29th April Journal Column

APS Black logo 2015       By John Nielsen Director of CK21 and CIC/APS/CENE board member

Yesterday marked a big day for our industry, Workers’ Memorial Day, where we ‘remember the dead and fight for the living’. The industry remembered all those killed through work, while trying to raise awareness to make sure such tragedies are not repeated.

Around this day you often see workers campaigning for stricter enforcement with higher penalties for breaches of health and safety laws, so the results of the Electrical Contractor’ Association, the Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) and Constructing Better Health survey are a little surprising.

The survey, completed by nearly 400 people, found that less than half of companies in the building and engineering sector monitor occupational health among their staff, with 55 per cent admitting to not carrying out occupational health surveillance.

Of those who do monitor it, 75 per cent said that managing occupational health resulted in a net business benefit, with 41 per cent saying it was the main reason they did so. A net business benefit is obviously good news for any company, but it should never be the top priority, not when health and safety is concerned. It’s surprising to hear so many people look at this as their top priority, and even more surprising that they happily admit to it!

I would be wrong to say the industry hasn’t improved massively in terms of health and safety. The Association of Project Safety has been promoting health issues with help www.health-canada-pharmacy.com to the wider industry through up skilling of members and full involvement with the Health in Construction Leadership Group. That doesn’t mean we can all sit back and relax, we still have a long way to go. The data from such surveys is useful in looking at who is clued up, what exactly they are doing and what work still needs to be done across the whole industry. But it can also be useful for companies to look at internally, and carrying out occupational health surveillance will give them a good place to start.

According to respondents of the survey the main onsite occupational health hazard was manual handling (96 per cent), followed by noise (94 per cent) and asbestos (93 per cent). The main health risks relating to construction work range from cancer to work related stress and asbestos. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) estimates that past exposures in the construction sector annually cause over 5,000 occupational cancer cases and a shocking 3,700 deaths.

Yesterday was also World Day for Safety and Health at Work, another worldwide campaign promoting safe, health and decent work, so there’s really no excuse to not have something in place promoting health and safety at work. But, if not, the shocking statistics above show that there’s still a lot of work to be done, and there’s no time like the present to change things.

28th April 2016 Newsletter

To view this weeks newsletter with information about sponsorship opportunities for our 2016 Charity Race-day and information about forthcoming events please click here.

22nd April 2016 Journal Column

Web-LogoBy Catriona Lingwood, Chief Executive of Constructing Excellence in the North East

Prompt payment, or the lack of it, is such a big issue in our industry and it has repercussions that not everybody is aware of. Not only does it cause economic and social damage, but it has really tarnished the reputation of the industry, and it’s about time that changed.

Finance is a huge problem for our industry and a one I don’t think we’ve taken seriously enough in the past. In everyday life you pay for things immediately, whether that be goods or services, and you wouldn’t dream of asking to delay the payment or paying less than what was due, so why should our industry be any different?

Prompt payment, more often referred to as late payments since it’s becoming more of a rarity that they are ever prompt, is everyone paying what they are due as soon as it is due, or earlier.

Earlier this year, Constructing Excellence held a members’ forum discussing the subject of payment. Industry professionals from contractors to suppliers, shared their opinions and shed light from all perspectives, on how late payments affect their work. The outcome of the session was that good practice needs to be carried out throughout the project, whether it be with the client or the contractor, and everyone should pay on time to help the project run smoothly- no surprises there then.

With the rest of the industry digitising, integrating collaborative design and construction processes, and with the new Building Information Model (BIM) mandate going live earlier this month, it surprises me that the way we pay our bills is yet to catch up. For everything else, payment is now automated, we can complete transactions easily via apps, or Paypal, so automatically paying bills online once work is verified and complete could be the answer to all of our problems. It just doesn’t make sense that when it comes to making a payment we are so out-dated, but we have robots capable of building houses.

In a bid to encourage prompt payment, many subcontractors have inflated their tender prices to cover the costs they incur when their customers pay late. Textura found that on average, four per cent is added to costs to cover late payment, but subcontractors did say that they would discount prices by an average of 2.35 per cent if contractors paid promptly – within 30 days.

During the forum, when asked why it was necessary to delay payments, the answers included; project defects, no cash and a simple ‘because I can’, showing that most of the inefficiencies could be resolved by better industry attitudes and behaviours.

Thankfully, the case for prompt payment was particularly strong, with people understanding why prompt payment was so essential. Resolving the current issues could potentially deliver immediate financial benefits to projects and companies, improving the industry as a whole. If more businesses practice prompt payment, the reputation of the industry will sharp change to one that is trusting, capable of collaborative working and most importantly, ethical!

21st April 2016 Newsletter

To view this weeks newsletter with information about forthcoming events and what has been happening in the past week please click here.

