Construction & Civil Engineering Issue 205 November 2022

Page 38

Real steel

Celsa Steel UK’s sustainability vision and its aim to supply a near net-zero product to the construction market

Health & safety Construction must pay more attention to mental health


Timber supply in the UK – is it in a precarious position?

Net Zero

The role of insulation and adopting a ‘fabric-first’ approach

Issue 205 - 2022
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Hello and welcome to the November issue of Construction & Civil Engineering. In this issue we look at health and safety –and that is in a holistic sense, combining both mental and physical health and the relationship between the two. Our author calls for an industry-wide approach to making construction a safe space for discussing mental health, and suggests some ways to break up what can be considered a ‘closed-off culture’.

With statistics from Mates in Mind, a mental health in construction charity, revealing that suicide rates in the industry are three times higher than the national average, employers must act now to create the right working environment, that prioritises both physical and mental wellbeing.

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See page 28 for the full story.

Timber supply in precarious position? pay more attention to mental health and adopting a ‘fabric-first’ approach Celsa Steel UK’s sustainability vision and its aim to supply a near net-zero product to the construction market Real steel Please note: The opinions expressed by contributors and advertisers within this publication do not necessarily coincide with those of the editor and publisher. Every reasonable effort is made to ensure that the information published is accurate, and correct at time of writing, but no legal responsibility for loss occasioned by the use of such information can be accepted by the publisher. All rights reserved. The contents of the magazine are strictly copyright, the property of Finelight Media Group, and may not be copied, stored in a retrieval system, or reproduced without the prior written permission of the publisher.
In our cover story, Chris Hagg, Head of Sustainability and Strategy of Celsa
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Libbie Hammond Editor
Welcome 1
2 Inside this issue Materials Technology Net Zero Health and safety Skills 10 22 18 6 14 Contents 3 44 Floorbrite Collard Group GAP Group Cementir Group Merit 62 54 68 36 Celsa Steel UK Cover Story 28 construction & civil engineering magazine
4 TEi Sigma Group VolkerLaser ParkerSteel 86 102 110 96 Chasetown Civil Engineering WRC Recycling 78 74 Contents

Safe in mind

How mental health is related to physical health on construction sites

Nicola Hodkinson, owner and director of Seddon and trustee of Mates in Mind, is a fervent mental health advocate in an industry that loses two lives a day to suicide. Here, she explores why employees that are safe in mind are more likely to be safe on-site and why it’s crucial the industry does more to create a supportive environment for its employees.

Stress and mental health issues are prevalent in every workplace, from racing to meet tight deadlines to supply chain pressures. As nearly 70 per cent of our year is made up of working days, it’s an environment that can have an enormous influence on our mental state. In the current climate of rising inflation and the cost-of-living crisis especially, there are now even more pressures on individuals that can affect mental health.

The construction industry is perhaps most vulnerable to mental wellbeing challenges. Statistics from Mates in Mind, a mental health in construction charity, revealed that suicide rates in the industry are three times higher than the national average. When the black clouds are looming, it can directly impact the integrity of work on-site, meaning there is a direct correlation between mental health and on-site safety. An equilibrium between the two is needed and it’s a balance that can only be struck with an industry-wide approach to making construction a safe space for discussing mental health.

Creating an open culture

Almost one third of construction workers are living with elevated levels of anxiety each day, with the continuing stigma of mental illness preventing them from discussing it beyond close friends or family members. In a recent survey, in association with Mind, 85 per cent of tradespeople said they don’t feel comfortable talking about their mental health with others, despite 82 per cent having suffered from mental health issues. For that, the typically ‘macho’ environment of the industry is often to blame. That stigma has established a closed-off culture, one which we’re desperate to open up.

Toolbox talks are a perfect way to begin broaching the sensitive topics of mental health in a safe environment, where confidentiality is crucial. Conversations must centre around the talker’s feelings, with the listener expressing empathy whilst reserving judgement.

Resilience workshops, which offer guidance on how to distinguish between pressures and stress, as well as develop positive mental wellbeing habits, are particularly useful for site managers. Training sessions like these help the listener identify often subtle signs that an employee is struggling. They emphasise the importance of noting body language and behavioural changes because when a colleague says they’re fine, that isn’t always the case.

Health and safety

Recent statistics show that the industry loses two lives a day to suicide, compared with 30 reported fatal incidents on sites in 2021. Therefore, mental health risks should be something on-site workers and site managers look out for with the same importance as they do physical risks. If a positive mental health culture can become the standard, the industry can turn the tide of the negative statistics that plague it and become a much more supportive place when the going gets tough.

Empowerment through training

Be it recognising a co-worker is struggling mentally or spotting a potential safety risk before any danger arises, there’s a need to understand the importance of empowering our staff with the knowledge to make a difference. Through training and cross-departmental conversations, we can teach our staff best practices and ways to deal with difficult situations. This is especially the case for conversations around mental health, as these can be difficult to begin and successfully navigate. It also helps instil a receptiveness to new ideas and ways of working within our teams, allowing our policies and approaches to continually evolve. Health and safety should never be perceived as stationary or straightforward.

Learning from experience

Employee wellbeing is ever-evolving, and the industry must always be forward thinking and poised to adapt. It’s hugely important that everyone, especially decision-makers within the industry listen to what their


employees have to say and that, as a collective, we are offering solutions rather than simply highlighting problems. We must openly consult with our employees on matters and decisions that may affect them to understand their perspectives and act upon them to refine our policies. These meetings provide the platforms to engage in employeeled conversations around mental wellbeing and health and safety. That means the formation of key risk assessments is influenced by those on the ground who are closest to the project. If there are constant lines of communication between decisionmakers and on-site workers, we can help ease their work-related pressures and the associated anxieties.

Building on the right foundations

If these talks and training sessions are to be fruitful, attention must be paid to the overall working environment. Working practices and business norms play a big part in creating a positive culture where these initiatives can thrive. If you can establish an environment where collaboration is strong, where the workload and resulting pressures are split evenly across teams, hard work is rewarded, colleagues support one another and employees feel valued. You are laying the foundations upon which positive mental wellbeing and a culture of health and safety can be built. If employees feel the business truly cares for them, that care will be reciprocated. The right working environment lowers absence levels, heightens staff retention, and improves productivity, leaving staff

feeling empowered by policies and taking greater pride in their work. Positivity, care, and best practices trickle down from the top, so it is crucial businesses lead by example. Ultimately, health and safety is about employees knowing their employer is doing everything they can to keep them safe. Health and safety policies should make individuals feel their workplace is somewhere they can open up about mental health matters and that there is support for them whenever they need it. Only then can the industry be confident in its approach to mental wellbeing and health and safety. ■

For a list of the sources used in this article, please contact the editor.

Nicola Hodkinson

Seddon provides end-to-end integrated property services for customers across the North West and Midland regions and is headquartered in Bolton, Greater Manchester. From planning and procurement to construction, fit-out and refurbishment, and onto property services, the company works across multiple industries including housing, care, education and retail, with a loyal customer base in both the public and private sectors. Built on family values, Seddon has a group turnover of circa £200 million and a direct workforce of more than 250 professionals, craftspeople, technical staff and trainees/apprentices.

Health and safety

Grow our own

The Confederation of Forest Industries (Confor) recently warned that the UK faces declining supplies of home grown wood due to lack of productive tree planting. With the country currently needing to import over 80 per cent of its wood requirement, the UK could be sleepwalking into a timber shortage crisis in the not too distant future. Stuart Goodall, Chief Executive, Confor, examines the threats to supply and why the UK must urgently move productive tree planting up the agenda.

It should be concerning to everyone when a mature economy with the perfect conditions for growing a wide range of tree species should be in a potentially precarious position in relation to wood supply. But that’s exactly where we find ourselves. For decades we have not taken responsibility for investing in our domestic wood supply, leaving us exposed to fluctuating prices and fighting for future supplies of wood as global demand rises and our own supplies fall.

UK: the big net importer

The UK is the world’s second largest importer of wood after China, importing around £7.5 billion annually, because it currently grows only around 20 per cent of its wood requirement, leaving it exposed to a very significant balance (80 per cent) needing to be imported from other countries.

In 2020 the UK imported 48 million cubic metres of wood products, of which 22 per cent was sawnwood and wood-based panels destined for use by the building and construction industry. By 2021 this had increased by 15 per cent, with the UK importing an average of one million m3 of timber and panel products every month – a rare occurrence according to Timber Development UK. Specifically, softwood import volumes increased by over 21 per cent, hardwoods by 26 per cent and plywoods by over 13 per cent, demonstrating increased demand even during ongoing Covid restrictions.

Thought you were out of the woods? Think again.
Materials 11

Beyond the UK, it is estimated by the World Bank that global demand for wood products will treble by 2050, driven by an increased population of 7.8 billion today, to ten billion in less than 30 years. This huge increase is being driven primarily by higher living standards, greater urbanisationincluding China’s almost inexhaustible need for timber for both construction and manufacturing - and greater use of what is increasingly seen as a more sustainable building material.

These trends are being compounded at a time when a number of other global developments are coalescing. In particular, security of supply of natural resources is under ever greater threat from geopolitical upheavals, as witnessed by the Russian-Ukrainian crisis and soaring energy prices. While the UK may not be directly affected by Vladimir Putin’s incursion into Ukraine – overall Russian timber imports into the UK are relatively small at only 1.25 per cent – Russia remains the world’s largest supplier of timber globally. With potentially longerterm economic sanctions placed against Russian exports, there will inevitably be significant disruption to supply chains, price hikes and pressure on countries typically supplied by Russia, Ukraine and Belarus, to seek building material imports from other sources – including those Scandinavian countries that the UK relies upon so heavily.

Even before the Russian invasion, 2021 was a year when demand for wood outstripped supply, and timber prices rose significantly – with imported sawn or planed wood jumping by more than a fifth during the summer - leading to an increase in construction costs and delays in completing projects. The National Federation of Builders called for ministers to step in and urge councils

to show greater flexibility on materials changes, while the Building Back Britain Commission warned in November that the government’s housebuilding targets might be at risk.

An overlooked partner for Net Zero

The UK’s commitment to become net zero by 2050 is, in part, dependent on the greater sequestration of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) for which productive tree planting in the UK can make a significant contribution.

Wood in all its versatile forms – high value engineered wood products, roof and floor trusses, roof linings, timber frames, insulation, cladding, volumetric chipboard flooring, doors, windows, skirting and door frames - is a unique natural material that is truly sustainable. Not only is wood a readily available substitute for many materials which have much higher emissions loads, including brick, concrete, steel and polyurethane, but the tree from which it evolves sequesters large amounts of CO2 as it grows.

The opportunity is here

The UK has ideal conditions for growing wood to build low-carbon homes and is a global leader in certifying that its forests are sustainably managed. Yet, while the UK government has stated its ambition for more tree planting, there has been little action on the ground outside of Scotland. Confor is now calling for much greater impetus behind those aspirations to ensure we have enough wood to help meet increasing construction demand.

The causes of the UK’s current position whereby wood supply is falling just at the time we need it to increase, is complex, and ranges from outdated perceptions of productive forestry to a disconnect in


thinking between consumer demand for wood products and understanding the need to plant the forests that they come from. It also encompasses significant hesitation on behalf of farmers and other land owners to invest in longer term planting projects.

With the UK facing the likely scenario of increased competition for future imports, it is little wonder that Confor is highlighting the declining supply of UK domestic wood supply and the potential risk this poses to major industries including construction and manufacturing.

Being a highly populated, mature economy with a limited land mass, the UK is likely to always be a large importer of wood products. However, we are in the enviable position of having excellent growing conditions for productive planting, a robust regulatory system in place to ensure good forestry management and a deep commitment to biodiversity and achieving net zero status by mid-century. The building blocks of a stronger domestic security of wood supply are in place. What is needed now is greater stimulus by the UK government in order to leverage these advantages into reality.

For a list of the sources used in this article, please contact the editor.


Based in Edinburgh, Confor is the representative body for the UK’s forestry and wood industry, with almost 1500 members across the entire timber supply chain - from nurseries growing young trees to sawmillers and other wood processors. It supports sustainable forestry and wood-using businesses through political engagement and supporting members’ competitiveness.

13 Materials

Change is needed

The Covid 19 pandemic has blown the UK housing gap wide open, with many people suffering from overcrowded, insecure and inadequate housing. According to the National Housing Federation, 8.4 million people in England alone are living in unaffordable or unsuitable accommodation, at the same time, the BBC’s Housing Briefing states 1.2 million fewer homes have been built in the UK than required by the population, a situation that experts say could take 15 years to rectify.

