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Early involvement can boost sustainability

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Last January we were looking ahead to a gathering of pace of a still nascent recovery in the demand for constructional steelwork and construction products and services generally. A year later those hopes are being realised and the pace of growth in demand is continuing into the New Year.

Growth following a recession brings its own problems however, and the press is full of stories about shortages of materials like bricks and concrete and of professional and trade skills. Skilled trades are in desperately short supply in places and £1,000 a week for a bricklayer seems to be commonplace.

Clients can avoid a lot of supply chain stresses and strains however, as BCSA Director General Sarah McCann-Bartlett points out in this month’s News, by choosing to work more collaboratively with their steelwork contractors, and tapping into their wealth of accumulated design and construction experience by getting them on board earlier in the pre construction phases.

Project planning and coordination can only be improved by early involvement of steelwork specialists. Many clients already know this and value the contribution they can make, but others seem to pay lip service to the idea and don’t achieve the time and money savings that assembling a project team early with intimate knowledge of how to maximise the huge benefits of steel brings.

Early involvement of the steelwork contractor also has sustainability benefits, as was stressed at the SCI’s event at the London Transport Museum as you can also read about in News. Steelwork contractors are well placed to give timely advice on achieving an economic and structurally efficient, as well as cost efficient, design, as William Hare’s Jonathan Davis explained.

There are many benefits from getting your steelwork contractor, and other specialists, on board as early as possible. There are also benefits from ensuring that your steelwork contractor is a member of the BCSA, not the least of which will be that you can sure that all the modern high standards in health and safety procedures will be followed, both on site and in the fabrication workshop.

Steel supplied by a BCSA member will be CE Marked and its operational procedures will be audited as a condition of membership, giving clients, Tier 1 contractors, designers and other construction team members assurance that they are working with a quality assured, highly skilled and experienced steelwork supplier.

All this will continue to be available in 2015 without the price spikes, materials shortages and increasing lead times that currently bedevil other materials, although slow and steady price increases are expected. The steel construction sector has plenty of capacity to help its clients manage the continuing economic recovery without undue stresses.

Nick Barrett – Editor

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