Shortlist announced for the 2016 CENE Awards

The shortlist for this year’s Constructing Excellence North East Awards, celebrating the excellent projects and amazing people of the North East construction industry, has been revealed.

The awards, which are a significant event in the North East’s built environment calendar, recognise individuals and companies alike and will this year take place on Friday June 10 at Newcastle Gosforth Marriot Hotel.

This year there are 12 awards up for grabs, including integration and collaborative working, leadership and people development, sustainability, SME of the year, innovation, value and project of the year.

Catriona Lingwood, Chief Executive of Constructing Excellence in the North East, said: “Our awards celebrate the achievements from the North East construction industry and every year we are impressed with the standard of entries and this year is no exception.”

Over the last 12 years, the awards have grown significantly with over 500 people regularly turning out to witness the best of the region’s construction industry being recognised for their efforts.

Ian Storer, Director of Corepeople Recruitment, headline sponsor of the awards for a sixth consecutive year, said: “These awards have built up a reputation as the North East’s premier construction event and I am delighted to be involved with the judging panel. It is great to see that the projects and nominations which have been shortlisted are of a high calibre and I am sure the judges will have a tough time deciding on the winners”

The winner of each category will go on to compete in the national Constructing Excellence Awards, held in London on Friday November 4 at the London Marriott Grosvenor Square.

Tickets for the awards are still available and can be bought as individual places or tables of ten. To book please contact Leanne McAngus on 0191 5007880 or email leanne@cene.org.uk

The 2016 shortlist is as follows:

Heritage Sponsored by Atlas Cloud

Felton Park Glasshouse & Potting Shed – Calibre Metalwork Ltd, Cheshire Stained Glass Ltd, MGM Ltd, Spencer & Dower Chartered Architects LLP and Mr & Mrs Maxwell
Fulwell Sound Mirror – Beaumont Brown Architects, Limestone Landscapes and Sunderland City Council Partnership, Specialised Contracting Services Ltd and Landscape Management Services Ltd
Byker Wall Refurbishment – Byker Community Trust, Keepmoat, OpenView and Your Homes Newcastle
Morison Hall – Thirteen Group, NDC Trust, Esh Property Services, St Astier and Colin Waterson Joinery 
BIM Project of the Year Sponsored by Esh Group

National Biologics Manufacturing Centre – Interserve Construction Limited, Centre for Process Innovation, ArchiallNorr, SES Engineering Services and BGP
Priority Schools Building Programme, North East Schools – AHR Architects, Galliford Try, DESCO, SES Engineering Services and Curtins

Innovation Sponsored by Northumbrian Water Group

A-one+ Area 14 – A-one+, Highways England, Aggregate Industries, Highway Resource Solutions, Lane Rental and Recomac
Thirteen Group Headquarters Office
– +3 Architecture, Thirteen Group, Identity Consult, Turner & Townsend, Ryder Architecture, Muse Developments, Esh Construction and Overbury
Atlas Cloud 3D Virtualisation Platform – Atlas Cloud and Nomitech

Leadership & People Development Sponsored by CIOB North East
Esh Group
Hodgson Sayers
McNally & Thompson (UK Contracts) Ltd

Health & Safety Sponsored by Association for Project Safety
Applebridge Construction Ltd
Willmott Dixon Construction Ltd

SME of the Year Sponsored by Muckle LLP

Blake Hopkinson Architecture
McNally & Thompson (UK Contracts) Ltd
Portland Consulting Engineers
Gus Robinson Developments

Integration & Collaborative Working Sponsored by FaulknerBrowns Architects

Fellgate Flood Alleviation Scheme – South Tyneside Council, Northumbrian Water Group, MWH Global, Esh Group, Turner & Townsend and Environment Agency
NWG Air Products 2 and Train A & B NIM Refurbishment – Turner & Townsend, Northumbrian Water Group, Interserve Construction Ltd, AMEC Foster Wheeler
West Lane Hospital Redevelopment – Turner & Townsend, Tees, Esk and Wear Valley NHS Foundation Trust, DKS Architects, CAD21 Ltd, Billinghurst George & Partners, Parsons Brinckerhoff and Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd
Water UK Programme – Standard for Security Arrangements for Operational Assets (SSAOA) 2008 – Turner & Townsend, Northumbrian Water Group, JN Bentley, Grontmij, AMEC