Housing isn’t the only gap we’re experiencing. The construction sector is facing an ongoing skills shortage, which threatens to stall any plans made to accelerate housebuilding. One significant part of this shortage lies in Building Control. Approved Inspectors (AIs), the experts with the ability to sign off a building or a renovation at the point of completion, are decreasing in numbers with no sign of a significant influx of new talent to the sector. This is something that could cause a major bottleneck to the construction and subsequent occupation of these much-needed homes.

Homes constructed in the UK will always require the involvement of building control whether this comes from the local authority or the approved inspector network. As AIs, we act in an advisory capacity to developers and homeowners when it comes to ensuring the house is compliant with all of the current regulations. In a situation where there is a shortage of people with this expertise and qualification, we will begin to see an increase in valuable empty homes that could be used to improve the welfare of vulnerable people.

Will the building control skills gap expose the housing crisis further, or can we build a bridge to a better future?
Iain Thomson reports.
Skills 15

At the same time, instead of ensuring property owners make their return on investment, they could instead be facing costly insurance premiums to protect the work at point of sale.

In 2015, the government committed to building 300,000 homes a year by the mid2020s. But this can only happen if building control is able to acquire more skills to the sector. The challenge is that building control is not a leading career of choice for most. More often than not, we find that people’s perceptions of those working in building control is that of an introverted analytical type, only there to cause roadblocks to the success of a project. This is something that the industry must work on changing.

The truth is that building control officers have a vital role to play in the future of the built environment and our housing market. The day-to-day of the role is dynamic, social and significantly influential. Without building control officers and the knowledge that they bring to the table, construction projects will face uncertain futures or even end up being occupied without the correct compliance in place – a risk that nobody should be prepared to take. Understanding that these careers can play a huge part in alleviating the housing crisis could be just the thing to drive a younger wave of people towards a career in building control.

The building control industry needs to take responsibility for changing these misconceptions. It is vital we shift the focus towards it to being about people who care deeply for the future, safety and security of the UK’s housing. In reality there is a true consultative value that building

control offers to the clients they work with. Our role can involve anything from working with architects to plan from the first stages of drawings to completion of the project. It can involve consultation with a homeowner and their builder to ensure that an extension is built to the best possible standards. Or it can be about adding value to a developer to enable them to create more thermally efficient homes to command greater resale values. But this isn’t something that building control can do alone. The wider construction sector should be publicly backing the importance of building control officers, instead of seeing them simply as a hurdle than needs to be overcome.

There is an absolute necessity that housebuilders and developers can ensure safety in their buildings. Without the inspection of buildings by competent, qualified personnel, there is the potential for increased risks and major tragedies.

We as a society need building control officers to ensure the homes that we live in meet the required regulations. We need them to help challenge developers to build better housing and to work alongside architects to encourage them to create sustainable and energy efficient housing. We need them to support the creation of new methods of construction with offsite manufacturers, helping speed up the housebuilding process. And we need them to advise property owners about how a race to the bottom on price could put the building occupants at greater risk.

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Now is the time to advocate the work that building control does, to help grow our industry and build those allimportant houses for years to come 16
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Building control officers are working on behalf of the final occupants, ensuring they are safe and secure. At the same time, they are protecting the reputations of all the people involved in the project. Now is the time to advocate the work that building control does, to help grow our industry and build those all-important houses for years to come.

It is vital therefore that the building control sector, spanning across private and local authority, works in unity to ensure the misconceptions of the industry are changed. This can be achieved through open lines of communication with educational establishments, ensuring that the next generation can see the opportunities of a career in building control. Both sides of the sector must also invest in skilling up its workforce, creating a ‘one voice’ training method available unilaterally across the sector. The wider construction sector can play its part by creating stronger relationships with building control, establishing them as extensions of their own teams and not seeing them as a roadblock to their projects success. Finally, it needs to come from the UK Government and the newly appointed Building Safety Regulator, who should be ensuring their policy supports competent building control professionals, empowering them to develop their skills, to allow for talent pool large enough to work across the myriad of structures within our built environment. ■

Iain Thomson is CEO of Assent Building Control. Assent is a wellestablished UK-wide corporate Building Control Approved Inspector that provides a complete solution for all building control services. Founded in 2005, Assent is at the forefront of building control in the UK and has an excellent reputation, offering a very high level of service, building strong long-term relationships with its clients and is dedicated to adding value.

Iain Thomson
Skills 17


Is Net Zero an achievable target?

Building for the future with legacy in mind is a major challenge for the whole construction sector. Faced with the ambitious Net Zero target for 2050, the sensible approach is to make the right choices that not only meet but exceed regulatory targets for thermal efficiency without compromising on materials. Simon Storer, Chief Executive of the IMA, explains why a fabric-first approach to design is the way forward and a key measure to reducing heat loss, improving energy consumption, and cutting carbon emissions.

The role of PIR and PUR insulation in achieving energy efficient buildings and a sustainable future cannot not be underplayed. Good insulation is essential if homes and buildings in the UK are to become more energy efficient and sustainable and off-set some of the increasing energy costs and climate change conditions. The fabric-first approach to energy efficiency prioritises insulation within the building envelope, significantly restricting air leakage, which in turn prevents heat loss.


Using PIR insulation with high thermal efficiency will make a big difference between a building’s success or failure and is one of the simplest and most cost-effective ways to reduce energy demand and cut CO2 . The thermal performance of a building envelope makes a significant contribution to reducing the overall building energy usage – so tighter U-values in walls, floors and roofs will help to deliver the standards required.

With lambda values as low as 0.021 W/ mK, PIR insulation is available as boards, blocks and composite panels, and PUR as spray and cavity injected insulation. Performance can be achieved with products that are thinner than many other commonly used insulants. In short, designers can achieve the highest insulation values from the minimum thickness of material, which in turn maximises floor space. PIR insulation products are widely used on residential, commercial and refurbishment projects because of their exceptional insulating properties, high strength and light weight.

Build back better

Whilst many more affordable homes need to be built to an overall higher performance level to reduce costs and emissions, all homes need to be finished to a much better build quality. We must reduce or better still eliminate the ‘performance gap’ between design performance and what is built.

If the housing stock is to meet long-term performance standards, then we must have more thermally-efficient building envelopes “ “ “ “
Net Zero 19

This is why competency in installation is vital, because when a high performing product such as PIR/PUR is not installed correctly, the thermal performance will not be maximised and the full benefits not realised.

Contractors need to make sure that not only the levels of site supervision are of a good standard, but the manufacturer’s installation instructions are followed to avoid issues around potential cold thermal bridges and awkward details. Once the high-quality building fabric has been completed there should be no need to worry about it over the life of the building.

Getting it right first time

If the housing stock is to meet longterm performance standards, then we must have more thermallyefficient building envelopes, which in turn will result in improved comfort for occupants. Getting the fabric of the building properly insulated should always be the starting point. It is a fundamental step towards achieving the net-zero target as well as compliance with the energy performance requirements of the revised Building Regulations Part L.

By considering the fabric from the outset of a project, it is estimated


to cost just one-fifth of the total cost of retrofitting to the same quality and standard at a later date. Homes should be built that solve today’s challenges and provide long term solutions, as it would be scandalous if homes being built today become the homes in 2050 that need to be retrofitted.

Changes to Part L Regulations

Within the new Part L requirements of the building regulations, all new homes will be expected to produce 31 percent less carbon emissions through a combination of fabric improvements, low carbon heating technologies and PV panels. This 31 percent reduction is the first step, but by 2025, new

housing will be expected to produce 75-80 percent less carbon emissions compared to current standards. Achieving higher Fabric Energy Efficiency Standards (FEES) in specifications will be crucial for housebuilders in order to pass SAP and comply with Part L. Looking ahead to the Future Homes Standard in 2025, boilers might be replaced with air source heat pumps or some other low carbon technology, but the fabric targets of the building are expected to remain. As we have said, getting the fabric right in the first instance, is not only a sustainable approach but also a tried-and-tested way of limiting heat loss within the building.

The enormous challenge of achieving a Net Zero carbon-built environment must be woven into what many are now saying must be a ‘green economic recovery.’ Good insulation clearly has a role to play and by taking the fabric-first approach, specifiers will be taking the direct route to achieving the Net Zero target. ■

Insulation Manufacturers Association

Insulation Manufacturers Association (IMA) is the Trade Association that represents both the Polyisocyanurate (PIR) and Polyurethane (PUR) insulation industry in the UK. Its members manufacture rigid insulation that provides around 40 percent of the total thermal insulation market in the UK. IMA’s membership comprises all of the major companies in the industry, including manufacturers of finished PIR and PUR insulation products, as well as suppliers of raw materials and associated services.

Net Zero 21

The next step

Artificial Intelligence and the construction industry

It’s been 21 years since Steven Spielberg’s film A.I. Artificial Intelligence was released. At the time, many of us watched with disbelief that we could ever become so reliant on technology.

Fast-forward to now, and AI technologies are hugely prevalent across all industries. The construction industry has historically been quite behind with the use of technology, instead relying on traditional skilled tradesmen to do the job.

However, AI is slowly infiltrating the sector with the introduction of 3D printing and bricklaying robots, building information modelling (BIM) systems, intelligent HR systems and much more.

Bricklaying robots built an entire house in High Wycombe in just 33 hours last year and the creators believe that time could become up to four times faster.

three years, five years ahead and look at how our business is going to evolve

“As part of that forward planning, it’s important to make sure that you are making the most of any opportunity that comes your way. Perhaps you’re a bricklayer, and you could ensure that you are trained on the operation of any new equipment as soon as possible. That way, you’ll be at the forefront of pioneering approaches to modern construction, as they come along.

“It’s important for us to train our workforce on new modern

“Bricklaying robots could mean loss of jobs for a skilled workforce, but I believe there is room for both. Robots are probably doing more straightforward builds rather than technical builds and there is no substitute for well-honed expertise and craftsmanship passed from one

Sharing his opinion on the subject, Parm Bhangal, Managing Director for Bhangals Construction Consultants, commented: “In the construction business, it’s all about strategy and planning. We always plan 12 months,

“However, introducing this type of automated technology could speed up a build, provide less waste days and allow more efficiency. And of course, it could be a vital way of combatting the continued materials and skills shortage that the construction industry is now facing.”

So, what does this mean for the industry?
Technology 23

Another type of AI which is becoming more prevalent in the construction industry, is building information modelling (BIM). This process imitates the construction process in a virtual environment, meaning an entire project can be scoped and costed before a single shovel of dirt is turned.

This intelligent software modelling process means that architects, engineers and contractors can collaborate on a building’s design, construction and operation, in a more risk-free and cost-effective setting.

According to Dodge Data and Analytics, users of BIM systems report benefits such as an improved ability to manage complexity, improved design quality, reduced errors and reworks, better ability to meet customer and design requirements and increased stakeholder buy-in.

Parm believes BIM systems have been a game-changer for the construction industry. “It’s the foundation of digital transformation within the industry. It means that we go into each project fully prepared and with a comprehensive understanding of scope and cost.

“Quite often, a problem that could have derailed the whole build will be solved before construction work on a project has even started.

“BIM is an absolutely vital piece of AI technology which is improving the way we build across the world. I am confident that we will only see this type of technology become more prevalent in the coming years.”

AI technology can also be used to alter the design itself. Parametric design is the practice of using AI to alter design parameters and achieve staggering design feats. AI analyses

▲ Parm Bhangal discussing strategies with the team

thousands of blueprints as source material for a project, then designs its own concepts with this new knowledge. This can lead to innovative design elements based on ‘best practice’ designs from across the world.

But AI technology isn’t just confined to scoping out projects. It can also help when hiring the skilled people who will deliver these projects. AI HR software supports quality recruitment efforts by analysing applicants, an essential cog in the construction industry machine.

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be put off by the lack of human intervention. After all, the industry was built on human relations – right from the teams who plan out a building project through to the workers who build them.

“However, we are facing a labour shortage which cannot be underestimated, and AI technology could play a vital part in alleviating those concerns somewhat. I would encourage business owners to do their research on AI technologies and make an informed decision.

AI technology can also keep a detailed personnel record, enabling the software to predict employees who might be inclined to lead or employees that may be close to leaving. This can inform management’s decisionmaking for taking the appropriate actions to form teams and help employees grow.

The uses of AI in the construction industry don’t end there. It is predicted that technology such as surveillance drones, wearable tech that learns workers’ habits and schedules to personalise safety alerts, 3D printers which detect and repair structural design flaws, and autonomous equipment which perform heavy-duty tasks which are unsafe or unreachable for humans, will all become a more commonplace sight in years to come.

