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Steel back on the growth tack

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The top table guests before the National Dinner

The top table guests before the National Dinner

Structural steel’s return to growth in the UK in 2014 looks set to continue this year with growth of 10% forecast, BCSA President Wendy Coney told the Association’s National Dinner.

UK structural steel consumption grew for the first time in seven years in 2014, and Ms Coney welcomed this sign of a renewed vigour of the sector and its supply chain. She slammed media reports suggesting that the sector would not be able to meet growing demands. This was no justification for using cheap imports, she said. ”We have survived through very difficult times, we are stronger than ever, ready and able to meet the demands for all future requirements in all sectors, buildings and bridges.”

Ms Coney, Managing Director of steelwork contractor Shipley Structures, said it was appropriate that she was making her first Presidential speech to the BCSA’s National Dinner on National Women in Engineering Day. She had an incredibly interesting career during which she worked with amazing people and built some great structures. “Ladies, I can recommend it,” she said.

The BCSA looked forward to working with the newly formed Build UK to develop understanding of the benefits of involving steelwork contractors as early as possible in the construction planning process. She said: “Early involvement at the very beginning is key to getting it right, to getting the job finished on time and within budget.”

Guest Speaker James Wates CBE, Chairman of the Wates Group, Chairman of the UKCG and Joint Chairman of the new group for contractors and its supply chain partners Build UK, which is being formed by a merger of UKCG and the NSCC, said Wates Group had ‘a good recession’ and recognised the importance of supply chain relationships in that success.

Mr Wates said the formation of Build UK was ‘an opportunity to fundamentally change our industry’.  He said: “We all want our industry to thrive, to be an industry that clients come to for solutions. We need to change to achieve that. We need to work together.”

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