Thursday, 18 January 2018

Carillion collapse to cost Balfour Beatty £45m

Balfour Beatty and Galliford Try have been left counting the cost of Carillion’s collapse with big hits on the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route project.

Carillion was in joint venture with the duo on the £550m contract, which they are obliged to complete.

The current estimate of the extra cash contribution outstanding from Carillion to complete the project is £60-80m, of which any shortfall will be funded equally between Balfour and Galliford.

Both firms said they were discussing the position urgently with the Official Receiver of Carillion and Transport Scotland, to minimise any impact on the project.

Balfour Balfour, which was also working with Carillion on the £1.4bn A14 in Cambridgeshire and the £200m M60 Junction 8 to M62 Junction 20 scheme, estimated its cash hit would be in the range of £35m-£45m in 2018.

This morning Balfour issued a statement saying it would continue to work with its customers and would meet its contractual commitments.

Balfour said the profit impact of Carillion’s compulsory liquidation would be recorded as an exceptional non-underlying charge in the income statement.

Both Balfour Beatty and Galliford Try added that they did not have any other material financial exposure to Carillion.

from The UK Construction Blog

Tuesday, 16 January 2018


A proven waterproof solution is essential for safeguarding basements, car parks, tunnels and other belowground concrete structures against damp and water ingress. But which system is best suited to your building? A render-based product? A drainage system incorporating a membrane? Sika offers both solutions as part of its proven, wide-ranging concrete and waterproofing range, so let’s examine the benefits of each.

Sika®-1 Pre-Bagged waterproofing system comprises watertight renders and screeds produced using the Sika®-1 Waterproofing Liquid and Sika®-1 Pre-Batched Mortars. The mortars consist of a blend of special cement and kiln dried graded aggregates. Packaged in four grades, each is specifically designed for optimum application performance and durability.

Key considerations when specifying Sika®-1 Pre-Bagged:

  • Once applied, it requires absolutely no maintenance
  • It is more cost-effective when applied to areas of 300m2 or less
  • The render system takes up minimal space
  • Bonds directly to the substrate – follows the contours of any structure
  • Withstands high water pressure
  • Substrate preparation may be required


In terms of a water management solution, Sika® CD-Cavity Drain System uses a high density polyethylene internal drainage membrane to control water after it has penetrated a structure. The system is installed, loose-laid in flooring applications and attached to the wall with surface plugs in vertical installations. The system directs penetrating water into a drainage system and a collection sump before using a pump to discharge water from the building. A cavity drain provides protection from the ingress of water, vapour and gases.

Key considerations when specifying Sika® CD-Cavity Drain System:

  • System requires ongoing maintenance and running costs
  • Requires more space to install
  • Acts as a vapour barrier
  • Limited surface preparation required
  • Can be used where the substrate does not have the strength to resist stresses caused by water pressure
  • Most cost-effective on areas larger than 300m2


Although varying in application and comprising different materials, the systems share common properties. For instance, Sika®-1 Pre-Bagged and Cavity Drain are suitable for new-build and refurbishment projects involving a range of belowground structures.

As well as being BBA-approved, both systems carry a Sika guarantee when installed by an approved contractor. Other common properties include the systems’ suitability for use to grades 1-3 according to BS 8102-2009, and high water table according to BS 8102-2009.

What then, must we conclude from this comparison? Well, by eliminating the need for ongoing maintenance, the Sika®-1 Pre-Bagged system is a more cost-effective solution over a lifespan of 60 years, particularly for structures 300m2 and below.

Not as simple to apply as the pre-bagged system, on account of its additional components, Sika® CD-Cavity Drain System is a more ideal waterproofing solution for areas larger than 300m2. Ongoing running costs are incurred, as the system requires regular maintenance.

Sika®-1 Pre-Bagged or Sika® CD-Cavity Drain system…whichever system you choose as your belowground solution, you are guaranteed the same quality: superb, long-term waterproof performance.

  • Sika operates a Registered Contractors scheme, designed to help facilitate the selection of suitable contractors to install Sika waterproofing systems including Sika®-1 and Cavity Drain. Choosing a Sika Registered Contractor provides total quality control – from product to service and installation – giving clients added reassurance that they will receive the highest standards of professionalism at every stage.

from The UK Construction Blog

Monday, 8 January 2018

Brexit uncertainty in construction: how to maintain your career

As we head into 2018, only one factor of the economy is certain – our uncertainty about the implications of Brexit is making a significant impact on the UK construction industry.

General optimism in the industry has been at its most subdued since mid-2013, while the latest estimates from the Office of National Statistics suggest that construction output contracted 0.5 per cent in third quarter of 2017, having shrunk by 0.3 per cent in the previous three months.

Duncan Brock of the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply said, “It appears that the continued fall in commercial activity was testament to Brexit-related uncertainty on the horizon and the sector’s fear about the direction of the UK economy as clients still hesitated to spend on bigger projects.”

Howard Archer of the EY Item Club concurred, “Extended lacklustre economic activity and heightened economic, political and Brexit uncertainties are clearly hampering the construction sector. It looks like it is going to be another challenging year for the sector.”