Parm said: “The future uses of AI in the construction industry are countless, and we’re seeing new technologies emerge all the time. I do not believe that this means redundancy or lack of opportunity for an average construction worker. Rather, AI exists to make projects more streamlined, stress-free and safe.

“So what are the downsides? Quite often, the initial upfront cost for purchasing one of these types of AI is prohibitive, and may put many business owners off. Also, some can

“With all new technology and incoming trends, it is vital to look at how it will affect you and your business and plan accordingly for that, ensuring you adapt to stay strong in the market.” ■

Parm Bhangal

Parm Bhangal is Managing Director at Bhangals Construction Consultants. Parm is a regular on Business and Construction podcasts as well as writing articles about the Construction industry. In 2019, he won ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ and ‘Employer of the Year’.

Bhangals Construction Consultants offers quantity surveying and estimating services to builders, architects, property developers and homeowners to support them with their renovation and development works. It can supply one service or complete project management. It talks to customers and help them to make the most out of their budgets and keep their construction project costs down.

Technology 25
Quite often, a problem that could have derailed the whole build will be solved before construction work on a project has even started

Real steel

How Celsa Steel UK is becoming a leader in sustainability for the construction industry
28 Cover Story
Celsa Steel UK 29

With more than 9000 employees and a turnover of over €5 billion, Celsa Group is the second largest recycler and manufacturer of long products in Europe. The family-owned company, with over 50 years’ experience in the steel industry, has pushed itself to become one of the most diversified and integrated producers of reinforcement steel within the construction industry.

Celsa Group produces eight million tonnes of steel per annum from its melt shops based in Spain, the UK, Poland, Norway, and France. In addition to this, it also owns and operates downstream fabricators and upstream scrap operations. This month, Construction & Civil Engineering hears from the Head of Sustainability and Strategy of its UK branch, Chris Hagg, about the development of the company’s British footprint, and how it is determined to grow its operation.

30 Cover Story

Celsa Steel UK (Celsa) has been producing in the UK for nearly 20 years, and is one of the largest recycling companies in the country. It produces all its products exclusively through an Electric Arc Furnace (EAF) process, using scrap metal as the raw material. Based in Cardiff, Wales, the business’ EAF capability can produce over one million tonnes of steel per year. Adjacent to the steel production, Celsa also has its Rod & Bar Mill capable of producing 900,000 tonnes per year of reinforcing and wire rod products, and its Sections Mill capable of producing 350,000 tonnes per year of merchant bar and sections. At its facilities in Cardiff, Celsa employs over 900 people, and has an annual revenue of over £500 million.

“All Celsa’s products contain 98 per cent recycled content and conform to the latest British Standards,” Chris states. “Information relating to quality assurance, test certificates,


We’re the original asphalt recycling company; developing, and manufacturing highperformance asphalt products since the 1960s. With 95 percent of our asphalt recycled, we are leading the way with our sustainable roadmaking solutions. Our unique asphalt recipes, and tailored services add superior value wherever there’s an environmental challenge. We’re dedicated to creating firstclass products, matched by our commitment to innovation and sustainability.

Celsa Steel UK 31

properties of the steel, and deliveries can be supplied digitally, directly to the customer. An additional benefit that we provide is all our rebar output is grade B 500 C, nuclear grade, suitable for nuclear power station construction, as well as multiple iconic projects throughout the UK. Our rebar is easily recognisable with UK stamped on every bar.”

Keeping in step with the company’s recycling initiative, there are a variety of strategies in place for the business to remain committed to sustainability. Chris acknowledges that in many instances, particularly given the cost requirements of the construction industry, this is not an easy

task. However, Celsa incorporates innovation to ensure that it contributes to minimizing its carbon footprint. “We are a very energy intensive company with low margins for our products,” he insists. “However, we are always looking for ways to improve our energy efficiency, productivity, and cost effectiveness. We have many continuous improvement projects in place to reduce the amount of both electricity and gas used, such as hot charging, energy recuperation, oxygen enrichment, and a new SVC.

“We are already a low-carbon steel producer with emissions that are less than a quarter of alternative steelmaking routes,” he adds. “Our decarbonisation pathway is clear.

32 Cover Story

To reduce our direct scope one emissions, we need to have an alternative to natural gas for our reheating furnaces in particular. Currently, it appears the most likely alternative is hydrogen, and we are in discussions with a number of potential hydrogen suppliers. Eliminating our carbon emissions from natural gas would reduce our emissions by over 60 per cent. Our scope two emissions are dependent upon decarbonisation of the national grid or alternative arrangements (for example, Power Purchase Agreements) for provision of renewable electricity. We have identified our scope three emissions, and they will be worked on in conjunction with suppliers in the future.”

The pandemic hit the construction industry particularly hard. Fortunately, Celsa is equipped with a dedicated and hardworking team, and was able to pivot quickly to ensure the security of its operation. “Unlike

Jaga Brothers

Jaga Brothers is a general haulier in South Wales that has been trading since 2006.

As a business, we specialise in steel and construction deliveries across the UK. We are also accredited with FORS Bronze certification, and are adamantly working towards a Silver.

Jaga Brothers has had a partnership with Celsa Steel UK since 2009, but it is only the last five years that we have taken our partnership to a greater scale. We deliver approximately 180,000 tonnes a year for Celsa, and are due to increase these volumes to 250,000 tonnes a year.

We believe Celsa Steel UK to be a key business within the construction industry, and we are proud to be a key partner in the company’s success.

Celsa Steel UK 33

many business in the UK, Celsa did not cease working during the pandemic,” Chris reflects. “Whilst demand for our products was immediately affected, and for a period of time it was only a third of our normal rate, the resilience and loyalty of our workforce meant that we were able to continue production.

“Having provided all those who were capable of working from home with the necessary resources a full week in advance of the national lockdown, we were well prepared to continue,” he adds. “Unfortunately, the impact on our business was such that we needed intervention to be able to support everyone. We were immensely grateful for the government’s financial help, which came in the form of a loan under the bespoke arrangement of the Birch Scheme for the exceptional circumstances of ‘a company of strategic importance’.”

Despite these challenges Chris acknowledges that Celsa did not compromise on quality and project delivery for its

customers. “We continually consult with our clients and ultimate end users about potential new requirements,” he says. “The construction industry has often been slow to adopt new standards and opportunities to innovate. We remain ready and willing to offer higher strengths grades and new sizes for projects.”

In conjunction with this, the business is also proud of the team with which it works. Celsa’s company culture is one that is committed to the growth and development of its people. The business has invested substantially in training and development to ensure that it prioritises the safety, wellbeing, and vocational growth of each individual within the business. As a result, it has crafted a dynamic group that has served as the cornerstone of its overall prosperity.

Part of the company’s success is also driven by the excellent relationships maintained within its supply network. The synergy in this regard has meant that products can reach the company’s customers

34 Cover Story

in pristine condition and in a timely manner. Commitment to this goal has meant that the business is able to fulfil projects to the best of its ability. “The most successful contracts are those where the supply chain is consulted and aligned,” Chris argues. “In recent experience, the most progressive have been major projects where there was great dialogue between us, our partners, and customers to achieve optimum results.”

As businesses adopt best strategies to help navigate their supply chain difficulties, Celsa remains on course for a positive result in 2022. This has been a successful journey for the company. However, it has not been without its challenges, and currently, according to Chris, the largest is the turbulence of the supply chain, both in terms of raw materials and energy. “Because we are committed to improve our circularity, we want better segregation of materials within the scrap we receive, so we can separate out the non-ferrous (aluminium, copper, rare

earths) from the ferrous scrap suitable for our production,” he explains.

Chris expresses that there are some exciting developments in the pipeline that will serve as a fantastic springboard for the company’s continued growth. “We are looking at the best opportunities to help increase our economic stability,” he concludes. “From my perspective, it is important that the UK Government fulfils its promise to address the disparity between electricity costs in the UK and near competitors. Once this has been resolved, that will place us in a stronger position to secure our longevity. Beyond that, when I think about our five-year plan, we are determined to further reduce our carbon footprint in the coming years to supply a near net zero product to the construction market.” ■

Celsa Steel UK 35

Cementing foundations dstrong s

Cementir Group is revolutionising the construction industry with these two products

Cementir Group (Cementir) is a leading multinational company in the building materials sector. With operations in 18 countries, and a production capacity of over 13 million tons of white and grey cement, the business produces around five million cubic metres of ready-mix concrete.

According to Michele Di Marino, the company’s Chief Sales, Marketing & Commercial Development Officer, Cementir is renowned for its cement capabilities. In Denmark, it is the only producer of cement, while in Scandinavia, its name is synonymous with high-quality concrete. Furthermore, the company is the third largest player in Belgium and among the main international grey cement manufacturers in Turkey. “With our Belgian acquisition in 2016, we started to operate one of the largest aggregate quarries in Europe, with over ten million tons extracted each year,” says Michele. “In Turkey and the UK, we are active in the treatment of urban and industrial waste, which we use to produce waste-derived fuel for our cement plants.”

In the last few years, Cementir has successfully diversified its portfolio, both geographically and in its products, establishing a significant presence in aggregates and concrete. “We have also invested in green technologies and renewable resources, serving the energy needs of our cement plants,” Michele tells us. “As a result, we are becoming a global player through investments and acquisitions of over 1.7 billion euros. Between 2016 and 2018, we strengthened our business portfolio and competitive position by acquiring CCB in Belgium, selling all our manufacturing activities in Italy and acquiring control of Lehigh White Cement Company in the US.”

◀ Graanmarkt Kortrijk

Completion in 2021, Belgium

Extreme ® UHPC Vertical Sun-screens

Precster: Enjoy Concrete

Architect: Govaert-vanhoutte architects

Cementir Group 37

For Michele, listening to and satisfying the needs of customers is an integral part of Cementir’s mission. The business is at the forefront of process and product innovation, which is crucial to the strategy that separates it from the competition. “Innovation is in our DNA,” he confirms. “Since the beginning, we have been producing special cement. We consider research and development a strategic and essential tool to improve both product

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quality and sustainability. For us, innovation means continuously broadening our horizon by listening to the market and our customers’ needs. This approach leads us to develop new products and solutions capable of improving existing performances, and promoting a circular economy.

“As a result, our business is constantly evolving,” Michele develops. “We offer a wide range of products from grey and white cement to concrete, aggregates and high value adding cement-based products. We strive to provide tailor-made services to our customers, such as support during the project design, development and construction phases, aftersales services, technical support, environment-friendly solutions, transport, and trading.”

The company established a global innovation engine for white cement known as InWhite, with the purpose of generating an actionable pipeline of customer value initiatives. By bringing new solutions for well-known applications, or completely new applications for white cement-based products, this innovation aligns with megatrends detected in society, such as customisation, circular economy, and high-energy efficient solutions.

Cementir Group 38
...listening to and satisfying the needs of customers is an integral part of Cementir’s mission
◀ ▲ Graanmarkt Kortrijk Completion in 2021, Belgium Extreme ® UHPC Vertical Sun-screens Precster: Enjoy Concrete Architect: Govaert-vanhoutte architects

As part of the InWhite solutions umbrella, Cementir rolled out Ultra-HighPerformance Concrete (UHPC) Aalborg Extreme and Aalborg Excel in 2019. Both products have been successfully used in thin and slim architecture concrete elements of commercial and residential projects thanks to its excellent performance in terms of compressive and tensile strength, shrinkage, and durability.

“Our goal is to develop solutions in close collaboration with customers, consultants, and partners,” Michele shares. “We will maximise existing technology to reduce Scope 1 emissions, according to a net-zero pathway endorsed by the Science-Based Targets initiative and EU.”

Another one of these solutions is Cementir’s FUTURECEM® technology, a patented, low-carbon cement that allows more than 35 percent of the energy intensive clinker in cement to be replaced by limestone and calcined clay. The technology is fully recognised as a solution for clinker ratio reduction in the roadmap to lower carbon in the cement industry by the International Energy Agency. It’s this same technology that forms the basis for Aalborg Extreme and Aalborg Excel.

“FUTURECEM® has been on the market in Denmark since January 2021, placing Cementir as the market leader in sustainable and low carbon cement,” Michele comments. “Following its launch in Denmark, FUTURECEM® roll-out is now accelerating in our European market. CCB, Cementir’s subsidiary in Belgium, has commercialised FUTURECEM® in France in the first quarter of 2022, while in the Benelux, the target is by 2023.

Extreme® UHPC Structural fence

Precaster: C-Concrete

Architect: Archipelago and Group Infrabo

Construction: Cordeel Hoeselt NV

Swissport building of Brussels Airport, Completion in 2021, Belgium

“In May 2022, we then launched Aalborg Inbind, a white, premixed cementitious product, across our European markets,” he adds. “Again based on FUTURECEM® patented technology, it’s an excellent complement to the existing range of InWhite solutions. We’re also excited about the next phase of innovation. Our UHPC bridge overlay product Aalborg Recover has completed its trial phase, and will be available for infrastructure applications next year.”

