How to bridge the construction skills gap
If you are a construction worker or a company that employs such workers, you may be concerned about where the industry is heading.
You may also wonder about the current trends and what it will mean for you in the next year or in five or 10 years.
Depleted inventory in the housing market has caused an increase in new builds in the past few years. The numbers have not reached pre-recession figures, but they are on an upswing.
The good news is that construction projects are not limited to new homes, but also include nonresidential and public structures.
This increase in building has led to new jobs for construction workers.
In fact, statistics show that around 300,000 new jobs have been created in the past year. Private construction is growing while multifamily residential and office buildings have also seen increases.
Two other industries that are expected to contribute to the continued growth in the construction industry are education and health care. Construction of hotels and offices are also expected to continue growing.
At the same time as the industry is growing, costs are shrinking.
The price of materials dropped while credit constraints have loosened for construction companies. What this means for businesses is that they have more resources to continue building.
However, not all areas show such good numbers.
Some industries that impact construction have seen prices increase, including natural gas and concrete.
Shortage of Workers
One of the biggest benefits of an improved industry is more jobs. However, many of these companies are finding it difficult to obtain skilled workers.
Statistics show that 90% of companies are hiring new workers. While the number of new positions is small, often only one-fourth of the total work force, many of the companies are having trouble staffing the positions.
According to the article, Is There a Shortage of Construction Workers? one of the issues is that many workers who lost their jobs in the economic downturn moved on to new careers. They couldn't wait for the industry to pick up, so they put their talents to use elsewhere and won't be returning to construction.
Craft workers and supervisory and management positions seem to have the shortest supply. Even though reports indicate that many construction workers are still looking for jobs, they may not be skilled in the areas where they are needed.
Another issue seems to be that they live in areas that have not seen the level of growth that other regions have.
Companies are battling this problem by increasing rates or by improving benefits provided to employees. They are hoping to attract more skilled personnel to allow them to compete in this growing industry.
As the housing industry continues to recover, the impact will be seen in the construction fields. Not only will more homes be built, but more businesses will be constructed as the economy slowly improves.
Construction companies will continue to battle to find the best workers to take advantage of the need for new buildings.
Joyce Morse is an author who writes on a variety of topics, including careers and finance.
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