Construction Worker Using Drill To Install Window

Construction expected to surge but what trades will be in demand?

Following a slower year for construction in 2021 following the Coronavirus pandemic, the construction industry has returned to full swing and is expected to surge over the next 5 years which according to the CSN industry outlook could see a 4.4% yearly growth rate requiring over 200,000 more workers in that period to meet the demands.

The construction is expected to be infrastructure and new housing, whilst repairing and updating old homes will also make up a large part of the work required. In 2019 the UK government set the target of becoming carbon net-zero by 2050 and have announced this year that they hope to cut emissions by 78% by 2035 compared to 1990 levels, which would take them over three-quarters of the way to reaching the 2050 target.

Construction infrastructure

The goal is seen as one of the most ambitious climate change targets ever and as part of this initiative all homes and businesses will have to meet rigorous new energy efficiency standards to lower energy consumption and bills, helping to protect the environment.

These new standards include radically improving the energy performance of new homes with low carbon heating, reduce emissions and be zero carbon ready by 2025. This would see roughly a 75-80% reduction in carbon emissions to the current level of housing and older housing will be modernised with there being a significant improvement on the standard for extensions, making homes warmer and reducing bills. The requirement for replacement, repairs and parts to be more energy efficient, including windows and building services such as heat pumps and fixed lighting.

With these ambitious targets in place there is going to be a huge demand on workforce to carry out the changes. This does however represent a huge opportunity for construction to modernise, attract a more diverse talent pool and up skill its existing workforce but is a tough ask with many businesses still suffering from the effects of the pandemic.

On top of this commercial demand there is huge demand for trades people in residential homes following the shutdown caused by the pandemic, with lots of people looking to refresh their homes with extra money they might have due to the lockdown or simply wanting to update the home they have been confined to for much of 2020 and 2021.

But with all this construction planned, what trades are likely to see the highest demand?

Interior renovation, construction

It is expected that all trades will see higher demands over the coming 5 years, but with the targets for reducing CO2 emissions set by the government, there will be a need for workers to understand the modernisation that will help to meet these goals.

Infrastructure and house building are the two main areas that will see the biggest investment over the coming 5 years. Projects like HS2 will lead to growth in those regions and the maintenance of existing property to meet the governments CO2 goals will also be a large contributor to the demand for work.

According to CSN, the most in demand trades are forecast to be in wood trades & interior fit-out (5,500 per year), other construction professionals and technical staff (5,150), construction managers (3,600) and electrical installation trades and (3,400). There will also be a demand for non-construction, office-based professional, technical and IT support staff (7,850).

After a tough year for construction, there is light at the end of the tunnel as we return to normal working life and set out on reaching the goals for a sustainable future and hitting net-zero targets.

Sustainable Construction / Solar Pannels

Sustainable construction

The construction industry is one of the largest sectors when it comes to using materials and having an impact on the environment and there is a huge push on sustainable construction, with the aim of becoming net zero by 2050 looming over all developments. But what are the keys to sustainable construction and what challenges are we going face trying to achieve the ambitious goal of becoming net zero by 2050.

 

Why sustainability in construction matters

The construction industry is at the forefront of building new societies and creating the future world we live in. Due to the constant need for construction and the impact it has on the future of our planet, making the construction industry sustainable is vital for the future health of our planet.

In fact, the building and construction industry accounts for an incredible 40% of CO2 emissions and according to the Supply Chain Sustainability School, building and construction works in countries which are part of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) use:

  • 25-40% of total energy
  • 30% of raw materials
  • 30-40% of global greenhouse gas emissions
  • 30-40% of solid waste generation.

 

Building a sustainable construction industry

 

To create a truly sustainable construction industry the first step that needs to be taken is the sourcing of materials and making sure that where

Sustainable Construction, Low angle green apartments

possible the materials used to build our future have come in some capacity from our past, such as recycled materials. As mentioned previously, construction is responsible for 25-40% of the worlds energy usage and therefore finding a renewal energy source is another big step in helping to create a sustainable site.

During projects themselves, care must be taken regarding waste, not just the amount of waste but also how it is being disposed. Can the materials be recycled and used further down the line? Is there a way in which we can dispose of the materials in a less impactful way to the environment? These are questions you should be considering if you’re responsible for the removal of materials.

