fed mainly by private sector home building and strong commercial and industrial activity. While forecast 2019 and 2020 growth will boost civils contractors and trade contractors working for house builders, commercial building contractors are expected to continue to feel the squeeze in both commercial and retail work opportunities. The latest forecast from economists at the Construction Products Association, revises 2018 output down from stagnation to contraction, due mainly to bad weather and the fall-out from Carillion. Forecasters predict growth will bounce back in 2019 and then expand by 1.9% in 2020. Strong house building activity outside London will drive up activity in this sector by 5% in 2018 and 2% in 2019. Infrastructure will also become a primary driver of growth for the whole industry, with output forecast to hit a historic high of £23.6bn by 2020, driven by large projects such as HS2 and Hinkley Point C. CPA summer 2018 forecast Construction output to fall by 0.6% in 2018 before growth of 2.3% in 2019 and 1.9% in 2020 Private housing starts to rise by 2.0% in 2018 and 2019 Commercial offices output to fall by 20.0% in 2018 and by 10.0% in 2019 Commercial retail output to..
Construction buyers have reported the strongest rise in construction activity since November 2017. The latest IHS Markit/CIPS UK Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index for June registered 53.1 in June – up from 52.5 in April. The rise represents the sharpest increase in overall construction output since last November. New orders also rose at their fastest pace since May 2017. Residential and commercial work were the main drives as civil engineering continued to plod along. Tim Moore, Associate Directorat IHSMarkit and author of the IHSMarkit/CIPS Construction PMI said: “The latest increase in UK construction output marks three months of sustained recovery from the snow-related disruption seen back in March. “A solid contribution from house building helped to drive up overall construction activity in June, while a lack of new work to replace completed civil engineering projects continued to hold back growth. “Of the three main categories of construction work, commercial building was sandwiched in the middle of the performance table during June. “Survey respondents suggested that improved opportunities for industrial and distribution work were the main bright spots, which helpedto offset some of the slowdown in retail and office development. “Stretched supply chains and stronger input buying resulted in longer delivery times for construction materials during June. “At the same time, higher transportation costs and rising prices for steel-related inputs led to the fastest increase in cost burdens across the construction sector..
Construction T level students will not be “site ready” The Government must be realistic about the capabilities and work-readiness of students who have completed construction T Levels. That is the warning from the Federation of Master Builders after plans for the practical alternative to A Levels were confirmed this week. The first schools and colleges to teach the new technical qualifications will offer courses from 2020 with construction among the first subjects. FMB Chief Eexecutive Brian Berry said: “The idea that a student who has completed a T Level in bricklaying is able to call themselves a qualified bricklayer is not credible. “The Government must be realistic about how much can be achieved in two years of largely college-based learning. “Although T Levels include a three-month work placement, when the rest of the individual’s knowledge and skills are acquired in the classroom, in construction they will need more time onsite, post-T Level, before they can and should describe themselves as being qualified in that trade. “Small and medium-sized construction firms, which do the bulk of training in our industry, would rather view T Levels as a rich pool of talent through which to find apprentices.” Berry added: “More positively, the Government has listened to the concerns of the construction industry and stated its intention to make work placements as flexible as possible. “In construction, work placements are not popular or..
Permanent staff appointments increase at weakest pace for four months Key points: Softer rise in perm placements contrasts with steeper increase in temp billings Growth of demand for staff picks up for first time in nine months Steeper decline in overall candidate availability leads to sharper rises in paySummary:The IHS Markit/REC Report on Jobs – published today – provides the most comprehensive guide to the UK labour market, drawing on original survey data provided by recruitment consultancies. Permanent placements growth softens to four-month lowThe number of people placed into permanent job roles continued to rise markedly in April. That said, the pace of expansion was the softest seen in 2018 so far. In contrast, growth of temp billings picked up from March’s 13-month low.Candidate availability continues to fall markedlyCandidate availability for both permanent and temporary roles declined further at the start of the second quarter. Furthermore, the rates of reduction quickened to three- and five-month records, respectively.Demand for staff strengthensGrowth of overall job vacancies picked up to a three-month high in April. Permanent staff demand grew at a sharper pace compared to the previous month, while short-term staff vacancies expanded at a slightly softer (but still marked) pace. Pay growth gathers paceStarting salaries for permanent workers continued to rise sharply in April, with the rate of inflation picking up from March. Concurrently, rates of pay for contract/temporary staff..
Laing O’Rourke has recorded the lowest inequality in pay between men and women among Britain’s top 30 main contractors. The firm’s record on equal pay was revealed as thousands of employers with over 250 staff were forced to published their gender pay gap figures for the first time. The Government hopes this will help to shine a light on the barriers preventing women from reaching the top. Construction ranks as one of the worst industries for pay inequality with women paid 36% less than men on average. The first returns by leading main contractors reveals Laing O’Rourke is way ahead on pay equality with women on average paid just under 9% less than men. Companies had to file data based on a “snapshot” of their payroll taken on 5 April 2017. The discrepancy among major players is widened because fewer women are among the top earners in the industry. This appears to have impacted BAM Construct which recorded the highest pay gap and women accounting for 68% of the lowest quartile of earners in its workforce. The listing of the top 30 main contractors recently compiled is ranked by the median, which gives a good sense of where a company is overall, the mean figures will include the outliers with large salaries. Main contractor pay gap reports Hourly rate % lower than men % of women in pay quartile Mean..
