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Construction output soars

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..

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Construction Output to bounce…

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..

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Major Contractors Forced to…

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.”

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Rugby League Legend joins…

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!!

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Contractors are being warned…

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.

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Manager merry-go-round causing mayhem…

A revolving door of senior managers is being blamed for causing financial problems at major construction companies. Industry experts believe the merry-go-round of senior staff is often the root cause of contract problems. One senior figure told reporters: definitely a pattern we are seeing more and more of.   You get these people who come in to roles like regional directors who then start chasing work to make their division look healthy to the main board. Experienced staff below them will have their reservations but no-one can really stop the new person in charge. The directors are often incentivised with bonuses for winning new work so the order books fill up with jobs which aren't purely focused on the bottom line. The nature of construction is that those schemes take years to work through and often by that time the directors have moved on to another company. They often leave behind a pile of problems but just walk into a new job. It's a bit like being a football manager. Once that's on your CV you always seem to get a new job no matter how poor your track record is. Obviously it's not the only issue causing problems in construction but it's a real factor and something which will continue to be a problem until a new generation of talent comes through. We've hired supposedly big names from major..

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VAT cash-flow crisis looming…

Thousands of construction companies are facing a 20% drop in cash flow when VAT changes come into force in October. Government experts believe 150,000 firms could be hit by the reverse charge. The changes mean companies in the construction supply chain will no longer receive their 20% VAT payment when they submit bills, the VAT cash will instead be paid direct to HMRC by the customer receiving the service who will reclaim it in the normal way. One worried specialist with a £50m turnover told the reporters: We've estimated that for us as a tier two contractor this will have a negative impact on cash of £2.3m. If you are already running at the limit of lending and can't get more money from your bank and HMRC just plough on as they usually do you could be screwed. Tier twos are already net providers of free credit to Tier one contractors and now we won't be getting that VAT cash in from Tier ones. HMRC has introduced the change to combat missing trader fraud where companies charge and collect VAT payments then disappear owing the tax man. Payroll companies were braced to be hit hard by the changes but they have now been granted an exemption. HMRC said: Employment businesses who supply staff and who are responsible for paying the temporary workers they supply, are not subject to the reverse charge.

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Accident rates among electrical…

Latest figures collected by the Joint Industry Board on behalf of trade body ECA and Unite the Union show the rate of RIDDOR-reportable accidents fell once again last year to 164 per 100,000 employees. No fatalities were reported during 2018 and the rate of major accidents was also lower than in 2017 at just over 52/100,000. The main causes of injury were falls, slips and trips and there was one reportable injury due to electric shock. Steve Brawley, Chief Executive of the JIB said: It's very encouraging to report that the rate of reportable accidents in our industry continues to fall, and it means that the rate of these accidents is now, remarkably, only slightly more than 10% of what it was in 2001, the year we started to collect data. The 2018 figures mean that the accident rate has fallen nearly 90% since 2001, which is a great achievement. In fact, the number of RIDDOR-reportable “ in a sample of over 13,500 operatives “ is now so low that in 2019 we will be asking companies for additional details of any ‘over one day accidents. While these accidents are not RIDDOR-reportable, this will give us more data to work with in future.  

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Middlesbrough plans £250m trio…

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..

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Construction safety test cheats…

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..

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