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Steel stays competitive

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Tata Steel Europe Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director Dr Karl Köhler

The UK construction sector is being served by a healthy steel manufacturer, best in class steelwork contractors and brilliant architects and structural engineers, said Tata Steel Europe Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director Dr Karl Köhler.

Speaking at the BCSA’s National Dinner Dr Köhler said there were also the three things necessary for the continued success of steel in the UK.  He said Tata Steel is mindful of the rising cost of construction inputs generally and had been making cost reducing efficiency investments, such as rationalising the UK panels and profiles business onto one site next to the coatings lines at Shotton.  The supply chain was being made as lean as possible.

Despite this, raw materials price rises had to be passed on. Dr Köhler said: “I know this volatility makes it difficult for all of our key sectors – whether it be packaging that lives on an annual cycle of seasons, whether it be automotive that must plan vehicle design and delivery over multiple years or whether it be the construction industry that is project driven and where cost stability is essential to ensure budget delivery, and also to allow design innovation within boundaries placed by our end customers.”

Dr Köhler said Tata Steel was working with customers on pricing innovations that can help customers get through these testing times. He said: “A key message is

that while prices are increasing for steel the competitive situation with other materials is not significantly changed. Timber, concrete – they simply do not match steel for total cost, design in use capability, pace of technological innovation and sustainability.

“We must provide the construction market with the right information of the cost of structural steelwork to ensure that steel is never ruled out of a project simply because of people’s mistaken perceptions.”

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