Electrical Contracting News (ECN) April 2017 - Page 8

INDUSTRY NEWS TV COMEDIAN HUGH DENNIS CONFIRMED FOR INDUSTRY AWARDS Leading comedian and actor Hugh Dennis will be performing to guests at this year’s ECA Annual Awards and Gala Dinner, after being booked as the main entertainment for the evening. Dennis is best known for his star turn on BBC sitcom Outnumbered and comedy show Mock the Week. Attendees will also enjoy a range of other entertainment hosted by Alan Dedicoat – the voice of The National Lottery and Strictly Come Dancing, which will include a live band and DJ. The ECA Annual Awards and Gala Dinner, supported by headline sponsors LEDvance and Electrium, is being held at the Hilton Bankside in London on Friday 9th June. Winners of the ECA Annual Awards 2017 will also be announced on the evening. The awards remain open to entries from members of the ECA until Tuesday 18 April 2017 under the following categories: • Large Contractor of the Year – turnover above £20m (Sponsored by Schneider Electric) • Contractor of the Year – up to £20m turnover (Sponsored by Eaton) • Contractor of the Year – up to £5m turnover (Opportunity available) • Contractor of the Year – under £1m turnover (Sponsored by Edmundson Electrical) • Best Client/Contractor Partnership Award (Sponsored by ECIC) • Innovation in Contracting Award (Sponsored by ABB) • Best Health and Safety Initiative Award (Sponsored by Electrical Safety First) • Excellence in Training and Development Award (Sponsored by JTL) For more details about how to book your place at the gala dinner, inquire about sponsorship, or to enter the awards, please visit www.ecaawards.co.uk or email awards@eca.co.uk. ALASTAIR RAMSAY – LEGRAND OBITUARY… Alastair Ramsay, sustainable development manager at Legrand UK and Ireland, died peacefully on 28th January 2017, after a short battle with cancer. Alastair joined the Legrand team in 2001 as part of the Wiring Devices business and soon became the company’s representative on many national and international standards committees. His expertise, energy and enthusiasm led him to be a member of many industry committees, including chair of the Construction Products Association and the Building Regulations Technical Committees, as well as vice-chair of the Lighting Controls Group and Environmental Technical Committee through BEAMA. With an unbounded vivacity for life and a continuing thirst for knowledge, Alastair was a joy to meet and an honour to know. He will be remembered for his kind and generous nature and for his unrivalled knowledge of our industry. Alastair will be sorely missed by all that knew him and our thoughts go to his wife Jill, children and wider family at this time. If you would like to donate to the Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund and Macmillan Cancer Support in memory of Alastair, please visit: virginmoneygiving. com/SomeoneSpecial/AVR Hugh Dennis, star of Outnumbered and Mock the Week, will perform at this year’s ECA Annual Awards and Gala Dinner. ‘COWBOY’ STEREOTYPE COULD BE PUTTING WOMEN OFF A CAREER IN THE BUILDING TRADE The ‘cowboy builder’ image could be putting women off a career in the building trade according to Darrell Sansom, managing director, AXA Business Insurance. The building trades maintain their position as the leading source of self-employment in the UK, counting for almost a million businesses. AXA’s latest figures reveal they are still the best choice for a solid and growing income, but questions why numbers of women in the trades remain miniscule. The survey found that in 2016 a tradesman’s take-home pay was typically 15 per cent higher than that of a self-employed professional, and 37 per cent above that in the retail or services industries. Startup tradesmen turn a profit fastest too – within the ‘Cowboy’ stereotype is ‘deeply unfair’ on building trade. first three months on average. And 71 per cent of tradesmen go full time within a year, compared to 55 per cent of professionals. With such good prospects, the study questioned why so few women are taking up the tools of the trade. According to AXA’s customer data, just 5.2 per cent are women, far fewer than the one in 10 commonly quoted. And, for the record, women account for just 1.8 per cent of ‘white van’ drivers on the roads today. Longer hours worked outside the home may make the trades less attractive for younger women who are juggling childcare with their work. Another reason put forward is that the traditional routes into the trades are outside the education system – through apprenticeships, on the job training, or businesses passed from father to son (10 per cent of tradespeople inherited their firms). ‘This means the trades are rarely promoted to girls when they are making their career choices, even though training to be a plumber or electrician could be as good – if not a better – option than university for many,’ commented Darrell Sansom. ‘There is also the stubborn persistence of the “cowboy builder” headline in the media which is rarely balanced by the many positive stories of decent tradespeople that we see. Seventy-two per cent of women surveyed last year said they thought the “cowboy” stereotype was true of tradespeople. There is definitely an image problem there, and it is deeply unfair.’ UK ELECTRICAL CONTRACTING MARKET WORTH OVER £20BN IN 2016 The electrical contractors market was worth just over £20bn in 2016, according to estimates by market research firm AMA Research. The value of the market grew strongly from 2014 to 2015 in line with the general resurgence in overall construction output, in particular the infrastructure and offices sectors, and to a lesser extent in new build housing. The estimates for 2016 are more moderate, with growth of around one per cent. Electrical contracting was less affected than some other areas within construction during the short term dip in the construction market in 2012. This was partly due to the fact that the market covers a wide range of end use sectors and has a high proportion of work in RMI, insulating it somewhat from the effects of downturns in new building activity. A key area of growth in recent years has been installations aimed at improving energy efficiency and reducing carbon emissions, driven by legislative requirements and building regulations. There has been a rapid expansion in the range of LED lighting products on the market, and with increasingly sophisticated control systems for both heating and lighting, this has been the major growth area in demand for electrical products. ‘Profit margins, which had been significantly squeezed, have shown some signs of recovery from 2014 onwards, suggesting that the practice of submitting tenders at, or below, cost price in order to secure work may be dropping off,’ said Fiona Watts of AMA Research. ‘However, some firms continue to make losses while loss making contracts are completed.’ Competition remains fierce among contractors, with some larger players continuing to seek growth, gain access to new markets and expand the range of services they offer, through acquisitions. There has been an increase in the entry of small businesses into the market, which, in light of falling levels of employment overall, may indicate that some workers in the sector who were previously employees have opted to become self-employed. Future prospects for the sector are moderately positive, with the electrical contracting market expected to show growth of around 2-3 per cent per annum over the next few years. This depends largely on the performance of the non-domestic and domestic construction sectors, but business confidence remains good among electrical contractors, despite the uncertainty around a likely Brexit within the next 2-4 years. Growth in the future is also likely to be motivated by legislation around carbon reduction, and renewable energy in particular, with a shift to LED lighting, increased modular product usage and greater use of controls which will have a positive impact on the market. The ‘Electrical Contractors Market Report – UK 2017-2021 Analysis’ report is published by AMA Research, a leading provider of market research and consultancy services with over 25 years’ experience in the construction and home improvement markets. The report is available now and can be ordered online at www.amaresearch.co.uk. 8 | April 2017