You should also consider how you’re impacting the environment whilst carry out work such as creating dust, destroying natural habitat and the energy consumptions you’re using. The thought of sustainable construction is to create an environmentally friendly construction site and well as finished project.

 

What are the challenges?

Adapting to these new methods is something that is going to take time and won’t happen overnight. Not only will they take time to implement and change, but they are also expensive. Using renewal materials and sourcing renewable energy all comes at great costs and although might save you money in the long run, businesses will often take a large financial hit to change from the current processes.

 

Government plans

Sustainable Construction - turning down CO2 dial

Building a sustainable future is something the UK government is doing its best to tackle. They have set out plans which would see the United Kingdom be net-zero in carbon emissions by 2050. The ‘net zero’ plan would see any emissions balanced by schemes to offset an equivalent amount of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, such as planting trees or using technology like carbon capture and storage to negate the negative effects if CO2.

As part of this initiative all homes and businesses will have to meet rigorous new energy efficiency standards to lower energy consumption and bills, helping to protect the environment.

These new standards include radically improving the energy performance of new homes with low carbon heating, reduce emissions and be zero carbon ready by 2025. This would see roughly a 75-80% reduction in carbon emissions to the current level of housing.

Existing homes will also be subject to higher standards. There will be significant improvement on the standard for extensions, making homes warmer and reducing bills. The requirement for replacement, repairs and parts to be more energy efficient, including windows and building services such as heat pumps and fixed lighting.

top view hand shake of engineer and building contractor on table / SMAS Worksafe

How do contractors win clients?

Being a contractor can be tough, you rely on others to bring you work and without clients to supply you with a more consistent flow of work. Life can be tough but with clients, you have the platform for limitless opportunities.

But how do you get the clients?

In this article we will be going over some of the thing’s businesses successful with clients do and how you can go about winning clients and tender for your business.

Networking:

Client and contractor shaking hands following tender agreement / SMAS Worksafe

One of the best ways for businesses to meet contractors and swap details is by going to networking events, such as Construction Connects which is hosted by SMAS Worksafe. Events such as this will allow you to turn up and meet contractors who have current or upcoming projects in your area.

You can also identify your own potential clients. You can search for upcoming projects in your area and reach out directly to them to arrange a meeting. Make sure you consider the size of the project and whether it is appropriate for your business.

Once you have identified the client, reach out to them outlining your services and work capacity, the project you’re looking for might not be right for either party but now the relationship has been formed there is potential for them to contact you regarding other projects. Your willingness to reach out to them shows them you’re keen and the fact you have reached out to them may save them the hassle of trying to source a contractor later.

If your business employs subcontractors, you can also use them to find out about potential work or clients that may require contractors by asking them. Use them to get you in touch with clients and to keep you posted about opportunities that might be coming up.

Referrals:

Another way in which your business can win contracts from clients is via referral. You may be invited to contract bidding processes from clients you already have a network with. Those clients may also have partners or members that require contractors on other jobs and can extend tender invitations to you.

Building lots of strong relationships in your industry is the best way for your business to go to the next level and continue to win client deals. Working with a client and meeting or exceeding their expectations is the first step, you need to make sure that you’re building up credibility with the people you’re working with so that they feel confident in recommending you to others.

Don’t be afraid to ask for referrals either, requesting a referral might be the best way to earn one. It might be something that a client hadn’t considered, or they might simply have not gotten around to asking businesses and putting yourself forward will put your business in pole position.

The more extensive your list of clients and contacts is and the better your reputation the more likely you are to obtain referrals. However, the most important aspect of gaining referrals is making sure that your business reflects high standards of safety and quality within the industry.

Of course, there is little value in building a referral network for your contractor business if your actual work does not reflect the high standards of quality and safety that clients expect within the industry. Clients are unlikely to recommend a business that is doing a poor job and risk damaging their own reputation. A commitment to standards of excellence is essential for developing a robust referral network that can help you get more contracts. Having a relevant and up-to-date health and safety accreditation like SSIP is a major asset, not only does it demonstrate your dedication to high standards, but it may also be a prequalification to work for the client.

Make yourself visible

The next way to win contracts with big clients is by letting them come to you. Most major clients will

have project management teams that are looking out for the best contractors in their area to come and work on their projects, this means that on occasions they will be going out of their way to look for contractors.