The average salary in construction management has hit £81,609 according to the latest pay survey of UK property professionals by RICS. And that is topped-up by an average annual bonus of £22,252. Construction management was one of the best paid professions in the survey which covered 42 disciplines. Across all property professions base salaries grew on average by 12% to £58,633. Quantity surveyors earned an average of £56,212 with an annual bonus of £5,754. RICS qualified professionals are earning 21% more than their counterparts and 14.2% of those who received a pay rise in the last year did so through gaining professional qualifications. Barry Cullen, RICS Diversity & Inclusion Director said: “The latest results from this survey show the built environment continues to be an attractive sector to work in with professionals’ pay hitting highs not seen since the financial crisis. “As headcount is once again expected to increase in 2018, more employers are placing greater focus on attracting and retaining talent, with attractive pay and benefit packages. “However, organisations must embrace an offering beyond an attractive salary and benefits package if we are going to truly diversify the profession and meets the needs of our future. “In 2018, the gender pay gap still remains evident and whilst it is significantly less for those under 26, more still needs to be done.”
Construction apprentices will earn thousands of pounds more than many university graduates. Latest research by the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) quizzed small contractors on how much they pay tradespeople. The highest reported ammual salary for a London bricklayer was £90,0000. The average annual salaries were: Site managers earn £51,266 Plumbers earn £48,675 Supervisors earn £48,407 Electricians earn £47,265 Civil engineering operatives earn £44,253 Steel fixers earn £44,174 Roofers earn £42,303 Bricklayers earn £42,034 Carpenters and joiners earn £41,413 Plasterers earn £41,045 Scaffolders earn £40,942 Floorers earn £39,131 Plant operatives earn £38,409 Painters and decorators earn £34,587 General construction operatives earn £32,392 In comparison government figures show the UK’s university graduates earn the following average annual salaries: Pharmacists earn £42,252 Dental practitioners earn £40,268 Architects earn £38,228 Teachers earn £37,805 Chartered and certified accountants earn £37,748 Midwives earn £36,188 Veterinarians earn £36,446 Physiotherapists earn £32,065 Nurses earn £31,867 FMB Chief Executive Brian Berry said: “Money talks and when it comes to annual salaries, a career in construction trumps many university graduate roles. “The average university graduate in England earns £32,000 a year whereas our latest research shows that your average bricky or roofer is earning £42,000 a year across the UK. In London, a bricklayer is commanding wages of up to £90,000 a year. “Pursuing a career in construction is therefore becoming an increasingly savvy move. University students in..
The latest figures from the ONS indicate the construction sector in the UK declined by 0.7% between Quarter 3 and Quarter 4 2017. This followed a decline of 0.7% between Quarter 2 and Quarter 3. Two consecutive quarters of decline is defi ned as a technical recession, so this is the interpretation from these fi gures. However, it should be noted that in December 2017 the industry grew by 1.6% (see fi g. 2.1). The main reason for the quarterly decrease in output are falls in all types of repair and maintenance as well as private commercial work. Non housing repair and maintenance declined by 2.4% in the quarter while the corresponding private housing fi gure showed a decline of 1.7%. New work in the private commercial sector declined by 4.4% between Q3 and Q4. Over the same period output in the industrial sector fell by 3.1%. The one sector which continues to grow is new private residential. This sector increased by 5% in Q4 compared to Q3 2017. The challenge will be whether continued growth in housing can off set the declines in the other large sectors such as commercial. CPA/Barbour ABI Index The CPA/Barbour ABI Index which measures the level of contracts awarded using January 2010 as its base month recorded a reading of 127 for January (see fi g. 2.2). This is a slight increase from..
CCTV used to require installation by specialist security engineers, but modern small-scale camera systems can now be rigged up by almost anyone. Pam Loch, managing partner of Loch Employment Law, looks at the legal implications of surveillance cameras in the workplace. Research in recent years has estimated that the average person in the UK is likely to be caught on CCTV surveillance cameras 70 times a day. In London it is estimated to be much higher. Employee fairly dismissed after taking bribe contrary to Bribery Act 2010 Inevitably much of this footage is caught in a location that is – for somebody – his or her workplace. CCTV use at work is becoming increasingly controversial, as some feel the motivation behind it has developed from being used to promote safety and security to being used to monitor staff. The use of body-worn cameras is now emerging within organisations, such as the NHS and the police, principally in the interest of staff safety, but also for use as evidence in court. Guy’s and St. Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust recorded 850 assaults on staff between April and September 2016 and, as a preventative measure, it introduced body-worn cameras for security guards. Logistics companies are also increasingly using “dash cams” in drivers’ cabs or on couriers’ bikes to protect staff and to use potential footage as evidence. Fly on the wall Surveillance cameras..