With market uncertainty comes a lack of job security for many workers. That’s why we’ve come up with a few strategies to help you improve your skillset in an increasingly competitive market.

Track down networking events

While Brexit might be causing uncertainty in a variety of sectors, construction businesses are always searching for upcoming talent.

If you’re a member of a trade association, chances are that association you’re affiliated with will host a number of trade shows and conferences throughout the year.

Use these events to meet new contacts and make your face known. Similarly, joining your local Chamber of Commerce could help you find out about companies in your local area which are searching for a trade professional.

When networking, don’t forget to bring well-presented business cards with you, and always dress professionally.

Get online

In a similar vein to networking events, popular networking site LinkedIn could be the most effective way to meet new contacts.

Make sure your profile outlines your past work experience, your key skills and your personal development while working in a trade. Once your profile is looking great, you’ll be able to connect with anyone in your industry and see a broad range of job opportunities online.

Train yourself

Completing your apprenticeship should never be the end of your training. If you’re constantly moving from one job to the next, you’ll need to continuously accumulate new skills throughout your career.

Gaining a distance learning degree from a university like Anglia Ruskin could be the ticket. A degree in management, for instance, could allow you to progress into a leadership role in construction, commanding a greater salary and increased job security.

Brexit negotiations may be showing a downturn in the fortunes of many industries, but they can also provide great opportunities for the worker who’s willing to network and learn new skills.

Have you got any training tips for the construction industry? Then let us know in the comments below.

from The UK Construction Blog



As an industry, we could be accused of focusing on the past rather than looking to the future – in fact, this is a condition that the country suffers from as a whole, and one that can stifle progress. Ultimately, positive, forward thinking, and innovation will attract fresh blood to our industry. But we must learn from our experiences and select important lessons for ourselves and the next generation, as my reality was very different.

I stumbled into this sector very much by accident, as many do. After leaving school, I found myself a summer job with a housebuilder as a joiner’s labourer. This helped me through my college years, and I then moved into the equipment hire industry, and construction products sales, where I first gained real perspective on how job sites operated – and how specifications had a big influence on the construction of a building. From there, I began an adventure into aluminium systems, fenestration and the building envelope.

The journey into roofing had a familiar feel, then managing a commercial specification team was exciting, and a real challenge as I again was able to influence construction in a tangible way. Joining Sika has really provided a wider opportunity, the company enabled me to move from a regional role, to a national role, and I’m now responsible for a business unit of over £60 million, three branded organisations – Sika Sarnafil, Sika Liquid Plastics and Sika-Trocal – and a team of over 70.

Today, the construction landscape looks very different. There’s a greater focus on Health & Safety, more challenging site restrictions, and a real focus on safe working. Specifications are ever more tested, but we continue to learn and improve. Sustainability, product innovation, logistics, and disposal of waste, have all developed massively. We have a lot to celebrate and share. Training has come on leaps and bounds, making a real contribution to strengthening the sector. We are more aware than ever of how we approach construction and what our roles and responsibilities are.

Now I realise that project success, business success and the success of the industry as a whole, is dependent on more than the physical bricks and mortar, it is the people that make the difference. Throughout the years I’ve been lucky to work with some great characters, who invested in my career, and me as an individual, provided great coaching and gave me opportunity to grow. It seems natural that we can now do the same for others.

A key focus for me is people development. We talk every day about our teams, where they are in their evolution, what projects are their focuses and how we can provide better support for our employees.

Recently, we had the opportunity to contribute at a college careers open day, where one of our team who had progressed in the last few years, told his story. This inspired a number of students, all of whom hadn’t necessarily considered the breadth of roles that the construction industry offers. We were overwhelmed at the interest, and quickly made the decision to move forward.

On the back of this, and stimulated by the Apprenticeship Levy, I am overjoyed that we will be welcoming two new apprentices to the Sika Roofing family this year.

These young people will join in a general business administration role, and work across all areas for the rest of this year. We will see where their strengths take them, with operations, sales and marketing, and technical services, all offering great opportunities for development. Working in construction really does allow you to ‘choose your own adventure’ and work to your skills and potential. There is even the chance of international roles, a very exciting opportunity.

Our apprentices will benefit from a sponsor, a coach, and a long term plan to integrate them into our business culture, and see what the industry is about. Sika’s group values provide a real spirit of entrepreneurship, opportunity and progression.

It’s clear that society and technology have changed younger people’s career choices. The perception of the construction industry and the long term opportunities are different than they were – sometimes negative and occasionally, non-existent. As a career choice from a young age, there is less focus on the traditional jobs, and the skills attached, which is one of the contributing factors to our skills shortage.

We’re not going to be able to rely on people ‘falling’ into the industry like we used to – the deficit is too large. Our focus must be to bring young people through our business – actively promoting and educating about the opportunities open to them.

If I could give our new apprentices one piece of advice, it is to be open. When I started out all those years ago, I wish I’d know how important it is to listen, to invest in yourself, and have a plan. Also, to take opportunity when it’s presented and forge relationships. I look forward to the new energy they will bring to the business, and call for more manufacturers to take action in telling the positive stories from our industry and developing the stars of tomorrow – we have so much to offer young people and they in turn to offer us.

from The UK Construction Blog