Digital marketing growth to win clients / SMAS Worksafe

Your business can make the most of this by doing two things well:

  1. Making sure that your business shows up in the right areas – create a good digital profile that explains exactly what your business can do.
  2. Build up a reputable name with your existing clients and use review platforms such as Feefo and Trustpilot to boost your digital profile.

Stretch your businesses digital platform across as many channels as possible, use a mixture of website, web ads and social media to help cover as much area as possible. This not only helps clients to find you but will help smaller businesses to look bigger and more professional.

The messaging across these platforms should be consistent and display your businesses work, values, qualities, certificates and accreditations along with any awards you have won or been nominated for.

Creating case studies is also a great way to show off work you’ve done to clients, creating profiles about jobs you’ve done with feedback or quotes from the customers. These could be in video or written form.

You can also explore digital marketing strategies; this could involve hiring someone to oversee the businesses digital presence or outsourcing it to an agency. This will allow someone to manage and develop social media, display advertising and search engine optimisation. Doing this will direct a flow of client traffic to your website and show off your business – it’s great to have a good website but if you’re not bringing traffic to your site then it is ultimately a wasted effort.

Sourcing through SMAS Worksafe

Networking is a great way to win clients, but you may be able to obtain clients through the SMAS Worksafe portal.

Our clients can search for contractors using the SMAS Worksafe portal and reach out to them. All our members are visible to clients on the portal but those with further areas of compliance may gain an advantage over those with just health & safety as clients can see that the contractor is not just SSIP accredited but environmental management and quality management systems are in place.

All our members can upload documents relating to further areas of compliance for free however they will not be checked against IEMA or IRCA standards unless you have an Essential or Complete membership.

Further areas of compliance supported by SMAS Worksafe:SMAS PS_Service_Wheel

  • Environmental management
  • Quality management
  • Anti-bribery and corruption
  • Modern slavery
  • Finance and business
Danger asbestos - sign outside a derelict building

Managing Asbestos Risks

Keeping your team safe from asbestos risks

Asbestos is a naturally occurring fibre that was once used in most construction projects in the UK as insulation or a roofing or flooring material. Projects could range from housing, office blocks, factories, schools, hospitals or even shipbuilding.

It was completely banned from being used in the UK in 1999 due to health concerns, but buildings that were constructed before the ban came in may still contain it, which can pose a risk to your team. As an extremely dangerous carcinogen, you require a licence to work around asbestos.

Take a look at our guidance on how you can keep your team safe from the risks of working around asbestos.

Why is asbestos so dangerous?

Asbestos is made up of many fibres that can be released into the air if damaged or disturbed. If these fibres are inhaled, they won’t cause immediate damage but can lead to serious health complications in the long run.

Asbestos removal / SMAS Worksafe

These are some of the health complications that can arise from inhaling the fibres.

Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that affects the lining of the lungs and the lining of the lower intestine.

The sole cause of Mesothelioma is asbestos exposure, and by the time it has been diagnosed, it could lead to a fatality.

Lung cancer

Exposure can also lead to lung cancer, which manifests itself in the same way as lung cancers caused by smoking.

Asbestos-related lung cancers are just as prevalent as Mesotheliomas.

Asbestosis

After being exposed to asbestos over several years, scarring can appear on the lungs due to a condition known as Asbestosis.

The condition can lead to progressive shortness of breath, and in particularly bad cases, can even be fatal.

Thickening of the pleural lining

Pleural thickening is when the lining of the lung thickens and swells due to asbestos exposure. If the lung lining becomes too thick or swollen, the lung can become squeezed, leading to shortness of breath and discomfort in the chest.

Protecting your team from exposure

As an employer, you have a duty of care to your team to keep them safe whilst at work. If you suspect a building site may have asbestos, you should take the following steps to protect your team from the dangers of exposure.

Identify asbestos as a risk      

Chrysotile asbestos fiber close up.

If you are working on a site that was built before the year 2000, there is the risk that asbestos may be present.

If you are working on non-residential premises, the owner of the building has a duty of care to provide you with any information on asbestos in the building and the condition it is in.

If no information is available, you should have the building surveyed, and any samples you suspect as being asbestos should be analysed.

Perform a risk assessment

A risk assessment will help you decide whether or not it is safe to carry out building or maintenance work on a site that may house asbestos. In your risk assessment, you should identify if asbestos is a risk, and who may be affected.

