President's Column February 2021
15 Feb 2021
It's public news that steel section prices have increased dramatically over the last six months, mainly on the back of commodity prices rising for both BOS and EAF manufacturing routes, and increased demand in China. Many mills have been trading in the red. Clearly, prices needed to rise, but the scale of the increases has been alarming and unfortunately every time steel prices go up it's front-page news. However, when other materials increase their prices by similar levels, it always seems to...
BCSA call to withdraw introduction of Reverse VAT
04 Feb 2021
To stop the introduction of reverse VAT, BCSA has been supporting Build UK's campaign calling for Reverse VAT to be withdrawn. This campaign started on Build UK's social media channels on Monday 1st February and on BCSA's own channels Tuesday 2nd February.
President's Column January 2021
06 Jan 2021
At the time of writing this article (7th December), we don't know whether we will have a Brexit deal or perhaps yet another transition extension. What has been pleasing is how resilient the steelwork industry has been so far to the effects of Brexit and COVID-19, and its important that furlough will still be an option for some of us in Q1 next year. I was asked by the BCSA to write an uplifting article for the end of the year. I'm sorry I couldn't, I just think it's going to be a 'right slog'...
President's Column November/December 2020
16 Nov 2020
The climate emergency and sustainability are still high on most people's agenda and rightly so. And while some choose to focus on carbon emissions alone, sustainability is not just about the carbon emissions associated with material manufacture, but should also encompass the wider requirements of the economy and societal needs. If we are to develop an industry that can deliver net-zero carbon steel by 2050 the industry needs to be viable, successful and maintain the in-house expertise to put in...
President's Column October 2020
12 Oct 2020
Governments around the World have made it clear that we all have a responsibility to reduce our carbon footprint. "The Structural Engineer" magazine has recently published several articles on the climate emergency which have focused solely on initial carbon and has largely ignored the wider issues associated with sustainability. As engineers we don't just have a responsibility to the current generation, but to future generations and our choice of construction materials must reflect not only...
2020 Structural Steel Design Awards winners announced
01 Oct 2020
The Structural Steel Design Awards have recognised and rewarded many of the best examples of ambition and innovation in our built environment. Now celebrating their 52nd year, the 2020 Awards, jointly sponsored by the British Constructional Steelwork Association and Trimble Solutions (UK) Ltd, continue that great tradition. This year's collection of entries once again demonstrates the excellence achievable with the use of steel, as well as structural and architectural design. The Judges...
President's Column September 2020
16 Sep 2020
John Blackwell, Rowecord Engineering's long-standing charismatic former MD, used to say "steelwork contracting is all about managing risk". John's words are as true today as they always have been, probably more so. All too often steelwork contractors are being forced into taking on the temporary stability of the steelwork during erection with no allowance being made at tender stage for this crucial part of the building's life. This is a recipe for a 'race to the bottom' and in my experience...
Updated NSSS includes new intumescent paint section
11 Sep 2020
The British Constructional Steelwork Association (BSCA) has published the 7th edition of the National Structural Steelwork Specification for buildings (NSSS). The latest edition has been extensively updated and represents the biggest change since its introduction in 1989. One of the main changes is the inclusion of a new section on intumescent paint systems. Following the tragic Grenfell Tower fire and the call from Dame Judith Hackitt for industry not to wait for legislation, the BCSA said...
President's Column July/August 2020
03 Aug 2020
Responsible Welding Co-ordinators (RWC) were introduced as part of CE marking to make one person accountable for the welding processes from the pre-contract stage through to final production and any work done on site. Many initially thought that CE marking was just an additional burden but, in most cases, it has improved knowledge of the fabrication process, increasing the quality and reducing the amount of remedial work. The concept of getting it right first time is vitally important and the...
President's Column June 2020
12 Jun 2020
The lockdown is starting to be relaxed and although things won't be back to normal any time soon, a lot of construction sites are open (with the exception of some in Scotland) and most steelwork contractors are working. We all look forward to more restrictions being lifted over the summer, but I worry that The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, has warned of a 'severe recession, the likes of which we haven't seen' and some commentators talk about 10% unemployment not just for the short term but for up to...