Tata Steel and other steel manufacturers have announced plans for scaling back production of some products, with some plant being mothballed, in the face of a range of pressures including imports of steel from China, a high Sterling exchange rate and internationally uncompetitive carbon related taxes. The British Constructional Steelwork Association has responded to reassure the market that there will be no impact on the supply or availability of steelwork.
BCSA Director General Sarah McCann-Bartlett (pictured) says the UK’s structural steelwork sector already uses a mix of high quality domestic and imported steel. “We have a well developed and highly efficient steel stockholding and distribution sector that supplies steelwork contractors with a balance of UK and imported steels.
“There are high levels of stocks that can quickly and easily be expanded if required. Tata Steel has confirmed that despite scaling down some operations at Scunthorpe and in Scotland production of the steel sections that we use for structures is unaffected by any of this.”
SSI and Caparo, which have both gone into administration, did not supply steel to the UK’s structural steelwork sector.
BCSA says its forecast for growth in the structural steelwork fabrication market of 5% this year and 2% in 2016 remains unaltered and steel-framed buildings are still 5% cheaper than concrete alternatives according to the latest cost analysis by Gardiner & Theobald.
Ms McCann-Bartlett said: “While these growth forecasts meet demand for current and planned construction and infrastructure projects, UK steelwork contractors also have the ability to increase output should demand for structural steelwork increase further.
“Structural steelwork consumption in the UK remains below the long-term average of 1 million tonnes per annum at 862,000 tonnes. But at its peak, UK structural steelwork consumption reached 1,400,000 tonnes, so there is still latent capacity in the sector.”
BCSA says it fully supports the steel manufacturing industry’s calls for a level playing field for UK steel manufacturing. Ms McCann-Bartlett said: “A UK supply of high quality steel creates a competitive and efficient market, and importantly supports the UK economy and UK jobs.”