PRESIDENT’S COLUMN Severfield acquires power
Leading steelwork contractor Severfield has entered
into an agreement to acquire 100% of the share capital
of Harry Peers, a full-service structural steelwork
business, for a net initial consideration of £18M,
payable in cash on completion.
The Board of Severfield said they believe that the
long-term investment profile of Harry Peers’s key
positions in the highly-regulated markets of nuclear,
process industries and power generation, enhances its
areas of expertise and broadens its market exposure.
Harry Peers has also demonstrated capability in
modular structural steel offerings, which Severfield will
look to develop across its wider product range.
The nuclear sector, including both the defence and
commercial sectors, in which Harry Peers commands a
niche position with blue chip customers, is forecasted to
grow through the UK Government’s decommissioning
The power generation market, including energyfrom
waste (“EfW”) plants, is forecast to grow on
the back of the world economy seeking alternatives
to carbon fuels. The UK government has set a target
of 15% of final energy consumption from renewable
sources by 2020, meaning that 30% of electricity
production will have to come from renewable sources.
Alan Dunsmore, Chief Executive Officer, Severfield
commented: “This acquisition will help Severfield
continue to deliver on its strategic objectives. Harry
Peers’s experience in specialist, highly-regulated,
non-cyclical markets will enhance our future growth
plans through expanding the Group’s capabilities and
Cantilevering Edinburgh hotel takes shape
An £18M four-star boutique hotel, featuring a steel-framed
6.7m cantilevering wing, is taking shape in Edinburgh’s West
End at Torphichen Street.
The 150-bedroom hotel is being built by Ogilvie
Construction for Axcel Hospitality and will incorporate a
restaurant, bar and leisure facilities. The project is due for
completion in early 2020.
The eight-storey project has a hybrid design, featuring a
main precast concrete element, which is enhanced with a steelframed
section that cantilevers over the thoroughfare, thereby
enlarging the available footprint.
Hescott Engineering is erecting 300t of steel, which connects
back to the concrete part of the hotel via steel plates and welded
stubs that form the connection between the two frames.
What’s going on in the construction sector at the
moment? On one hand, we have the statistics
implying its all doom and gloom, and on the other
hand, many of my customers are saying they’ve never
been busier. How do we reconcile these conflicting
sentiments, and what do they mean for us all?
The IHS Markit / CIPS UK Construction PMI has been
in the doldrums for months, sitting well below the 50
break even point. Their latest data release for October
was 44.2, following on from September’s weak 43.3.
Experian is expecting a flat year for construction this
year, up 1.2% and the ONS new orders data for quarter
2 was 13.3% down, more than reversing the gains we
saw in the first quarter of this year.
But when I speak to my customers, they all say
they’re flat out and never been busier tendering. So
what’s the story?
We all know that the large London commercial
market remains soft; in the October UK Construction
PMI survey, commercial activity fell for the 10th
month running. However, I spend a lot of time on the
road, and when I visit big cities like Manchester and
Birmingham I see growth, commitment and a lot of
Cost, as usual, is at the fore and this is likely to
account for the busy feel around tendering. When
customers and main contractors are needing to
drive costs down, it can often feel like the market is
busy, both for main contractors and sub-contractors.
But there’s always a downside, with unrealistic cost
models creating financial instability in the sector and
driving down quality. It also means that the cowboys
are awarded jobs that they’re not properly qualified
for, and the project cost and schedule are never met
anyway. It’s a real false economy.
We’re also continuing to see a high level of
insolvencies throughout the construction supply
chain. And in response, many of the main contractors
have reshaped, re-positioned and restructured to
meet what they think conditions will be in the short to
Of course, it is prudent to take note of the
conflicting signals and prepare for a downturn in
the short term. But it is just as important to look at
the long term and prepare for a new environment
in construction. One with different contracting
models, reshaped clients and updated methods of
BCSA is helping its members on both fronts –
providing advice and lobbying on the short-term
commercial issues they are facing, while repositioning
steel, the original offsite framing material, for the
inevitable longer term changes to the construction
BCSA President and Jamestown Manufacturing
sector steelwork specialist
Steelwork contractor’s national recognition
for new Behavioural Safety Charter
Cleveland Bridge UK has achieved national recognition
for its newly-launched Behavioural Safety Charter.
Winning the prestigious Make UK award for
Health, Safety and Well-being at the organisation’s
Manufacturing Awards, Cleveland Bridge was
commended on its work to further safeguard the
physical and mental health and safety of its employees.
Working with an external, best-practice safety
consultancy, Cleveland Bridge has developed a bespoke,
in-house behavioural safety training programme
dedicated to improving employee well-being.
The comprehensive course was delivered to
all Cleveland Bridge employees, over a period of
five months with the aim of embedding safety
consciousness into everybody’s daily behaviour, so that
working safely, identifying potential risks and taking
action to address them, becomes second nature.
The training programme is said to have resulted
in several key initiatives including more visible
communications about health, safety and well-being.
Chris Droogan, Managing Director of Cleveland
Bridge, said: “Health and safety are critical to us and
we are committed to maintaining and improving our
employee health and well-being.
“We are very proud that our new Behavioural
Safety Charter has already been recognised by the
manufacturing industry and our commitment to
recognising the importance of challenging attitudes
and behaviours across the business.”