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January #4 Update: 14% Construction Growth, New Regulator, COVID Cases Climb in Construction.

Construction growth predicted healthy 14% in 2021

The Construction Products Association estimates 13.5% growth in the Construction industry in 2021 and 5% in 2022. This will mean recovery from the 14% decline in 2020 to pre-Covid levels by 2022. CPA thinks that Private Housing sector will be fastest to recover but this may drop due policy changes after 31 March, with other sectors taking over. The ream impact remains to be seen however as the results of massive unemployment yet to take effect. Merchant sales were up 9% in November 2020 compared to 2019 with Landscaping and Timber & Joinery Products up double figures.

New Construction Industry Regulator

ChiralJon Wikimedia Commons

The Government Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) unveiled a new building regulator this week which will safeguard new homes by regulating construction materials. It will work in collaboration with the Building Safety Regulator and Trading Standards and is a result of the Grenfell enquiry where manufacturers ignored safety rules. The regulator will “have strong enforcement powers including the ability to conduct its own product-testing when investigating concerns. Businesses must ensure that their products are safe before being sold in addition to testing products against safety standards.” The new regulator will have the power to conduct its own testing and to remove faulty products from the market and funded £10m to work within the existing Office for Product Safety and Standards. Robert Jenrick, Housing secretary, said: “The Grenfell Inquiry has heard deeply disturbing allegations of malpractice by some construction product manufacturers and their employees, and of the weaknesses of the present product testing regime.” Read the release here.  

COVID Cases Climb at Major Construction Projects

Chris Gray on Unsplash

The £298m Uni of Glasgow Multiplex project confirmed a COVID outbreak this week. The site now only has essential workers onsite. Although it apparently has a ‘track and trace’ system, it is not clear whether an interaction-tracking system such as beable® is in action. Multiplex says the pandemic cost £130m-£170m.
In another COVID spread, 26 workers on Laing O’Rourke’s Royal Liverpool Hospital project have tested positive for the virus. With 1,000 workers onsite, it is not clear whether the organisation has taken safety measures such as interaction tracking to mitigate the problem. Colas and Wates have introduced rapid tests at their sites. Watkin Jones says the pandemic has cost the business £5.7m.

beable Saves Construction from COVID

Luckily, technology exists so Construction sites can stay open and take care of their workers with beable® Wearable which has been deployed at pilot stage at a large north London site to keep workers safe and productive; it facilitates physical distancing as well as interaction tracking. Co-developed by Electronic Media Services and COMIT Projects and funded by Innovate UK, the new technology has been well received and plans to rollout to further sites in Q2 this year are underway. 

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