People first Cementir is currently investing about 100 million euros into sustainability projects, such as the 2022 to 2024 Industrial Plan, approved by the Board of Directors in February 2022. “This development will include the revamping of the kiln at our Belgian plant, thereby increasing our alternative fuels from 40 to 80 per cent. We will achieve this by switching to natural gas and biogas in some plants, and ramping up facilities

at the Aalborg plant to produce FUTURECEM®, as well as extending district heating and other energy efficiency projects. There are also initiatives to reduce transport climate change impact and make the best possible use of water resources.”

To make products like this possible, Cementir depends on a team that prioritises industry solutions and innovation. “People are at the origin of our success, and they are the first stakeholders to whom we turn our attention and our commitment,” Michele emphasises. “We care deeply about the wellbeing of our team, and we strive for our employees to experience serenity in their working environment. We want to make them feel safe and motivated, and recognise that the company’s success is rooted in people and their professionalism. There is an internal awareness that drives us to promote well-being by investing in health and safety, remuneration policies, and professional growth.”

Cementir Group 41

The journey for Cementir has been one of continuous improvement, and although there have been a few challenges, the path ahead looks just as prosperous. Before we end our discussion, however, Michele is keen to reiterate the company’s strong focus on professional growth. “Through the internal and external training programmes we have in place, we’re launching several initiatives under the Cementir Academy umbrella, which is an accelerator of individual development,” he concludes. “These span into four macro learning streams: cultural and corporate, managerial, technical and functional, and onboarding. We’re very excited to see them push the expertise of our team.” ■

◀ New Westminster Secondary School in Canada, 2020 | Extreme® UHPC façade

Precaster: Centura Building Systems Ltd

Architect: KMBR Architects


With 70 years’ experience in the cement industry, Teamnetwork SRL offers a wide range of integrated industrial services, from single equipment to EPC solutions, plant and design, civil and industrial engineering, logistics, management and technical consulting, and industrial maintenance.

In June 2022, Teamnetwork established an EPC solution to feed limestone to cement mills, reducing both clinker consumption and CO2 emissions for Aalborg Portland’s Plant in Denmark. Teamnetwork’s technical department has proposed an automated limestone storage that is less invasive than its competitors’ solutions.

The 6000-ton storage structure consists of concrete and steel. Trucks unload the material into two pits, and an automated crane handles it either in the storage area or in two hoppers, with feeding capacity of 220 t/h. Weigh feeders and belt conveyors connect storage to mills, with modular dosing capacity set by a control system from CCR, and dedusting systems are at storage input/output points.

Cementir Group 42


Teamnetwork SRL offers a wide range of integrated industrial services, from single equipment to EPC solutions, plants design, civil and industrial engineering, logistics, management and technical consulting, industrial maintenance, based on 70 years of experience in the cement industry.

In June 2022 Teamnetwork elaborated an EPC solution to feed limestone to cement mills, reducing both clinker consumption and CO2 emissions for Aalborg Portland’s Plant in Denmark. Teamnetwork’s technical department has proposed an automated limestone storage, less invasive than competitors’ solutions.

The storage structure will be made of concrete and steel with a capacity of 6.000 tons; trucks will unload the material in two pits and an automated crane will handle it either in the storage area or in two hoppers, with feeding capacity around 220 t/h. Weigh feeders and belt conveyors will connect storage to mills, with modular dosing capacity to be set by control system from CCR, and dedusting systems will be in storage input/output points.
Teamnetwork EPC solution to reducing clinker and CO2 emissions for Aalborg Portland’s Plant in Denmark


MD of Merit, Tony Wells, shares his vision for the future of construction

This year, Merit is celebrating not only its 20th anniversary, but a landmark moment in an incredibly turbulent period of success. It additionally marks two decades of operation under the current Managing Director, Tony Wells, who has manoeuvred the company from a difficult position, back in 2002, to its industry leading standpoint in offsite construction today. A true success story.

Before Tony’s acquisition, Merit was a process pipe fitting company that had been trading since the mid-90s. He explains how he was unaware, when he arrived in the UK, that it was heading for insolvency in the following quarter: “I was living in the US, and you can only do so much in terms of due diligence. We did a quick crash course in insolvency practice, and I fired a third of the workforce after two weeks. I then instigated a number of changes to carry us through and obtained

a large contract in Germany, for a semi-conductor hook up. Within five months, we had more people at Merit than before the restructuring.”

Coming from a background of working alongside the likes of IBM, Motorola, and Siemens, on projects around the globe, Tony had his sights set on far brighter prospects for Merit. “The idea was to come up with an optimised design for minimised construction costing: maximising usable space and the overall productivity of the facility,” he says. “We repurposed the business around construction and the self-delivery of process pipework, and then we went after some larger contracts – we won Halley IV Research Station in 2006.”

Tony describes this initial project as a “baptism,” however, with only its initial 120,000-square-foot factory, Merit stepped up to the challenge and gained a great deal of knowledge in the process.

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From its base in Northumberland, Merit provides its clientele with an intelligence-driven solution to construction, through a combination of its own unique platform design and offsite project delivery. It offers improvements in all elements of design, mechanical and electrical installation and building methodologies – whilst working towards its zero-carbon emissions initiative. Merit breaks its production process down into four steps: design, manufacture, build and validation.

“I am a vertically integrated design guy, I have been since I worked at British Steel where we commissioned all of our own designs,” Tony says, which is perhaps why Merit places such great importance on its primary design step. Merit creates a BIM model that is optimised specifically for its own offsite manufacturing platform

I am a vertically integrated design guy, I have been since I worked at British Steel
“ “

◀ Autolus -BIM model representation with little IP

Puretech Environmental

Puretech Environmental designs, installs, commissions and maintains industrial wastewater treatment plants. We operate in many industrial sectors, such as aerospace, automotive, food & beverage, medical, chemical, and waste sectors without restrictions to new horizons.

Two philosophies drives the business: understanding the manufacturing processes to profile the effluent, offering opportunities to possibly treat at source, and offering guarantees of performance.

Our relationship with Merit is a perfect illustration of our design and build business model, whereby we can support from tender stage all the way through to commissioning.

Merit 47

designs, which in turn improves the overall productivity and reduces the time required for project completion. “We are a design company and that is the key. What we have done is create our own design platform so that we can manufacture ourselves to maximise productivity, with the driving force to be able to construct a building three years faster than anyone else.”

Through Tony’s thirst for innovation and well executed re-investments of capital, Merit’s manufacturing now takes place in its state-of-theart, 270,000 square-foot-factory, and has a second facility under development. Utilising an advanced 4D BIM modelling technology, Merit has its own specialised approach to manufacturing, and constructs everything from vaccine and healthcare facilities through to

cleanrooms and laboratories. Tony believes that: “Britain should be manufacturing high-technology products. We shouldn’t be a partial assembler or an importer – if you want to be a growing developed economy then you innovate and invest in R&D and automation to deliver high productivity growth.”

Given the nature of Merit’s approach to building, Tony doesn’t necessarily class what it does as ‘traditional construction’. “We don’t do a lot of construction per se. We are manufacturing and assembling, but how we deliver it is different. ‘Traditional’ construction is becoming a minority part of what we are doing.” Again, every step is focused on increased productivity, allowing Merit to hit its target of sending each of its pre-assembled modules into manufacture early for every project.

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270,000 square-foot factory expansion concept render
Merit POD/PAM roof install at Autolus Approved Design for Berwick NHS Hospital Installation of POD/ PAMs on site (CPI) Piramal POD install 2
Piramal Crane Drop

Validation is the final step in the Merit production process, and the business is fully competent in certifying to Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP), Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) standards, among others. Its wealth of experience has fed into its standardised design platforms, saving both time and cost in ensuring that the final product will be certification ready. To date, Merit has worked alongside the likes of UBS, Autolus, Piramal, GlaxoSmithKline, Rolls Royce, the Royal Albert Hall, Harrods, and the NHS.

“We are fiercely made in Britain and don’t outsource any processes overseas. We can’t offsite manufacture other people’s products due to their differing form of design,” Tony states, with reference to the self-reliant nature of the business. Merit’s fully integrated approach to operations, providing a full turnkey service, saw it evade the supply chain issues faced by most contactors during the pandemic. “Of course, nobody wants to profit from the misery of others,” he sympathises. “But, without the option to travel, people had to use zoom calls. This transformation wouldn’t have happened without enforced isolation, and this transition helped us tremendously.”

The business’ rapid growth has seen it go from strength-to-strength, whether measured by its constant innovation and self-development or its order book for the coming year already at over £150 million. This, combined with its previous two years, has it set to hit £250 million in turnover in the next couple of years.

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an advanced 4D BIM modelling technology, Merit has its own specialised approach to manufacturing
Merit 51
“ “ Utilising

Tony believes that the opposite of the UK’s fragmented approach to construction is where businesses stand to flourish in terms of profitability and productivity. “The industry has created its own dead end of development in terms of fragmentation, it’s about as far removed from classical management and productivity implementation as you can get,” he concludes. The future, it would seem, lies in providing everything. ■

CGT Phase 2 Cleanrooms Merit 53

Breaking down, building up

From rubbish destined for landfill to alternative materials prime for building – how Collard Group is changing the construction game… one piece of rubble at a time

Collard Group 55

When Construction & Civil Engineering last spoke with Collard Group (Collard) in 2019, the world was a very different place. Masks still reminded us of Halloween and Zorro. Corona was gleefully ordered with a wedge of lime. People still blew out candles on birthday cakes without thinking about spreading germs. Ironically, last time we sat down with Managing Director, Robert Collard, he thought 2020 was going to be an interesting year. That is certainly one word for it.

“The pandemic was a very difficult time, both commercially and personally, not just for us as a company but for our customers and staff as well,” he now reflects, several years on. “However, it is this difficulty that enabled us to pause and re-evaluate the core values of Collard Group, along with our systems and procedures. Indeed, having to practically adapt to the ever-changing needs of our staff and customers during the furlough period meant that we also had to streamline our operations and become more efficient without compromising on safety or quality.

“Covid-19 has been a major event for everyone, and it has changed the outlook of many,” he continues. “However, considering the difficulties of the last three years, particularly with the pandemic and Brexit, morale has remained high. During the furlough period, for instance, people enjoyed the benefits of working from home, and this fundamentally changed how many businesses operate.”

Collard Group 57

Despite these testing obstacles, the company, which has the capacity to process and recycle one million tonnes of construction waste per year, has experienced significant growth since our last feature. Following the acquisition of Raymond Brown Waste Solutions in late 2019, it has not only rebranded, but also restructured and expanded its geographical reach across Surrey, Hampshire, Berkshire, Wiltshire, and Oxfordshire.

Refusing stasis and fixity, the company has catapulted itself forward – and the intention is to keep the wheels turning. “As a business, we are never prepared to stand still or by the sidelines,” elaborates Robert. “Instead, we will continually invest in the latest equipment, even in difficult financial times.

Circular service

“But, at the end of the day, it is our people who are at the heart of our business and its success,” he admits. “We have a strong philosophy of promoting from within, and we invest in a range of training and apprenticeships programmes to give people the opportunities and confidence they need to have a long career with us.”

In fact, four of Collard’s team have just celebrated the major milestone of 20 years of employment at the company. It is that commitment, passion, and strong can-do attitude that Robert sees as the evidence to keep reinvesting back into the business and expanding through new acquisitions. “The people at Collard encourage me to take advantage of exciting new opportunities as they arise through a resounding sense


of positivity and loyalty,” he notes. “Indeed, by investing over £5 million every year in research and development, plant facilities, and equipment, we have been able to attract the very best strategic and operational team. Alongside that, we have developed a robust network of suppliers, who are undoubtedly part of our continued success.”

Thanks to these relationships, Collard has established itself as one of the largest privatelyowned national demolition contractors and waste management firms in the South of England, employing 400 people, operating 150 trucks with more than 4000 skips, and turning over more than £60 million. As Robert goes on to point out, another reason behind this continued success is the new, complete circular service that Collard is offering to its customers.

Collard Group 59

“Since 1994, our family-run business has grown, adapted, and evolved to reflect the many changes in the construction and waste sectors, providing expert closed-loop solutions for a significant number of complex projects across the UK,” he explains. “Our unique capability to repurpose virtually all construction and demolition waste from site helps our public sector, local authority, commercial, and residential clients achieve their zero-to-landfill targets.”