Value Sponsored by Watson Burton

STEM Training Centre, Middlesbrough – Esh Construction, Middlesbrough College, Bond Bryan, Cundall, Redbox Design, 3E, RPS Group and Ares
Boho 5, Middlesbrough – Esh Construction, Middlesbrough Council, Homes and Communities Agency, xsite Architecture, Shed, Parsons Brinckerhoff, Driver Group and Southern Green
Rosedale Court, Portland Green – IDPartnership Northern, Metnor Property Group, Metnor Construction, Norstead Ltd and Patrick Parsons
Claremont Park, Hartlepool – Thirteen Group, Gus Robinson Developments, Identity Consult and JDDK
Beresford Crescent – Thirteen Group, Keepmoat, Identity Consult and BSBA Architects
The Percy Hedley Hydrotherapy Pool and Bradbury View Children’s Home – GRADONARCHITECTURE, The Percy Hedley Foundation, Identity Consult, Portland Consulting Engineers, Tolent Construction and RPS Group
The Elms Extra Care scheme – Cestria Community Housing, Keepmoat, Identity Consult, JDDK and Durham County Council
Hume and Nolan House – Thirteen Group, Keepmoat, Blake Hopkinson Architecture, Portland Consulting Engineers, Kyoob, Classic Lifts and Lerch Bates/ Movveo

The Legacy – Sustainability Sponsored by DAC Beachcroft

Boho 5, Middlesbrough – Esh Construction, Middlesbrough Council, Homes and Communities Agency, xsite Architecture, Shed, Parsons Brinckerhoff, Driver Group and Southern Green
Eaga House – +3 Architecture, Jomast Developments Ltd, SHED, Nathanial Lichfield & Partners and Jackson Coulson Partnership
Rosedale Court, Portland Green – IDPartnership – Northern, Metnor Property Group, Metnor Construction, Norstead Ltd and Patrick Parsons
Fellgate Flood Alleviation Scheme – South Tyneside Council, Northumbrian Water Group, MWH, Esh Group, Turner & Townsend and Environment Agency
Willmott Dixon Construction
Chirton House, Byker – Byker Community Trust and Gentoo Construction
The Woodlands – Shotley Bridge – Story Homes

Client of the Year Sponsored by Ward Hadaway

The Percy Hedley Foundation
Royal Grammar School

Achiever of the Year Sponsored by Bond Dickinson LLP

** This will be announced at the Awards ceremony on June 10th**

Project of the Year Sponsored by Corepeople Recruitment

Civils: Morpeth Flood Alleviation Scheme – Balfour Beatty, Environment Agency, Northumberland County Council, CH2M, Turner & Townsend, JBA Consulting and Ryder Landscape Consultants
Fellgate Flood Alleviation Scheme – South Tyneside Council, Northumbrian Water Group, MWH, Esh Group, Turner & Townsend and Environment Agency

Boho5 – Esh Construction, Middlesbrough Council, Homes and Communities Agency, xsite Architecture, Shed, Parsons Brinckerhoff, Driver Group and Southern Green
Parsons Building, Newcastle College – BAM Construction, Newcastle College, Turner & Townsend, DESCO and Red Box Design
Thirteen Group Headquarters – +3 Architecture, Thirteen Group, Identity Consult, Turner & Townsend, Ryder Architecture, Muse Developments, Esh Construction and Overbury
The Malings, East Bank – Cundall, Carillion Igloo Ltd, Cany Ash & Robert Sakula, Knight Frank, Gleeds, Civic Engineering, Max Fordham, Buro Four and GentooTolent Construction
University of Sunderland Sciences Complex – FaulknerBrowns Architects, University of Sunderland, Identity Consult and Clugston Construction
The Tilery Investment Project – Thirteen Group, Keepmoat, Ground Works North East & Cumbria and Brambledown
Hebburn Community Hub – Willmott Dixon Construction, South Tyneside Council, FaulknerBrowns Architects, DESCO, Mott MacDonald Group Ltd, Scape Group
Dfe Office Development, Darlington – Willmott Dixon Construction, Darlington Borough Council, Napper Architects, 3E Structural & Civil Engineers, TGA Consulting Engineers and Scape Group
Refurbishment of Seven Stories – The National Centre for Children’s Books – Turner & Townsend, Seven Stories, Northern Bear Building Services Ltd, ADP Architecture, Kyoob and Michael Grubb Studio
Live Theatre, Live Works Development – Turner & Townsend, Live Theatre, Brims Construction, Flanagan Lawrence, Tench Maddison Ash Architects LLP, Avoca Consulting Engineers, CK21 Consultants, Oobe Landscape Architects, Michael Grubb Studio, Leybourne Urwin Ltd and Veale Nixon Ltd
National Biologics Manufacturing Centre – Interserve Construction Limited, Centre  for Process Innovation, ArchialNORR, SES Engineering Services, Billinghurst George & Partners, Turner & Townsend, Faithful+Gould and Iris.
Consett Academy & Leisure Centre – Carillion, Durham County Council, Seymour Harris and SES Engineering Services.

14th April 2016 Newsletter

To view this weeks newsletter with information about the CENE 2016 Award Shortlist and an article about X-Site along with upcoming events please click here.