You should use the results of your risk assessment to decide if the work is safe to carry out, or if you need to have the asbestos removed.

Do you need a licensed contractor?

Working around asbestos can be safe as long as it isn’t damaged or disturbed. If there is damage to the substance, or your work can’t be carried out without disturbing it, you may need to arrange for a licensed contractor to come and remove it before you carry out any work.

You can find licensed asbestos contractors through the HSE, Checkatrade or TrustATrader. If you are interested in acquiring an asbestos licence, visit the HSE website.

Provide PPE

If a member of your team is going to a site where there may be asbestos, but not where they will be disturbing it, it is still prudent to provide them with facial PPE that protects their breathing.

Take a look at the importance of respiratory protection and some of the equipment you can use in this free guide from Premierline.

Did you know?

Asbestos-related diseases kill approximately 5,000 people a year in the UK. This is more than the number of deaths on UK roads.

Contractor insurance with Premierline

At Premierline, we are passionate about helping you protect the business that you have built. This is why we offer a bespoke service to assess your business needs to make sure that you are covered should the worst happen.

Our business advisors will work with some of the UK’s most well-known insurance providers to find a quote that provides the cover that your business needs. Get in touch to speak with one of our trained insurance experts to discuss your contractor insurance requirements.

Standard construction safety equipment in control room, Construction and Safety Concept.

What is SSIP and how it can benefit you?

Safety Schemes in Procurement (SSIP) is an umbrella organisation that was created to make sure there is a mutual understanding and recognition between different health and safety schemes so that there is uniformity amongst companies and the standard of their health and safety.

What this means:

SSIP has streamlined the process from buyers, suppliers and companies by providing an automatic prequalification for contracts within each sector. Gaining an SSIP certificate through SMAS will enable you to show high levels of health and safety management and is a simple way to prove that your company takes health and safety very seriously.

It’s also beneficial when recruiting top talent for your company. Obtaining an SSIP certificate is a great and simple way to show potential employees that you have a commitment to assuring their safety, making you a much more attractive proposition.

How we can help:

Here at SMAS Worksafe, we are passionate about helping your company to gain it’s SSIP certificate as easily and quickly as possible – we pride ourselves on our high levels of customer service with 95% of our members returning every year, a flat-rate pricing structure and most importantly, helping you gain SSIP accreditation within 3-5 days.

Once you’ve gone through our online process and shown your company to meet the required health and safety levels you will be given accreditation giving you benefits such as:

  • You can reduce the cost and burden of H&S bureaucracy across your industry
  • Attained a certificate recognised by thousands of companies’ nationwide
  • Becoming more appealing to buyers and workers.

Worksafe PQQ:

Worksafe PQQ has been created by SMAS Worksafe to help you stand out from other companies and show potential clients that you are operating at a higher level of compliance by providing information on other areas such as environmental, anti-bribery, corruption and modern slavery issues.

Our Worksafe PQQ accreditation means the documents you upload will be checked over by one of our assessors against both IEMA and IRCA standards to make sure they’re of the required standard and so that clients know your business is serious about more than just health & safety.

If areas such as environmental management are new to you, you’re not alone. Many UK businesses are now being requested to fulfil new requirements – we recognise this and so our team of experts are on hand to help you through the process, allowing you to save time and get back to work as soon as possible. To find out more about how a Worksafe PQQ accreditation can help your business, click here.

 

SMAS PS_Service_Wheel

Deem to Satisfy:

We understand that getting SSIP can be a hassle and certain buyers may request a SMAS Certificate to work on their sites. This is where our deem to satisfy option comes in, if you already hold an SSIP accreditation and want to work for companies like Redrow – who require SMAS accreditation, we will accept your previous certificate and do a quick change over so you can get on-site and start earning without any hassle. All the information can be found here.

 

Worksafe Pro & Infinity

You can also take your level of compliance beyond  Preferred Supplier which is now included with our standard assessment. With Worksafe Pro and Infinity, your business can get more support as well as having your documents for further areas of compliance such as Quality and Environmental, checked over by one of our assessors to a higher standard.

If you’re a Worksafe Pro or Infinity member will be visible to clients in our portal which will allow them to see which businesses have had their documents reviewed by us, increasing the likelihood of them being chosen over someone who may only have Worksafe Assessment.

Worksafe Assessment, Pro and Infinity checklist