By demolishing, recycling, and repurposing material, Collard can take what was destined for the rubbish pile and help turn it into a new building, ensuring landfill and virgin material cost savings for clients. More importantly, though, Collard is slashing the carbon footprint of other firms one piece of rubble at a time.

“We also now produce a range of BSEN206 8500 ready mix concrete using construction and demolition waste,” Robert details. “That is something we believe we are the first in the UK to do, and we have received industry-wide acclaim as a result.

“In addition to that, our 90-meters-cubedper-hour concrete plant represents one of our most significant investments to date,” he adds. “Our concrete is checked by our UKASaccredited, onsite laboratory to make sure it meets BSI standards. We now have nine licenced waste transfer stations across the South East and are continuing to upgrade them in order to maximise their efficiency and capacity.

“Meanwhile, at our materials recycling facility in Reading, we are making excellent progress on building a huge extension, doubling our waste processing capacity at the site,” Robert reveals. “The infrastructure works are almost complete ahead of the highly anticipated installation of our new £2.5 million Terex waste plant in the coming months. These upgrades help us to process more waste, protect the planet, and achieve our industry-leading recycling statistics.”

As our interview has made clear, though Collard is in the business of breaking things


down, it is also determined to build them back up. For instance, in 2020 the company won two major awards at the National Recycling Awards, an event organised and hosted by Materials Recycling Weekly. The judging panel crowned Collard as Independent Operator of the Year and as running the Recycling Facility of the Year.

Going forward, Robert admits the future of the company looks bright. “The rest of the year looks very positive,” he says. “We have had a strong year thus far and our pipeline of projects is healthy.

“In the next five years or so, I would like to see the business continue to grow and develop into one of the South of England’s largest independent demolition, waste, and recycling companies, while at the same time also allowing the continued development of the management team and the careers of our people,” he concludes. ■

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The cleaning of life

This year, Floorbrite is celebrating its 50th anniversary. Established in 1972, the business was set up by Martin Wyers. His daughter, Nina, now serves as the company’s Marketing & Brand Director. She breaks down the story of how Floorbrite has become a leading commercial cleaning and facilities management company, offering a diverse range of services to businesses of all sizes. “My dad started the business as a cleaning company, and it has only been over the last ten years that we have diversified into other facility services to be able to provide a complete package,” she begins. “We cover the whole of the UK, with a head office and separate distribution centre in Manchester, as well as additional centres in the Midlands and West Yorkshire.”

Floorbrite has a longstanding family ethos and commitment to working in close partnership with its clients, providing efficient, innovative, and comprehensive solutions, specifically tailored to the needs of each business. “Our journey is oriented around us as a family,” Nina says. “My mum became the Chairman to continue Dad’s legacy. My two brothers, Nik and Alex Wyers, are the joint Managing Directors. Nik looks after the business’ development and diversification, and Alex focuses on the commercial side. I come from a sales and creative background. I studied art at college and then fashion at university. My creativity was put to best use, and combined with my sales experience, I became responsible for marketing the company.”

Floorbrite’s approach to cleaner solutions is one that is also tackling climate change
Floorbrite 63

Nina has since become the face and voice of her father’s company, and believes wholeheartedly in the values for which he stood. “He was very certain of what sort of culture he wanted to create, and I still deliver that consistent message of being a close and united team,” she reflects. “I love working with everyone in the office; we have a close relationship with the group here, and I am very appreciative of the journey we’ve been on.”

As one of the largest family-run soft facilities management providers in the UK, the Floorbrite team is proud of the extensive offering of daily cleaning services, which serve as its core business. “We have 1600 staff directly employed across the country who provide that service,” Nina explains. “We also have supporting and facilities services that complement the whole package, such as specialist, and industrial cleaning. Then, we have a smaller core team of people who are specialised in doing work like high-level cleaning, stripping and sealing of floors, pressure washing, and deep cleaning.”

While cleaning is the leading speciality of the business, one of the unique traits of Floorbrite is prioritising relationships within the company, which inevitably spills over into the business’ focus on quality. “The values that my dad instilled in us were to be very hard working, and to have that close relationship with our customers, and our staff as well,” Nina comments. “The family environment of our internal team filters out into our operation, and is reflected in the quality of our work. We like to look at the latest innovations out there, and ensure we are offering our customers value for money. While pushing

the boundaries with what we can do for customers, we are able to make sure they are getting the best possible service.”

Tying in with its innovation, Floorbrite likes to do things a little differently. “If you look at our website and our social media platforms, we’re not quite what you would expect a normal cleaning company to look like,” Nina points out. “We’re more colorful. We pride ourselves on thought leadership, and we write loads of articles for industry magazines in the cleaning and facilities management sector to share what we’ve learnt from our line of work. We’ve seen the benefits of sharing helpful tips and insights, and I think that is where we have really succeeded.”

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Tying in with its innovation, Floorbrite likes to do things a little differently
“ “ 65 Floorbrite

It comes as no surprise that a company like Floorbrite was critical during the Covid-19 pandemic. However, while hygiene and deep cleaning were essential, the company faced its own challenges, as Nina shares. “The last two years have been incredibly tricky for many businesses to keep hygiene at the top of their priorities,” she admits. “During the pandemic, we immobilised specialist decontamination and sanitising teams, and kicked into gear for clients with Covid-19 alerts on-site. We went in and completely sanitised the areas where affected persons might have been with specialist anti-static spraying equipment.

“The other difficulty was that we went through a massive rebrand in 2018, and refurbished our head office; we invested in a training centre, and had social spaces developed for the staff to enjoy. Wellbeing is very important to us, so we introduced a gym and a breakout space. Then, we had our opening party four days before lockdown, so we were very excited about moving into this new space and being able to use it together when the government requested that we all work from home.”

Fortunately, the Floorbrite team pivoted to the volatility quickly, implementing specialist cleaning chemicals, including antimicrobial cleaners that remain active after application. “They’re not like a normal detergent,” Nina reveals. “Whereas standard agents clean a surface and potentially kill the bacteria initially, our chemicals will remain active and continue to kill bacteria or other nasties that land on the surface long after application. It’s a fantastic

innovation that only the pandemic could have invigorated.” Nina adds that she is excited to be taking this development forward. Our discussion then moves towards the topic of the future, and there are a few developments that Nina is excited to share, particularly regarding the company’s sustainability goals. “We have recently appointed a Sustainability Manager, and under her guidance, we won our first sustainability CSR award,” Nina says. “She is going through a process now of changing our standard cleaning range to a more environmentally friendly option. This is an avenue that I’m very excited to explore, because caring for the planet is a hot topic. At the Manchester Cleaning Show this year, I gave a presentation about cleaning for climate change, discussing what the cleaning industry needs to do to become more proactive with regards to sustainability.”

Nina’s biggest concern is that most chemicals are provided in plastic bottles, which are ending up as micro plastics. Another issue is volatile organic compounds, which are used in the actual makeup of the cleaning chemicals, and can be damaging to the atmosphere. For her, Floorbrite’s mission going forward is to look more closely at what we can do to achieve the manufacturing industry’s net zero goals and be part of the global solution to combat climate change. As she concludes: “The path forward is not an easy one, but it is one that I am very excited to see my family’s company take on.” ■

66 67 Floorbrite
to know GAP Group –the
largest independent plant
company 68

Hiring out an extensive range of best-in-class plant equipment to various heavy industries – construction, utilities, civil engineering, events, and more – GAP Group (GAP) has carved out an impressive reputation up and down the country. The UK-based plant hire company currently operates over 175 locations and employs more than 2000 personnel.

Though this reputation is inextricably bound to the company’s traditional roots in plant hire and is bolstered by a well-stocked fleet of machines worth in excess of £500 million, the firm has recently employed a new diversification

strategy to grow itself into a multiservice offering with many divisions, thus providing customers with a complete hire solution.

Eleven different divisions – plant hire; tool hire; lifting and Test, Inspect, and Certify (TIC) services, where engineers test and inspect all lifting equipment to ensure compliance and safety; survey and safety hire; non-mechanical; trenching and shoring; welfare services; tanker services; pump services; and, finally, event services and vehicle hire – offer GAP customers an unrivalled range of options. To stay on top of its game and ahead of the latest trends, the business reinvests 50 percent of its annual turnover each year to purchase the latest and greatest pieces of kit.

In October, for instance, GAP placed a significant order for 140 new JCB Rideon-Rollers with Kubota engines. The investment was split equally between 80-centimetre and 120-centimetre models. This move should pay dividends for the firm: the current JCB Ride-onRoller model has been available for around three years and has since sold over 3000 units worldwide.

Ken Stewart, Head of Procurement at GAP, commented in an online press release: “Ongoing supply issues driven by engine availability has forced us to look for alternative suppliers to maintain continuity of supply to our depot network.

“We undertook a full technical and commercial evaluation and were delighted with the resulting outcome. We are pleased to have increased our scope of supply with JCB and Stewart Plant Sales. I believe JCB offers an unrivalled UK dealer support network for after-sales and servicing.

“The rollers are designed in Germany, built in India, and fitted with Kubota engines, which maintains our strong

GAP Group 69

affinity with the Kubota product,” continues Ken. “Deliveries have now commenced, and we expect the feedback to be positive from both our depots and our valued customers.”

GAP was established in 1969 by Gordon Anderson. The company remains familyowned and is currently run by his two sons: Douglas and Iain. These factors mean that company values – trust, integrity, and honesty – still underpin GAP’s nationwide operations. As a third-generation family-run business, the firm’s vision to be the UK’s most innovative hire solutions provider, while reducing its environmental impact, is in safe, stable hands.

On the innovation front, customers can find GAP’s new catalogue online as a fully digitalized, easy-to-use flip book, giving the feel of flicking through a physical catalogue – but offering endless accessibility options. Product pages feature general and technical information on each individual item but go

further by adding an image of the product onsite for easy reference.

In fact, there is also an environment and innovation-focused version of the products brochure to aptly illustrate the vast range of eco-friendly products that the firm has available for hire. Indeed, GAP’s environmentally focused offering is rapidly evolving, with a range of eco-products being constantly added to an already expansive fleet. These include the EcoSmart ZERO Welfare Unit, which GAP developed in partnership with AJC EasyCabin, and for which it has since won multiple awards.

Other new innovations included across the GAP catalogue are as follows: Hilti Cordless Tools, X-Eco Lighting Towers, Dual View Dumpers, EZE Shoring equipment, and Super Silent Pressure Washers.

In terms of sustainability, GAP is making moves to put the environment first. Recently, 71 GAP Group

for instance, the group launched its new Green Action Plan, which firmly sets out the steps that the company is taking to reduce its carbon footprint. However, going further, the plan also describes how GAP will support its customers in a parallel mission to help reduce their carbon emissions.

Indeed, GAP works with suppliers to develop greener products, advise customers on best practices, and promote new attitudes across all of its locations throughout the UK. By using less year-onyear and considering alternative practices, GAP is actively working to develop the strongest environmental objectives by utilising its external ISO 14001 accreditation.

GAP’s corporate social responsibility does not stop there. It goes further, bridging the gap between work and life to enhance and benefit local communities. Indeed, the group set up its own charitable foundation in 2015


and donates around 0.5 percent of annual profits to its chosen charities. Since it began, the foundation – run by GAP Giving – has donated over £518,000 to more than 500 different charities within the UK and overseas. To involve GAP’s 1700-strong workforce, the company proudly invites its own employees to nominate charities that they feel are deserving or that might have personally helped themselves, friends, or family in a time of need. Monthly meetings held at the firm’s headquarters in Glasgow, Scotland allocate funds to each charity. In the last financial year, GAP donated £79,853 to 55 different causes. Charities included: the Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH), providing mental health and social care support and services to adults and young people throughout Scotland; the Trussell Trust, a charity working to end the need for food banks in the UK; and Beatson Cancer Charity, which supports patients with

cancer by providing a range of wellbeing and specialist services to them and their families.

GAP also operates its own charitable matching scheme, where employees who fundraise for a charity will see their efforts matched by the GAP Giving fund – up to £750. In the past year, for instance, a number of donations have been made in this manner, amounting to £4603. Due to Covid-19, there were limited fundraising events throughout the year, however, employees still managed to take part in various charity events (cycling, walking, singing, and more). Going forward, the firm intends to do even more for communities and causes that are close to its employees’ hearts. ■ 73 GAP Group

Custom waste solutions

Robert Capper Jnr launched WRC Recycling (WRC), along with his father Robert Capper Snr and Uncle, Brian Capper, in 1998. They began the company as a small plastic recycling business, before gradually diversifying its services over the years to incorporate skip waste, plastic granulation, and paper shredding. Still family-run to this day, WRC relocated from its base in Johnstone in 2015, settling at a new eight-acre site at Inchinnan, close to Glasgow Airport. It was there, in 2015, that the company set to work on the construction of a new £6 million modern recycling centre and head office, with a view to providing its clients with a customised, totalwaste solution.

