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BCSA steelwork contractors add value

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President’s Column
September 2017

I often ask myself at what point in the process do main contractors realise that BCSA members are specialists and that they can work with us to unlock additional value. This year, I have seen examples of great procurement and, disappointingly, some poor procurement.

For the specialist sub-contractor, good procurement starts with early engagement with the main contractor. We are by nature natural innovators, finding the best way to turn a tender into an order, in the same way that our customers do. By engaging early, the steelwork contractor can input to the design, often reduce costs, and even shorten the programme. The message that I’d like to send to our customers is that the earlier we are involved the better. We all know that a job that starts good, stays good.

Some of the poor procurement I’ve seen recently includes the engagement of blatantly unqualified steelwork contractors, leaving sub-contractor selection to the very last minute and even the immoral playing-off of one company against another.

BCSA members have set themselves very high standards, often beyond mandatory requirements.  BCSA supports members with daily memos keeping them up-to-date with technical codes and standards as well as best practice.  I’m not sure that I understand how non-members are able to keep up with their statutory obligations without access to such a service.

With over 90 registered steelwork contractor members, the customer has plenty of choice to ensure a suitably qualified and competitive tender list. Not only can they be confident that they are choosing the most appropriate steelwork contractor for the project, but one who also supports the UK economy. Access to a pre-assessed, qualified steelwork contractor who values quality is easy through our searchable database which can be found at Sub-contractors belonging to a high-quality trade association like BCSA have a vested interest in adding value to the tender process as well as maintaining strong values. The two go hand-in-hand.

I plan to write a column in each of the NSC editions, and I hope that they will be topical. Having said that, if you have a subject that you’d like a comment on, please send them to me: you can email me directly at

Tim Outteridge
BCSA President & Sales Director Cleveland Bridge

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