8th April Journal Column

By Catriona Lingwood, Chief Executive of Constructing Excellence in the North East

There’s been a lot of talk about growth or lack of it, in the industry, but recent survey results show that we are growing, just not at the speed we might have hoped for. Survey results from Markit Economics and the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply (CIPS) survey shows that the industry is expanding at a steady pace.

Now, it might be growing at its slowest pace for more than two years but the industry is striving, and that’s all we can ask of it. Analysts did predict a slight decline for March, but the industry has proved them wrong and held steady.
If the industry keeps performing the way it is, we’re headed for three full years of growth, showing that we’ve gone from strength to strength each year since the recession.

The pace of expansion was slow throughout March, with less job creation and subcontractor usage dropping two months in a row, but the point is it is still expanding, and we must focus on that. The Markit/CIPS UK construction purchasing managers’ index (PMI) stood at 54.2 last month, which although it hasn’t changed since February, it is slightly better than what analysts expected and higher than the neutral 50.0 value, as it has been now for the 35th consecutive month.

Increases in commercial work and engineering activity were both counterbalanced by a slowdown in residential building, as the latest increase in housing activity was only marginal and the weakest recorded since January 2013. Although it is disappointing to see house building growth almost come to a halt given the government’s plans for new houses, it’s not all doom and gloom, a marginal increase is still an increase!

51per cent of survey respondents did expect a rise in business activity over the next 12 months,with only 11 per cent forecasting a reduction, showing that companies do remain optimistic about their potential growth.

The industry is going to go through slow growth periods, but optimism and confidence will see us through difficult times, what’s important is that we never lose faith or give up on companies and the industry as a whole, so it’s amazing to see that over half of survey respondents were optimistic about their future.

As well as general unpredictability, the forthcoming EU referendum is, as expected, weighing on the minds of business leaders. The uncertainty of Brexit provides us with potential short term and long term impacts, but until a decision and negotiations are made, we can’t prepare for such outcomes. Hopefully we’ll be in a better position in a few months’ time and can plan for the future with confidence.
One thing to take from the survey results is the fact that PMI has remained steady against all odds, demonstrating a strong resilience in the industry and a strong foundation from which to keep building, so let’s do just that!

7th April 2016 Newsletter

To view this weeks newsletter which includes information about the G4C 2016 Awards and the £96 Million North East Highway Surfacing framework please click here.

1st April Journal Column

By Catriona Lingwood, Chief Executive of Constructing Excellence in the North East

No matter what industry you work in, there are always disputes, and our industry is no different.
The results of the third National BIM Survey (NBS) survey into construction contracts and related legal issues has cemented what we already knew- disputes are a part of our everyday working life.
Respondents included members of more than 20 industry bodies, who shared their legal and contractual experience of the last 12 months to provide an overarching view of the construction industry.
So, although disputes are consistent, the reason for such is ever changing. During the recession and tougher times the lack of work and low-value contracts only being made profitable through disputes was to blame, which is more than understandable, but now that construction output is stronger than ever, disputes don’t seem to be going away.
When asked in 2012, 90 per cent of respondents thought the number of disputes had increased or stayed the same as the last time they were asked, and four years later, the figure remains the same.
Almost half of those who responded to the survey said they had to deal with at least one dispute last year, with most (76 per cent) disputes occurring between clients and main contractors or between the main contractor and subcontractor (29 per cent). Although the severity of the dispute isn’t mentioned, disputes whether large or small have the potential to ruin relationships and disrupt projects.
I know sometimes you can’t avoid a dispute, but there are ways of reducing the severity or solving the issue, and surprisingly, the results actually gave us some promising news! 62 per cent of respondents had been involved in collaborative working in the last year, with 81 per cent believing it helped with information sharing and therefore reducing the number of disputes.
The main cause of arguments in the recent survey was found to be over the value of final accounts and the extension of time on projects – both of which could easily be resolved through collaborative working. Believe it or not, some simple communication can solve a lot of our problems.
Building Information Modelling (BIM) was introduced to address one of the major barriers to collaborative working – the lack of clear definition of responsibilities. The report suggests that the legal framework needs to evolve to recognise and accommodate the changes BIM has brought. As of November last year, only 14 per cent of those taking part in the survey had BIM fully integrated into contracts, which has hopefully dramatically increased given that the Level 2 BIM mandate goes live from Monday.
NBS has previously conducted this survey across many years, when economic climate was very different on each occasion, yet the resulting themes remain the same: the need for collaboration, the damaging effect of disputes and the often adversarial character of construction. So, although we’ve come on leaps and bounds in many aspects, there’s still a lot of work to be done to reduce disputes, and I strongly believe focusing on collaborative working is a strong place to start.