Fast-forward to the present, and this August marked yet another significant milestone for WRC, when the company celebrated the official opening of a stateof-the-art, £4 million Material Recovery Facility (MRF) on its Inchinnan site. Under construction since May 2022, the plant marks the beginning of an exciting new era for the business, strengthening its position in the marketplace with enhanced in-house processing capabilities. The news comes in

The £4 million investment taking WRC Recycling into a new era
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advance of the Scottish Government’s ban on all non-household biodegradable waste from entering landfills, set to come into force in 2025, and intended to drive Scotland’s transition towards becoming a circular economy.

“The new facility represents a onestop shop for recycling and waste management,” comments Robert Capper Jnr, Managing Director at WRC. “Designed and installed by Kiverco, it’s a plant that delivers on our promises of more uptime, a higher sustained level of purity, and a longer useful life. With the capability to process up to 40 tonnes per hour, it allows for a higher-quality recyclable product

to be retrieved from construction skips, using intelligent technology to segregate complex construction waste such as timber, brick and rubble, metals, soil, and plastic, to create material that is free from contamination.”

Supported by a £500,000 grant from Scottish Enterprise, the MRF will also promote WRC’s carbon offsetting. “The facility has been built to the highest spec, up-to-date with the latest recycling and efficiency standards,” Robert reveals. “It is supported by a 250 KW solar panel roof installation, which feeds back into the machinery we use on site. As technology evolves, we’re committed to bringing

▲ WRC Recycling Centre Opening

further improvements to the facility, including the addition of another 660 KW in the near future. By reducing the number of journeys required to transport waste, it will also reduce our CO2 emissions, and create in excess of 30 new jobs in the Renfrewshire community across a variety of sitebased and office-based roles.”

Continuing on this theme, Robert emphasises the company’s commitment to championing talented individuals with deep knowledge of the recycling industry. “WRC is not just about me,” he continues. “There are other family members involved, and all those who join WRC enter into that extended family. Without our staff, we’d never achieve our goals.”

It’s an attitude that the company also adopts in respect to its local communities. In 2022, WRC became the first official charity partner for St Vincent’s Hospice in Howwood, Renfrewshire, to help raise funds for the operational costs of the local hospice across the year-long partnership.

Turning to the future, the hope throughout WRC is that the company can sustain its upward trajectory. “Growth is an obvious objective, but there’s only so much we can achieve in-house,” Robert concludes. “With that in mind, we’re firmly on the acquisition trail, monitoring companies to potentially bring into the WRC fold. In terms of our operations, we’re always thinking about how to introduce new processes, and exploring if we can take any of our materials that extra step further. Within our current processes, such as granulation, we’re bringing in new technology, streamlining where possible, and increasing our material quality.” ■

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The new facility represents a onestop shop for recycling and waste management
“ “ 77 WRC Recycling

Chasing success

Now one of the UK’s leading civil engineering specialists for a range of infrastructure projects, Chasetown Civil Engineering (Chasetown) began as a small roads and sewers business. Founded 48 years ago by a well-known local businessman and developer, Noel Sweeney, Chasetown is 100 per cent self-made and part of the wider Tara Developments (Tara) group, including home builders Cameron, Gallier, and Keon Homes for which Noel acted as Chairman until his passing in early 2020.

“The company started off on Chasetown High Street in Burntwood, Staffordshire,” recalls Euan Grant, Managing Director of Chasetown. “Just five years later, we decided to move – about 200 yards down the road! We have remained in that location ever since. So, as a business, our history is really important to us. At the time of that first move, all we did was complete roads and sewers projects for residential house builders.”

Chasetown Civil Engineering puts people first and is changing the way it does business
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However, by the turn of the millennium, Chasetown noticed that its clients were demanding a onestop shop for all things construction and civil engineering. Fortunately, the company took that on board and diversified its operations. “We quickly took on the groundworks elements,” Euan explains. “Now we will take the site we are working on to damp course level; the house builder will then add the superstructure, and after the scaffold is down we will come back to complete back gardens and finishing around the plots, such as footpaths, driveways, bin stores, and so on.

“We have become the one-stop shop that our long-standing clients were asking for all those years ago,” he goes on. “As a market leader, we can take you from a green field site, adding in road connections to the existing sewers system, building the foundations to damp course

standard, and then we can come back in and finish off the project for your final surfacing. To complete these, we have our own roads and sewers, groundworks, finishing, remedial, and surfacing gangs.

“We pretty much cover the Midlands, so we will work from Manchester to Northampton and Leicester to Shrewsbury,” Euan details. “The majority of our labour is central to that area; most live in the Cannock to Stoke and Birmingham region. So, we cover quite a large footprint – all with one office! While many competitors have branched out with satellite offices, we have chosen to stick with one as we believe it offers more control.”

Willshee’s Aggregates

“We have worked closely with Chasetown Civil Engineering on a number of projects within the Midlands. We always look to maximise commercial and environmental benefits when moving surplus material from or to sites. We have consistently demonstrated that we offer alternative solutions and can handle all aspects of the move including, site identification, testing, loading, eight wheeler tippers, material management plan, all CL:AIRE documentation and compliance. We are always looking to identify new sites that will benefit from our service and bring clients together to collaborate and achieve the best results,” says Richard EvansWillshee’s Aggregates.

“I would like to thank Richard and the Willshee’s Aggregates team for their competence on recent projects, where they have truly proved themselves as one of Chasetown Civil Engineering’s select group of highly reliable partners for all aspects of aggregates and materials haulage. The collaborative approach has allowed for great efficiencies in the process.”

Euan Grant - Chasetown Civil Engineering.

▲ Noel Sweeney & Carmel Sweeney 50th Anniversary
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We have become the one-stop shop that our long-standing clients were asking for all those years ago
80 Chasetown Civil Engineering
“ “

Established in 1984, Willshee’s is a market leader when it comes to dealing with your aggregates and waste management.

Based in Swadlincote and Burton on Trent, a proud heritage and growth have enabled us to continually invest in our team and our equipment. We operate over 60 Vehicles and they are all maintained in house by our highly skilled mechanics.

Achieving and renewing our ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and ISO 45001 accreditations, shows our commitment to Quailty, Health & Safety, and the Environment. Health & Safety and Investing in our people have always been and will always be at the forefront of our company strategy.

We can now offer our clients ‘in-house’ solutions for all their aggregates and waste requirements..

The Midlands Leading Independent Company for Aggregates, Recycling and Waste Management | willshees aggregates • PRIMARY AND RECYCLED AGGREGATES • WASTE MANAGEMENT • 8 WHEELER TIPPERS • GRAB LORRIES • ROAD SWEEPERS • ARTICS • OPERATED PLANT • CRUSHING & SCREENING • EARTHWORKS • SKIPS • SRF & RDF

Leveraging over four decades of industry experience and knowledge, Chasetown remains a privately-owned company. In doing so, the company endeavours to orbit around its clients and their individual needs; project after project, Chasetown views jobs – regardless of size or scale – as being part of an ongoing, fruitful relationship with those it serves.

That approach has not gone unnoticed. As well as winning numerous awards within the construction industry, the high-quality and innovative civil engineering solutions for which the company is now widely recognised has also led to an impressive annual turnover – averaging around £90 million over the past five years.

By specialising in infrastructure, groundworks, and related building services, moreover, Chasetown consistently works on projects with values ranging from

£500,000 to £50 million. No matter the requirements, it is expected that the Staffordshire-based firm will rise to the challenge. It is a reputation built over time, first-class customer service, and with a highly skilled team of labourers and support staff. Complexity, it seems, is a friend of Chasetown.

Investing in people

Chasetown’s civil and infrastructure services encompass everything from storm and foul sewers, soakaways, swales, attenuation, and balancing ponds, to retaining and screen walls, Section 278 works, and pump station works. In 2019, the company laid over ten kilometres of roads, sewers, and footpaths as part


of its road construction services, along with groundworks services for over 1000 homes and 15 clients. Chasetown also offers earthworks and excavation services, utilising innovative 3D excavator technology.

“Being a one-stop shop is a key strength of ours, there is no doubt about that,” Euan says. “Clients typically prefer to work with one contractor – having just one point of contact is much easier for all involved. It works well for us. Though, admittedly, it is not always the most economical – but it works very well in terms of on-site efficiency.”

Another strength of Chasetown is its company culture. “It has always been about looking after people, especially those on the ground,” Euan asserts. “All the team are aware that we are one giant support network – and that includes those in the office, those in back-of-house, and those on-site that are delivering projects in the field. In this way, everyone knows they have a place; we treat our people with respect, and we look after 83 Chasetown Civil Engineering

those that are loyal to us. Recruitment is essential, and the whole process begins there. You have to believe in people, and you have to give them opportunities to develop themselves.

“We treat our people as people,” he goes on. “It sounds simple, but so many forget it. Therefore, we absolutely reward their loyalty and hard work – each and every day. As a result, we have a range of employees that have been with the business for more than 30 years and some of our groundworks gangs have been a team for more than two decades. It stands as testament to the kind of culture that we have worked so hard to cultivate here over the years, and one that I intend to continue.”

Since the pandemic, Chasetown has doubled down on its efforts to promote from within and foster a culture of continuous improvement. As part of that, it has begun to roll out an intense internal development plan – an academy of sorts – within the wider Tara group of companies, which will cover those from entry level to those acting as directors.

“We wholly believe in this growth programme,” Euan declares. “More importantly, though, we wholly believe in those who are embracing a strong career path with Chasetown. We are not here for a quick buck, so to speak; we want to be here in 100 years’ time – still owned by the same family, still looking after our people. Consequently, we must invest in those people, values, and core processes today. Right now.”

For these efforts, Chasetown was recognized with the Investment in Training Award for 2022 at the most recent BSG Awards, an event hosted by The Building Safety Group.

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We are not here for a quick buck, so to speak; we want to be here in 100 years’ time
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Externally, Chasetown is committed to how it interacts with collaborators and partners, too. Two recently announced projects attest to this, with the Staffordshire-based firm winning major contracts with Bloor Homes in Newport, a company that it has been working with for around 25 years, and another with Miller Homes in Priorslee, Telford. For the latter, Chasetown has already completed nearly two miles of spine road in the last year alone, which is certainly an impressive feat.

As Euan points out, once again the success factor in these projects comes down to how you treat people. “It is 100 per cent about relationships,” he expounds. “One, at site level; two, at management level; and three, at director level. Relationships are strong all the way down the business. But they are also strong outside it. We have worked with several suppliers for more than 25 years. We do not switch on a daily basis; rather, we look to establish long-standing relationships that stand the test of time. All this is fundamental to managing our supply chain.”

When we ask about the future of Chasetown, Euan is quick to jest: “Who has the crystal ball these days?” It is true, though. In the current geopolitical climate, even the best laid plans are hard to formalise – and even harder to see through. However, Chasetown is looking to achieve a 10 per cent productivity gain by the end of the year, and that will mean investment.

“We set out to own a certain percentage of our plant and vehicles,” reveals Euan. “With a fairly rigid investment plan for the next five years, we aim to get all our older machinery offsite; alongside that, we intend to invest in the relevant plant equipment,

including the acquisition of new excavators (from 30 tonnes down to three). We are also investing in Leica GPS technology for all our 13 and 20 tonne excavators, which will offer us a range of advantages, such as allowing our engineers to identify site drains and build survey maps.

“The economists have said there is going to be a recession by the end of the year,” he concludes. “The cost of land coupled with that of materials has gone up dramatically. But we will not let that stop us. We always have our ear to the ground, and we are looking forward to being a stronger, familyowned business in years to come, as the next generations step in.” ■ 85
Civil Engineering

A rich history, a prosperous future

Though TEi has been trading under its three-letter moniker since 2004, the company’s history goes much further back. In the 1980s and through into the 1990s, the company was what we might call an amalgamation; multiple engineering companies, including well-respected names such as Greens Economisers, The Senior Group, and Foster Wheeler, came together as one overall entity in the engineering and construction sector. Therefore, as a company that unites these various commercial and historical strands, TEi can actually trace its formation all the way back to 1845 as the original Greens Wakefield.

The founder of that company, Edward Green, patented the Economiser boiler and, up until this very day, TEi continues to design, fabricate, and install the product and its various pressure parts. With a strong presence in Wakefield, a city in West Yorkshire, UK, which is made up of a head office, metallurgical laboratory, and numerous workshops, the Greens-now-TEi name has been and remains a key one in the local community.

