How changes in the construction industry will affect your business in 2015
Business is booming in the construction industry across the UK– but now it’s time to make sure you don’t become a victim of your own success.
If you listen carefully, you can hear the UK construction industry breathing a huge sigh of relief as the recession fades into the background and the order books begin to fill up. The industry’s UK Purchasing Managers’ Index recently showed builders reporting a strong surge in activity and rises on both commercial and civil engineering. The construction industry has made its strongest jump in activity in seven months. Companies reported a strong upturn in workloads – all good news for an industry that has suffered long and hard at the hands of the downturn.
Not quite – because as those same businesses are finding, the sudden rise in work around the country is creating its own issues that they need to deal with including scarcity of materials, a lack of skilled workers and price rises.
There’s no doubt house building in particular is booming, with new housing leading the way in the charge. Nationally, construction companies are reporting huge difficulty in keeping track of the flow of materials going to their sites. As the eternal rules of supply and demand decree, that means prices are on the up. Not only are prices going up by more than 20 percent in some areas, but there is also a shortage of bricks, with some builders being warned they could be waiting up to a year for their supply.
“There is a constant shortage of supply and the further north you go, the worse the problem becomes. Most manufacturers have closed their order books this year and are on 40 weeks order time.” – Calum Currie, Manager of brick supplier Bricklink.
Even when you have the bricks, you need the brickies to lay them – and all the other trades. Once again, the recovery of the construction industry is biting hard. During the recession, many tradesmen who couldn’t find work went off to do something else.
Now, there just isn’t enough skilled labour around to build all those houses.
You can’t win, can you?
Thankfully, you still can – with careful planning. After all, the work is there - the construction industry and its suppliers just need to get up to speed to make sure they can deal with it.
What do successful companies need?
- Up to date, timely data so you can replicate best practice and make good procurement decisions.
- Joined-up visibility of your whole operation – HR, procurement, finance, operations etc.
- Detailed, real-time information on the status of each project, from supplies and progress to retentions and payments.
For busy companies, good construction software can provide instant access to all the information you need to make sensible, informed decisions, cost projects effectively and plan resources. It’s been a long, hard journey out of the construction industry doldrums – so make sure your software is up to date. You wouldn’t want to be a victim of your own success.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Are you in control of your company workload?
- Do you always have the materials and skills you need?
- Is your construction software up to the challenge?
How will this affect finances?
Find out how the growth in the construction industry will impact your finances in the guide: How to reflect construction industry changes into your financial management, where you’ll discover how to build on solid data foundations and manage finances better as the economy grows.
Environment Agency clamps down on plastic films and wraps
Businesses in the waste and construction industries must ensure they deal with waste plastic properly to stop illegal exports, the Environment Agency (EA) has warned.
The warning comes as the Agency is increasingly aware of plastic film and wrap from the construction and demolition sector being illegally exported.
Exports are frequently being classified as ‘green list’ waste of low risk to the environment, but are often contaminated with materials such as mud, sand, bricks and wood, posing a risk to the environment and human health overseas, and undermining legitimate businesses in the UK seeking to recover such waste properly.
During the last year, the EA has intercepted shipments to prevent the illegal export of this material on numerous occasions. The Agency inspected 1,889 containers at English ports and stopped 463 being illegally exported. This, combined with regulatory intervention upstream at sites, prevented the illegal export of nearly 23,000 tonnes of waste.
Those convicted of illegally exporting waste face an unlimited fine and a two-year jail sentence. But construction firms could also face enforcement action if contaminated construction and demolition waste plastic is illegally exported.
Malcolm Lythgo, Head of Waste Regulation at the Environment Agency, said it is seeing a marked increase in the number of highly contaminated plastic film and wrap shipments from the construction and demolition industry being stopped by officers.
“I would strongly urge businesses to observe their legal responsibility to ensure waste is processed appropriately, so we can protect human health and the environment now and for future generations. It’s not enough just to give your waste to someone else - even a registered carrier. You need to know where your waste will ultimately end up to know it’s been handled properly. We want to work constructively with those in the construction and waste sectors so they can operate compliantly, but we will not hesitate to clamp down on those who show disregard for the environment and the law.”
There are a number of simple, practical steps that businesses can take to ensure that C&D site waste is handled legally.
Construction businesses should check what’s in their waste
- Different waste types need different treatments and so must be correctly categorised to ensure it goes to a site that is authorised to handle it safely. Businesses can also check if their waste is hazardous as different rules might apply.
- If you are removing the waste yourself, you must be a registered waste carrier- registration can be carried out here. When a waste collector is transporting your site waste, you must check they have a waste carrier’s licence from the EA.
- You must also check that the end destination site any waste is taken to is permitted to accept it and has the right authorisations in place. Keep a record of any waste that leaves your site by completing a waste transfer note or a consignment note for hazardous waste which record what and how much waste you have handed over and where it is going.
Waste management industry must adhere to export controls
- Contaminated C&D waste plastic - including low-density polyethylene (LDPE) wrap and film - must be exported with prior consent from the EA as well as competent authorities in transit and destination countries.
- Those involved in the export of such waste must ensure that it meets the requirements set under the relevant export controls, such as being almost free-from contamination; the destination sites are appropriately licensed to receive and treat the waste; and waste is correctly managed once received.
The EA will continue to actively target those who export contaminated C&D plastic waste illegally, including any accredited packaging exporters who issue Packaging Waste Export Recovery Notes (PERNs) against such material in breach of their Conditions of Accreditation.
Businesses involved in the shipment of waste are required to take all necessary steps to ensure the waste they ship is managed in an environmentally sound manner throughout its shipment and during its recycling.
Anyone with information regarding the illegal export of waste including C&D waste plastics can contact the EA’s Illegal Waste Exports team at: [email protected] or anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or via their website