NSC Archives


Awards again show what is possible with quality steelwork

Posted on by in Comment

As we went to press this month the country was turning out to elect a new government, against an economic background that remains challenging despite the shocks of events like the Covid-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine having been mostly absorbed.

The new government, of whatever political hue, will not have its problems to look for. Solving many of them will cost a lot of money, but there doesn’t seem to be much to spare. That’s the problem and there will be no easy solutions suggested in this column – these issues are what we have elected the new government to grapple with.

The construction industry doesn’t have to look hard to find problems of its own that it will need some government help with, that much was apparent from all the pre-election ‘manifestoes’ that came from all sides of the industry including the BCSA. There is much that the industry has to do for itself of course, but almost every issue from procurement reform to promoting collaboration and partnering, investment in research and development and developing ways to improve productivity, to combatting the skills crisis, demands some form of government support, either financial or legislative or both.

BCSA President Gary Simmons in his President’s column in this issue highlights the skills crisis, which is throwing up problems that are taxing ingenuity to grapple with them all across construction. Matching the 1.5 million or so people out of work, and the over nine million 16 to 64 year olds classed as economically inactive, with the needs of industry to ensure the necessary flow of recruits is a problem that must be a priority for the new government. Recruiting from the ranks of the unemployed will not be enough on its own, and making the industry attractive to new entrants and retaining them after they are trained is essential.

The Structural Steel Design Awards that is published in this issue (see News and article on p11) shows the world some of what could be lost if the skills crisis is allowed to fester. This year’s crop of SSDA entrants is once again an outstanding display of quality steelwork that can only be achieved by a highly trained, skilled, and dedicated workforce provided by strongly motivated, financially sound steelwork contractors that qualify for membership of the BCSA.

These projects have all been visited by SSDA judges, who have always expressed admiration for the way that designers and the rest of the construction teams have been able to take advantage of structural steel’s unique blend of characteristics to produce projects with high sustainability credentials, with cost effectiveness, quality and future flexibility built in. As new BCSA Chief Executive Officer Jonathan Clemens said on the release of the shortlist (see News), SSDA projects are world class projects for the future, that are functional today as well as adaptable for whatever needs arise tomorrow.

Advances in robotics and digital platforms are being adopted across the sector at an enviably fast pace, he said, that will ensure steel construction continues to make invaluable societal and economic contributions in future. Always assuming of course that construction, with government help, can rise to the challenge of the current skills crisis. It’s a challenge for sure, but we must be confident that it can be met.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Share this post

Related Posts


Click on the cover to view this month's issue as a digimag.