President’s Column July/August 2022
Steelwork contractor members of the BCSA fabricate and erect half of the structural steel in the UK and Ireland, but there are literally hundreds of other steelwork contractors that are not members. Why is that, particularly now The Building Safety Act has been enacted in English law with its increased focus on competence and capability in the UK construction industry? What better way to demonstrate your competence and capability as a steelwork contractor than by becoming a BCSA member who has undergone a rigorous annual audit to be listed on the Register of Qualified Steelwork Contractors (RQSC)? The audit checks the competence, capability and financial strength of the steelwork contractor to safely execute various types of buildings and to what guide contract value. Published monthly at the back of this magazine, the RQSC listing is an essential guide for principal contractors and construction professionals to assist them in carrying out their due diligence responsibilities when selecting a competent steelwork contractor for their project.
Joining BCSA also gives a steelwork contractor access to specialist resources and advice on technical, legal, contractual, regulatory and health & safety issues, to name but a few, as well as promotional opportunities. All of the projects featured in this magazine are by BCSA member steelwork contractors and the Structural Steel Design Awards allows BCSA member steelwork contractors to showcase their projects both in this magazine and at the Awards event in September. There is also the opportunity to lobby government on key industry issues. In June, the BCSA hosted its first House of Commons member’s lunch where BCSA members from across the UK met 11 local MPs with an interest in the steel construction sector to promote the industry and discuss key issues.
However, a primary purpose of the BCSA is to make steelwork the material of choice for clients, construction professionals and principal contractors, to grow the market for steel construction and create sales opportunities for its members. Working in partnership with UK steel manufacturers and the SCI, the BCSA has an enviable track record in market development over very many years. Demonstrating the cost-effectiveness of steel construction and promoting its carbon, reuse, recycling and circular economy credentials has resulted in steel’s market share in the UK being significantly higher than elsewhere in the world. Efficient design is more important today than ever as we tackle the climate emergency and BCSA already has plans in place to update the vast library of steel design guidance and software to support the change to the Generation 2 Eurocodes that are currently nearing completion.
The latest forecast for the amount of constructional steelwork consumed in the UK for 2022 is 913,000 tonnes, which is almost back to the historic average consumption often quoted as 1,000,000 tonnes. But, the market would not be that size save for the activity of BCSA and its members.
So, to the hundreds of other steelwork contractors that are not members, I say join us. Stop riding on the coat tails of others, join BCSA, access the benefits, demonstrate your competence and capability and play your part in developing the UK steel construction industry further. And to the principal contractors and construction professionals reading this column, make life easy for yourself and choose a BCSA steelwork contractor member for your next project, as it will go a long way in satisfying the requirement for competent and capable sub-contractors.