PRESIDENT’S COLUMN British Steel recruiting 124
German discount supermarket Lidl has announced
plans to build its largest warehouse in the UK.
The regional distribution centre at J11A of the M1
near Houghton Regis, Bedfordshire, will be more than
double the size of any other Lidl UK warehouse and
will create up to 1,000 new jobs.
The 92,900m2 warehouse on the 58-acre site will be
the company’s 16th in the UK.
Lidl UK said it was part of its plan to invest
£1.45bn in Britain during the next year.
The firm, owned by Germany’s Schwarz Group,
said the new centre would service its growing estate of
It said it had already exchanged contracts on the
site with the Houghton Regis Management Company
- a consortium of Aviva Investors, Land Improvement
Holdings and the Diocese of St Albans.
Director for Expansion and Development, Ingo
Fischer, said: “With five new stores opening in the next
two months alone, and further store expansion and
development plans in place for the Greater London
area across the new financial year and beyond, this
new warehouse is vital in supporting our ambitious
expansion plans in and around the M25.”
The construction sector, government and the wider UK
population are reeling following Carillion’s liquidation
in January. But at the same time, nobody in the sector
is that surprised that a large main contractor has gone
Government is working with trade associations
like BCSA to make sure subcontractors are informed,
and to determine the immediate next steps as this
particular mess is mopped up. Clients are working with
the liquidator to get construction jobs started again
and subcontractors, including steelwork contractors,
are ready to make sure that the cranes on building sites
across the country are working once more.
The calls for reform in the construction sector are
welcome, and I’ve written about these issues before.
The solutions include rigorous enforcement of
payment terms, getting rid of supply chain financing
that can leave subcontractors out on a limb, and
dealing with retentions once and for all.
It’s ironic that Carillion’s demise happened during
the government’s consultation period on retentions. I
strongly support mandatory ring-fencing of retentions
and the private members bill that supports this, as well
as the longer term abolition of retentions.
However, legislation takes time, so isn’t there
more that government can do right now to protect
The only Carillion subcontractors that are in the
clear post liquidation are those that had valid credit
insurance (expensive and not always available) and
those that were working on projects with Project Bank
Accounts (PBAs). The money in these PBAs is ringfenced
and the liquidator has no right to the monies in
them that are owed to subcontractors.
Governments in England, Scotland and Wales
have already mandated PBAs for central government
contracts. This didn’t need any legislation, just
the collective will to protect the supply chain on
construction projects paid for by the taxpayer.
So why can’t it be thus for cash retentions?
BCSA is calling for governments across the UK
to first and foremost ban the use of cash retentions
on all government funded projects, throughout the
whole supply chain. This should be done for all central
government and government agency projects that
are currently being let, quickly followed by local
In addition, government should mandate the ringfencing
of cash retentions for ongoing works where
the cash is currently sitting in main contractors’ bank
accounts. As we all know now after Carillion, this is the
worst place it could possibly be.
This is a simple step and will show the rest of the
sector how straightforward protecting subcontractors’
monies is. And then we can all get on with the job
of legislating for ring-fencing cash retentions across
the board before retentions are abolished, by law
BCSA President & Sales Director Cleveland Bridge
A total of 124 manufacturing trainees are being
recruited by British Steel in Scunthorpe.
Sixty of the appointments have already been made,
with half of them having started work during December.
The remainder will join the company this month.
Britsh Steel said it is now looking to find an
additional 64 manufacturing trainees who will be
trained to perform roles including crane driving,
forklift truck driving and machine operations.
British Steel Deputy CEO Paul Martin said: “We’re
delighted to continue recruiting, underlining our
commitment to investing in our people, our products
and our future.
“These are excellent jobs, offering successful
applicants first-class training and career prospects
along with a good wage.”
The new trainees will be based in manufacturing
areas across our Scunthorpe site and be directly
involved in producing the company’s steel output.
Candidates must be aged 18 and over as this is a
legal requirement in order to be able to work shifts.
They will also be expected to have a full and valid
driving licence, excellent communication skills and the
ability to work well within a team environment.
Galvanizing for car park extension
Joseph Ash Galvanizing has successfully galvanized
over 400t of steelwork for a second storey extension to
an existing car park in Stevenage.
The project involved galvanizing a series of
16m-long beams and wide plate flooring. Joseph Ash
Galvanizing’s Chesterfield plant was chosen as the
plant is said to be able to handle the largest of projects.
Joseph Ash Chesterfield is also said to be unique
as it can offer both an assembly and trial erection
facility, which reduces major transport and secondary
The galvanizing of the beams and plate flooring
took four weeks, although most of the work was
completed within the first 48 hours of arriving at
Chesterfield according to the company.
All of the steelwork was then assembled in the
covered facility at the Chesterfield plant and, once
this was complete, the 16m long by 2.4m wide units
were coated and treated to the customer’s exact
This ensured no wet trades were needed on-site,
and all the work could be carried out within ideal
conditions for painting.
plans for its largest