Mabey Bridge meets Bahrain's oil modernisation needs
The Bapco Modernization Programme (BMP) constitutes Bapco's largest capital investment in its 90-year history, and is designed to increase its refining capacity and improve energy efficiency.
Mabey Bridge's role was to support the construction of Bapco's new industrial facilities with the supply of a brace of two-lane bridges. Two identical Compact 200 bridges were supplied to meet the requirement, each sized 27m x 6.3m, complete with parapets and anti-skid decks.
The aim was to facilitate easy access of construction vehicles and deliveries of specialist equipment to the construction site, without interfering with the local road network.
Post-installation technical assistance was also provided by Mabey Bridge to ensure extra-heavy load requirements were met.
BMP Project Director Mr Hafedh AlQassab described the design and installation as "first rate" and recognized by all stakeholders as a positive addition to the BMP Project.
Michael Treacy, CEO Mabey Bridge, said providing quick and safe access to site for construction traffic was of paramount importance. "We are delighted to have been able to demonstrate how modular steel solutions can deliver real project efficiencies in transformational construction projects like this," he said.
Across the GCC, economies are in recovery mode following COVID and drop in oil prices.
In April 2020, the first full month of the coronavirus impact, just $4.1bn worth of contracts were awarded in the region, close to 40% lower than the $6.2bn worth of contracts in the same month in 2019, according to the MEED Projects tracking service.
As the market slows, project companies now face two distinct challenges, according to the Deloitte GCC Powers of Construction 2020 report (click here).
"They have to adhere to contracts and maintain Construction output while at the same time meeting the requirements for social distancing among staff and transporting them to and from site," it notes.
"In parallel, there is anecdotal evidence of payments slowing and cashflow deteriorating, while falling building material production also threatens to disrupt project schedules as the availability of key supplies like mortar, brick and plasterboard becomes more limited."
Bahrain's large neighbour, Saudi Arabia, has been the worst hit with just under 300 projects put on hold, according to the report.
Bellway snaps up nearly 16,000 plots
Bellway has acquired 15,982 plots since last August worth £891 million and agreed to buy a further 9,000 plots as it strives to keep up with soaring UK housing demand.
In a trading update to the London Stock Exchange, Bellway reported an average 239 reservations per week from February 1-June 6, up 51.3%, and a "strong balance sheet" with net cash of £408 million and the value of its order book rose 20.5% to £1,889 million.
Housing completions for the full year are expected to be around 10,000 homes and the average selling price is now expected to rise in excess of £300,000.
Jason Honeyman, Chief Executive, said demand for new homes continues to be strong and customer confidence throughout the wider housing market is resilient. "Customer satisfaction is high and our recently launched 'Customer First' programme will help to improve quality further," he said.
Notwithstanding the introduction of lower regional Help-to-Buy price caps, outside of London, and the restriction of the scheme to first time buyers only, with effect from April, the demand for larger, higher value homes "remains encouraging", which has been supported by the extended stamp duty land tax holiday and more broadly, ongoing customer aspirations for more home-working space.
Not everything is rosey in construction however, as pressure on material supplies remains intense, which is having a knock-on effect on projects and prices.
Since the beginning of the year the IHSMarkit CIPS UK Construction PMI has shown shortages of over 60 different construction materials including bricks, timber, roof tiles, insulation and kitchen appliances in every month this year. Overall, the number of construction materials experiencing shortages and price increases is trending upward.
With such a large number of EU workers from the UK leaving the industry, the sector is suffering from a further employment drought.
New national research from Powered Now, a field service management software that specialises in trades, shows 18% of Brits have sought a new career path in the trades as a result of the pandemic. But the pandemic has been a catalyst for diversifying the UK's trade workforce, with 15% of those considering the trades as a career, female.
- 18% of Brits agree that after COVID, have found employment within a trade sector to pick up additional work or to commence a new career path
- 15% of tradespeople have seen their client demand increase post-COVID
- 17% of tradespeople regularly work over 10 hours a day
- 16% of tradespeople agree that they lose out on business due to extensive administrative tasks, such as chasing invoices
- 16% of tradespeople agree that sequential waves of COVID has made them more motivated to work
Ben Dyer, CEO of Powered Now, said with shortages of supplies and labour, the whole industry is still in catch up mode and various projects that were delayed by sequential lockdowns, are now taking priority.
"This has helped to spike demand and we expect it to continue in the short term. Our research has entirely confirmed that tradespeople and consumers alike are very much eager to sustain this growth," he said.
"Our SME customers are also talking about the pressure to complete jobs as they don't have enough boots on the ground. As we have seen from the sentiments established in this research, a new wave of tradespeople are more motivated to work and are commencing their work on home improvements even sooner. These concerns are also sure to help the sector bounce back even quicker as people will rush to hire a tradesperson for their desired work."