Clearview South August 2013 - Issue 141 - Page 38

INDUSTRYNEWS Strategy sets foundations for UK construction growth A long-term partnership between government and the construction industry to get Britain building and winning contracts overseas has been announced. Speaking at the Government Construction Summit, Business Minister Michael Fallon unveiled the industrial strategy for construction – ‘Construction 2025’ – which will set out how the government and industry will ensure the UK continues to thrive in the face of increasing global competition. The strategy includes an action plan of 10 joint commitments to ensure industry is best placed to achieve its ambitions by 2025. Highlights include reducing growth barriers for businesses, particularly small and mediumsized firms (SMEs) and sole traders. Within the plan, the government and industry commit to improving access to trade credit and increasing fair payment practices. Together they pledge to secure an increase in the number of suppliers offering greater trade credit to small businesses, as well as developing a fair payment charter for construction. The strategy follows news last week that over £100 billion of public investment is being committed to infrastructure projects to 2020, including the building of 200,000 affordable homes in the four years to 2018. Business Secretary Vince Cable said: “Today’s industrial strategy will help firms innovate and export more. It will also help train a next generation of construction workers and look at what skills gaps we need to fill.” Business and Energy Minister Michael Fallon said: “Construction is a sector where Britain has a strong competitive edge, the capabilities for rapid new development and a potential for unlocking great wealth for our economy.” Workers exposed to asbestos during refurbishment work The owner of a cladding installation business has been fined after he exposed workers to a potentially fatal risk from airborne asbestos fibres at a house in Bedfordshire. Michael Southern, owner of PMF Cladding, instructed an employee and a casual labourer to remove and replace soffit boards during refurbishment work at a property in Sharnbrook in August 2011. However, Bedford Magistrates’ Court heard that Mr Southern had not carried out a suitable survey in advance to determine whether asbestos was present and did not hold a licence to undertake work with the dangerous material. A neighbour informed Mr Southern that the soffits were made of asbestos insulating board but that did not stop him allowing work to carry on. After a complaint was made to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), an inspector visited the site and immediately halted further work. HSE’s investigation found that Mr Southern was aware from some of his previous jobs that soffit boards may contain asbestos but had not taken this into account when assessing this job. He had also failed to provide information and training to workers who could be exposed to asbestos fibres. Michael William Southern, 48, of Brington Road, Old Weston, Huntingdon, trading as PMF Cladding, Cambridge Road Industrial Estate, Bedford, was fined £7,015 and ordered to pay £3,200 in costs after pleading guilty to four breaches of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006 on 30 August 2011. For advice on working with asbestos visit www.hse.gov.uk/asbestos. INSTALLATIONS BOUNCE BACK IN 2ND QUARTER The quarter to June 30th 2013 has been the best April, May and June for installation of replacement windows and doors in domestic properties since 2010, claims FENSA. There were three successive months of growth, compared with the same period in the previous year, for the first time since the recession hit in 2007. “A disappointing first quarter, which has been superseded by an encouraging second quarter,” comments FENSA Operations Director Chris Mayne. “These figures support positive comments and statistics announced by other glazing sector businesses in recent weeks and months.” 89% of all window installations are covered by FENSA according to DCLG. *Calculated from the most up to date window and door installation figures - period April, May & June 2013 www.fensa.org.uk ‘89% of all window installations are covered by FENSA’ April was up 11.3% on 2012, May up 2.9% and June up 12 %. In total, the quarter was up 8.53% on last year, though the figures are down 27% on the same period in 2007. 38 AUG 2013 To read more, visit www.clearview-uk.com