How TEi’s more than 150-year story is informing its model for sustained success
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Today, the company is recognised as a leading specialist welding company with experience in major construction turnarounds, turnkey project management, and repair and maintenance frameworks. A broad overview of the services offered by TEi is as follows: a nationwide operations division providing on-site project delivery and client support; a UKAS-accredited metallurgical laboratory offering on-site assessment and labbased mechanical testing; a heat exchanger division to support on-site eddy current testing of shell and tube heat exchangers, workshop refurbishments, and on-site explosive cleaning; and a technical services division comprised of an in-house design team that supplies pressure vessel design, piping design, pipe flexibility analysis, structural steel design, and on-site inspection.

Then there is TEi’s fabrication workshop, which is EN1090-accredited and has the capability to be tailored to any project requirements. It is predominantly utilised to support the firm’s major contracts and projects. Next up, and rounding out an overview of services offered, is TEi’s EN38342-accredited welder training school, which is primarily used for training and qualifying core welders. However, the school can also be utilised for external clients to produce welding procedure qualifications and to train and qualify welders in specific techniques.

With more than 150 years’ service to the energy, process, manufacturing, and construction industries, it is clear that TEi, particularly through its training school, intends to give back to the next generation of professionals and tradespeople. “TEi is a service organisation,” begins Alan Waddington, Managing Director at TEi, who recently sat down with Construction & Civil Engineering to offer our readers an insight into the longstanding company. “As such our people are our strongest asset. We have a staff headcount of approximately 250 (which can increase during high demand).

TEi 89

“Even though the numbers are fairly high, employees often describe TEi as feeling more like a family-type of company, and one in which people are treated with respect and due care,” he goes on. “Our culture is based upon team effort with consultation and collaboration in effect across management, all the way from the shop floor spokespeople to our safety representatives. Moreover, we utilise an internal committee network and questionnaires, which are delivered to employees across the organisation to help us gauge a consensus of opinion. We consistently invest in training across all levels of management, appraise performance, set objectives, and reward good performance. If TEi succeeds, then collectively we will reap the benefits of that success.”

Provincial Safety Services

Provincial Safety Services (Provincial) has been supplying PPE for 40 years, and has gained vast experience in supplying personal protective products into the heavy industrial and construction sector. From headto-toe protection, Provincial will provide the best solution. Offering a bespoke garment manufacturing service is also a strong part of our service, and gives you the opportunity to stand out wearing garments that you want, as opposed to what we have. We are proud, and thank TEi for choosing Provincial to supply its PPE requirements. For any of your future PPE needs, please consider Provincial Safety Services as a potential supplier.

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At no point was a strong, unified workforce more important than during the Covid-19 pandemic and the disjointed, unnerving world it created for employees and businesses alike. As TEi services the energy and petrochemical industries, its personnel were considered key workers and subsequently the company was fortunate enough to continue trading.

As Alan elaborates: “The pandemic did present us with the issues of lockdown and a restriction in working at office locations, however we kept going. Strict site protocols were put in place to ensure the health and safety of our employees on contract sites.

“All main operational support services are controlled from our head and regional offices, and therefore implementing working from home effectively was certainly a learning curve for us, but one that was embraced quickly and, in the end, ensured that our operations continued,” he explains. “During the lockdown, we invested in and improved IT and office equipment for all staff at TEi. One simple thing we did was utilise Office365 to better enable flexibility in both software and hardware. This has ensured we can continue with our flexible working and has benefitted our ability to react to both market and national issues with little disruption to the business.”


Commercial dynamism of this kind is always important in times of adversity, but for TEi it has seemingly become a new way of life – and that has paid dividends. Since the pandemic, the firm has seen various new framework contracts established with key clients like Drax, EPUKI, ExxonMobil, Uniper, and RWE – just to name a few. “We work closely with all clients and our repeat custom and framework agreements stand as a testament to the strong client relationships we hold throughout the UK and across the majority of the country’s prominent energy infrastructure assets,” notes Alan. “This year has seen us successfully deliver large contracts at the PX Chemicals Park, plus installation of a US Boiler System, and work on major outages for Triton Power.

Contractor Accommodation Services

Contractor Accommodation Services (CAS) is proud of its longstanding partnership with TEi, sourcing, and managing accommodation when the company’s teams stay away from home.

“For the past four years, CAS has consistently supplied me and the TEi team with accommodation across the UK and Europe, from Central London and the countryside of west Wales to Dublin to Rotterdam.

“CAS is quick to follow up on enquiries, understand our requirements and needs, while providing a great service. This partnership has not only assisted TEi in delivering projects within budget during a challenging economic climate, but has also provided the team with comfortable, quality accommodation,” says Jake Parker, TEi Area Manager.

TEi 93

“So, in short, some major milestones for us – and there is still a good part of the year left to go,” he says. “We have also been instrumental in installing Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) apparatus for existing gas stations, bringing them back online to ensure national supply meets demand. In addition, we have been working with major clients to enable sites that facilitate the government’s upcoming Net Zero drive for carbon sequestration and hydrogen production in the East Coast Cluster.

As mentioned previously, an ethos of constant improvement is essential to TEi’s company outlook. It is for this reason that the firm runs its own training school, encouraging future generations to see an exciting new career path in an industry that they might have otherwise overlooked.

Yet TEi also wants to improve its own standards, always looking at methods of bettering its services and output for clients. “We continuously look to improve our productivity on-site and, as such, we have developed numerous strong relationships with industry renowned institutes including The Welding Institute (TWI) and welding specialist contractors,” expounds Alan. “In turn, this helps to ensure we are utilising the best available technologies and consumables to deliver a quality product to our customers. Furthermore, our welding school acts as a Research and Development (R&D)

base for welding trials, often with project mock-ups created to make sure the best technology is utilised and trialled before TEi reaches site.”

The company has also developed an internal web-based application to help administer sections of its Integrated Management System (IMS). As Alan goes on to explain: “The application assists our site teams in producing timesheets and purchase orders to improve the processing time for our head office’s purchasing and accounts departments. The application can also give us realtime costs allotted to contracts and it provides us with a performance dashboard. Now, however, our attention is turning to a number of energy efficiency schemes involving waste heat recovery technology.

“With the current instability in the energy market and the high demand, that is now more important than ever,” he concludes. “TEi remains a strong prospect within the UK energy market. The availability and sourcing of skilled labour has proven difficult in 2022, and this will likely continue in the near future. However, we will look to invest in the development of our core capabilities to minimise the effects of this. We strongly believe there are growth opportunities to be had in the UK and abroad in the next five years –and we intend to take them.” ■ 95 TEi

As strong as steel


Performance with purpose,” states Dylan Alexander, the Managing Director at ParkerSteel. It’s an ideal that for the last few years has led the way for the company – one of the UK’s largest suppliers of structural steel –amidst the challenges of both Brexit and Covid-19. “Profitability alone was how we measured success in the past,” he goes on. “But that’s not enough in today’s world. We also have to look at the environmental and social impact of our operations.”

In 2020, Dylan identified a need for ParkerSteel to shift its focus towards a new purpose: creating a better future for its employees, customers, and the surrounding community. As a result, he developed an innovative business model, SWITCH, designed to address global issues across every level of the company through six distinct channels: Sustainability, Waste, Information, Technology, Community, and Home.

“Rather than sign up to a pledge, we want our results to speak for themselves,” Dylan explains. “SWITCH’s holistic approach to creating change encourages real solutions to real problems that have already proven beneficial. ParkerSteel has been a part of the Canterbury landscape for over 100 years, so we have strongly established roots here. Therefore, improving the wellbeing of the community is equally important to improving the performance of our company.”

Although SWITCH has only recently been rolled out within the company, a number of initiatives have already

it up: how a rejuvenated ParkerSteel is establishing itself as one of the steel industry’s strongest players
ParkerSteel 97

been implemented, including a £2.5 million upgrade of ParkerSteel’s delivery fleet to lowemission vehicles. “Our fleet covers in excess of 20,000km daily, so this change to greener vehicles is going to substantially reduce our carbon footprint,” Dylan continues. “We’ve also switched to paperless deliveries, which will save over 300,000 pieces of paper every year.”

The current volatility of the energy market has placed new emphasis on the need for energy security and consistency of supply, but under the guidance of its new business model, ParkerSteel seems able to stay one step ahead. In addition to installing LED lighting across all its facilities to conserve the maximum amount of energy possible, the company has conducted surveys in advance of installing solar panels on the roof of its Canterbury site.

SWITCH isn’t only about sustainability, however. A significant part of the model focuses on the health and wellbeing of ParkerSteel’s people and the creation of a positive workplace culture that empowers employees to take control of their own careers and discover a role at the company that suits their skills and aspirations. Last year, it invested over £100,000 in a variety of in-house training schemes that benefited over 300 employees, allowing them to upskill and improve their career prospects.

Like many industries, the construction sector is currently in the grip of a labour shortage, with younger generations increasingly overlooking the various opportunities it presents. To combat this longterm shift, ParkerSteel recently launched its graduate programme as a part of SWITCH:


the ParkerSteel Business Academy. Its purpose is to develop new internal and external talent and provide diverse and exciting career opportunities throughout the company’s commercial operations.

“The Business Academy is a one-year programme that enables candidates to gain in-depth knowledge across several areas of the business,” Dylan discloses. “The scheme has already attracted candidates with a range of backgrounds and skills, and we are pleased to say that we have made offers of employment to three people who started in September. We’re excited to see what new ideas they bring to the business.”

This isn’t the first time that ParkerSteel has taken the initiative to supply its own training programmes during a labour 99 ParkerSteel
Kent Health & Safety Group Collaboration

crisis. During the nationwide shortage of LGV lorry drivers last year, Dylan implemented a 12-week Driver Academy programme to help solve this problem and assist LGV drivers in advancing their careers. “Adaptability is our strength,” Dylan notes. “We have the ability to evolve with each challenge we face and become stronger for it.”

The brunt of the pandemic may well be in the past, but for ParkerSteel, there are always lessons yet to be learned –not least, the importance of a robust supply chain as a means to mitigate delays and disruption. ParkerSteel was fortunate to have its supply chain strengthened when it joined the Taurani Group in 2019, a Dubai-based global conglomerate of companies within the steel manufacturing, scaffolding, and formwork industries. This partnership, in conjunction with

ParkerSteel’s port facility in Dover, put it in a strong position financially, as demonstrated during the pandemic and ensuing lockdown. Despite supply chain issues worldwide, its customers continued to receive first-class service and delivery with no interruptions.

This purpose-driven approach, in tandem with Dylan’s visionary growth strategy, has allowed ParkerSteel to flourish. Sustainable initiatives and strategic investments in people, quality products, and technology have seen the company’s revenue triple over the last three years, increasing by £30 million pounds during what remains a turbulent time for the industry.

Crucial to the continued financial success of ParkerSteel is Dylan’s continuous reinvestment into the company. In July 2021, it acquired Midland Steel Sections Limited (MSSL), which increased its customer base

▲ New saw line 100

and provided an important foothold into the Midlands, extending its reach into new markets. This acquisition has been supplemented by investment in additional technology and machinery across both sites.

“We’ve just added more saw and drill line machines, punching machines, and state-ofthe-art laser machines,’ Dylan comments. “All of these enable us to improve our existing services and provide our customers with an enhanced product offering.”

As ParkerSteel continues to grow exponentially, Dylan reveals the secret of its ongoing success, concluding: “Embracing purpose has strengthened our resilience in the face of challenges and increased the value we create for our customers and the surrounding community.” ■

McCauley Trailers Ltd

MAC Trailers, as a brand of McCauley Trailers Ltd, is the longest established trailer manufacturer in Northern Ireland. We are committed to providing excellence in all areas of our operations, and as such, encourage the continuous training and development of our staff. In this way, we will continue to manufacture trailers, developed and built by employees who are skilled and effective at their jobs. We manufacture one of the widest ranges of trailers available for the transportation of plant and machinery. We have a standard range of agricultural and commercial trailers, and from this base, we can provide a wide variety of options to meet most customer requirements.

McCauley Trailers Ltd has an international market presence in more than 16 countries. All our trailers have been granted full European whole vehicle type approval, and have achieved ISO 9001:2015 quality assurance certification. 101 ParkerSteel

A retail tale

How Sigma Group changed one Asda –and then the industry

Founded in 2007 in response to a requirement from the UK-based supermarket chain Asda, Sigma Group (Sigma) has since gone from strength-to-strength, establishing itself as one of the country’s leading providers of full turnkey services for retail, leisure facilities, and commercial buildings. Going back to those humble origins, Sigma was brought in by Asda to support the nationwide chain’s property store operations and expansion programme with a dedicated kitting and logistics facility.

Fast forward to today, and the company has collaborated with household names like M&S, Boots, Primark, Asda, Sainsbury’s, Pets at Home, and Wilko. With that growing client list comes an increased demand for more expertise and infrastructure. Fortunately, Sigma was wellequipped to deal with such rising expectations. The firm’s scope of services rapidly expanded to include shop fitting installation projects, in-house mechanical and electrical systems, and construction. Subsequent expansion with clients has led to a strong portfolio of blue-chip customers in the grocery, fashion, home, pet, and DIY sectors.

Sigma now operates from a number of locations with over 500,000 square feet of consolidation facilities. As a result, the company can provide bespoke fixture demand management, consolidation, and pick-and-pack logistics services across the UK and around the globe. The company is keen to reduce end-toend costs for other businesses by streamlining what can often be disparate or independent processes, offering a more financially secure model for its clients.

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Craig Bennet, CEO at Sigma, sat down with Construction & Civil Engineering to offer us an insight into the wealth of services offered by the company he so proudly leads. “We have five principal offerings, and it is our full end-to-end services that sets us apart from our competitors,” he begins. “First, there is our fixture and equipment division, focusing on conceptual and technical design and manufacture for global distribution. Then we have our consolidation, kitting, and logistics of Goods Not For Resale (GNFR) facilities to support retail operations, growth, and refurbishment programmes, as well as project roll-outs. In fact, we run dedicated facilities for Asda, Boots, Wilko, and M&S, plus additional shared user facilities for multiple retailers.

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We also have a team of highly qualified and experienced engineers, who are able to service and repair all types of commercial and industrial doors.

Our experience spans health, education, retail, engineering and many other sectors who have very specific needs.

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“Then we have our projects,” he goes on. “These include equipment installation and planned asset maintenance services, all of which encompass a wide scope of ‘smaller’ works from project scheme roll-outs to warehouse flooring repairs, roofing works, pest control, and so on. Next up is Mechanical and Electrical (M&E), for which we have a dedicated in-house team supporting our projects and construction divisions while also undertaking their own roll-outs, which encourage store decarbonisation and energy reduction programmes. Finally, our construction unit is responsible for the full fit out of retail and hospitality environments and small construction works.”

Simply put, Sigma offers a holistic approach to the sectors it so robustly serves. An aspect of those services that Craig goes on to highlight is a current trial and roll-out across its M&E team to support carbon reduction within

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Simply put, Sigma offers a holistic approach to the sectors it so robustly serves Sigma Group 105
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each retail client’s property portfolio. Measures include features like LED lighting, handling and controller upgrades, and plant replacement.

Sigma’s growth is driven by both retailers’ nimbleness to react to changes in customers’ shopping habits, and through increasing its own client portfolio. This ensures that players in the market remain attracted to its full service offering and strong ability to support a business’ individual needs.

One recent example of this is the partnership between Sigma and M&S across its Cheltenham, Pollock, and Silverlink sites, where the construction and fittings specialist completed a range of works. Talking us through one of the extensive projects is Craig. “As an overview, we were brought in to improve the Cheltenham store for its customers,” he details. “We extended retail space in the clothing department to accommodate new concessions and improve the layout for M&S, while also refreshing the look of the whole store. Additions included

digital screens, new signage, and lighting fixtures. Then, we brought the food hall up to date by installing new selfscan tills and refitting the bakery.”

The project was a five-week scheme that required the Sigma team to carry out a wide range of tasks across the clothing, home, beauty, and food departments of the M&S store. All the while, Sigma had to keep within a set budget and ensure that disruption to customers and staff was kept to a minimum, thereby allowing the store to remain open and operational.

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Sigma’s expertise was required to maximise the available space in the store before commencing the remodelling process. As part of the brief, the UK-based firm applied the refreshed format aesthetic, designed to uplift the store with an eye-catching appearance (keeping with the brand), and installed a range of new concessions and modern technologies to benefit the entire remodel.

“M&S Cheltenham is a large high street store and a prominent feature of the town centre,” explains Craig. “As a busy outlet, it was important that the work being carried out caused as little disruption as possible. A collaborative approach was therefore adopted between M&S and Sigma to make sure that all stakeholders were kept up to date with the planning and delivery of the project.

0161 633 8061 Specialist Joinery Manufacturers to Retail – Health – Local Health Authorities – Education  Specialists in the supply of Pre-Hung Door sets for all Sectors.  For more information please email – 106
As a busy outlet, it was important that the work being carried out caused as little disruption as possible
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In doing so, schedules were appropriately coordinated in line with the store’s needs.

“As part of this, Sigma’s just-in-time delivery methodology ensured that the equipment and fittings needed for the project arrived at the right time and as environmentally efficiently as possible,” he adds. “One of the aims of the project was to increase retail space at the store and improve the internal layout. In order for this to happen and before the installation of new features could commence, a soft strip out of the first floor was needed. This included the removal of the click and collect storeroom, as well as the till bank from the men’s clothing section, to create space for new concessions.

“To ensure that the store still had a sufficient number of checkouts to accommodate its customers, new tills were installed in an adjacent section,” he goes on. “The remodelling required brand updating of in-store concessions, including Per Una and Autograph. This involved the installation of new, illuminated signage for each brand,

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which could be easily moved around if the store decided to modify its layout later on.”

Prior to the project, the signage in the beauty department was deemed ineffective by M&S; customers were having difficulty finding products and signs were not prominent enough. To remedy problems with this, Sigma installed new, visible, illuminated signs in keeping with the new aesthetic for the store. Aside from the remodelling of the home, beauty, and fashion departments, the team also carried out significant alterations in the food hall.

The largest aspect of that endeavour concerned the bakery. Sigma teams were responsible for tiling the walls, installing hygienic wall padding, laying new antislip flooring, and erecting a new frontage,

complete with new fixtures, lighting, and signage.

“To provide customers with more convenient ways to buy their groceries, the food hall upgrades also included the installation of self-scan tills at the checkouts,” Craig reveals. “Other areas that received modifications included the beer, wine, and spirits section by adding brick slips and illuminated signage above and behind the fixtures.”

Another aspect of Sigma’s work with M&S worth noting is its key improvements to the brand’s sustainability arrangements. Across several of the retail giant’s food stores, Sigma began a journey to improve energy efficiency, replacing over 200 obsolete belt-driven fans and motor assemblies for modern equivalents.


Another 50 fans are due to be installed later in the year. Compared to the older units, Sigma’s newly installed direct-drive EC plug fans will deliver important cost savings and, as Craig points out, will always run at 100 per cent efficiency.

Undoubtedly, M&S now has a Cheltenham store that better meets the needs of its customers and its staff. Craig remains proud of the fact that all the work was completed on budget, with minimal disruption, and within the agreed five-week timescale.

“Going forward, we will continue to expand our services and innovate to support our clients and distinguish ourselves as a customer-focused business, utilising the latest technology to drive and implement change,” he concludes ■

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No bridge beyond repair

Formed in 1994 by Mike Weaver, VolkerLaser began as a division of Worcestershirebased Laser Civil Engineering. Under Mike’s leadership, the business achieved Stirling Lloyd approved applicator status, becoming the first in the UK to offer a complete package of preparation, concrete repair, and waterproofing. From there, the company gained momentum, expanding its services, and winning a series of significant projects, including waterproofing work on the A14 Orwell Bridge in Suffolk, and numerous pilot framework schemes for the then Highways England (HE).

VolkerLaser has secured a leading role on major UK infrastructure projects, from the East Cliff Viaduct to the M48 Severn Bridge
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Since then, Mike’s goal has been to establish the company as the specialist contractor of choice. Work on the River Trent’s Cavendish Bridge, for which it received a Heritage Award, saw the company become the first in the UK to use a robot for hydro-demolition works, and the first to undertake gussasphalt (machine laid asphalt) and waterproofing applications on a steel bridge. Mike remained at the helm after its 2005 acquisition by VolkerWessels UK, which preceded its rebrand to VolkerLaser in 2009.

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VolkerLaser now provides a tailored package of specialist works to clients all over the UK, including bridge deck waterproofing, expansion joints, concrete repair and cathodic protection work, steel repair and strengthening work, carbon fibre and temporary works, jacking and bearing replacement, and other specialised solutions. As Mike, now Managing Director at VolkerLaser, puts it, VolkerLaser has transformed into “an innovative contractor, with in-house expertise which we draw on to solve the most complex of logistical problems for our clients, developing unique methods and tailored packages of works to suit each individual project.”

To-date, the company has been responsible for work on several prestigious highways sites, including Reading Bridge, Woodhouse Tunnel,

VolkerLaser now provides a tailored package of specialist works to clients all over the UK
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Mersey Gateway, Queensferry Crossing, and the largest concrete repair project in the UK, the M5 Oldbury Viaduct. As part of the Viaduct’s second phase – a framework agreement direct award for National Highways – VolkerLaser was supported by its deployment of V-Deck™, an innovative under-deck access system for bridges, jetties, and ports, which offers a replacement for traditional suspended scaffolding.

“At the M5 Oldbury, part of the viaduct is situated over a canal, so traditional scaffold access was not sufficient,” Mike reveals. “Therefore, we proposed the use of V-Deck™ as an alternative and sustainable solution.

By working closely with National Highways and VTS, the manufacturer of the system, we undertook rigorous research and development to produce a strong and robust platform that could be installed quickly and safely. Not only did it create programme efficiencies on the project, but we also designed the system to be far less intrusive for the general public wanting to use the canal below.”

V-Deck™ isn’t the only solution that distinguishes VolkerLaser. The company is also the exclusive UK market provider of Fast Beam, a unique, safe, and extremely efficient access system designed to maximise working space and minimise traffic disturbance, whilst undertaking necessary parapet repairs, maintenance, or construction. Another replacement for conventional scaffolding methods, it’s a solution that reduces cost, time, manpower, and risk.

“Typically, 50 metres of Fast Beam access technology can be installed by a three-man team within an eight-hour shift, whereas traditional systems can take up to two weeks to install,” Mike comments. “Traffic management can often be reduced to maintain traffic flow, and the system can also be used to provide a pedestrian walkway or cycleway during bridge repair works. The system can be hydraulically adjusted up or down by up to 1000 millimetres, either targeting specific individual access

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platforms or adjusted as a complete unit – and it can be installed alongside existing parapets, making it an ideal solution for rail bridge repair work and highways maintenance.”

Since 2018, VolkerLaser has been contracted to undertake bearing replacement works at the Port of Dover, culminating in its recent work at the East Cliff Viaduct. Originally constructed in 1976, the site consists of a 348-metre long, seven-span structure carrying a three-lane carriageway, which varies in width along the length of the route, and a two-metre-wide pedestrian walkway on each side.

“The project has drawn on our extensive temporary works capabilities, with bespoke and innovative access being designed by our in-house team to tackle the complex logistical problems we faced,” Mike reveals. “This involved designing two systems: a hanging frame solution, and a bespoke trestle system for the different piers across the structure.”

With VolkerLaser’s team now working on bearing replacements across all six piers, the project is indicative of the commitment to innovation that runs throughout the company as a whole. “As a business, we never stand still,” Mike points out. “We’re always looking for new ways to extend our service offering and grow our business. Over the last few months, we have expanded our steelwork capabilities, blasting and painting services, and our concrete offering

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Over the last few months, we have expanded our steelwork capabilities, blasting and painting services, and our concrete offering 115 VolkerLaser

through the addition of P J Davidson (PJD), a specialist slipform contractor with a fantastic track record of success in the industry. Together, we will be able to provide a package of services unrivalled by any other specialist contractor.”

Largely unimpacted by Covid-19, VolkerLaser continues to undertake new challenges. The company was recently contracted by engineering provider Amey to support works on a series of scheduled cable inspections on the M48 Severn Bridge. Having commenced in June, the works are set to run for a total of eight months, covering eight panels of the two 511-metre main suspension cables, as part of a routine inspection schedule to detect signs of corrosion.

“We’re carrying out the work in phases, using different access methods,” Mike indicates. “Those in the lower central area will be undertaken using scaffold access, and those being checked at the upper

levels will use two specially designed gantries. These gantries will need to be installed using a crane and under a full closure of the bridge.”

Before we conclude, Mike is keen to emphasise the importance of the company’s team, which boasts a track record of dedicated service – including more than 30 employees more than a decade into their tenure. “It’s testament to our open and inclusive culture,” he concludes. “In recent years, we’ve really sought to concentrate on mental health and wellbeing, implementing initiatives to ensure that we’re taking care of our employees. Moving forwards, we’ll always be a business that concentrates on the development of our people, supporting them through their early careers, and aiding them in progressing through the ranks of the organisation.” ■

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