The Construction Industry Training Board has issued a serious warning to the UK constructor sector, reminding them that it faces a skills "time bomb" if it fails to find new workers before potentially 400,000 people retire in the next five to ten years.

The new labour market research, published by the Office of National Statistics, breaks the information collected down into the following main points:

  • 19% of UK construction workers aged 55+ (equivalent of 406,000 people) are set to retire in the next five to ten years
  • 24% of workers aged 45-54 (518,000) will then subsequently be retiring in the next ten to twenty years
  • 37% of the UK construction workforce is self-employed, and 23% (182,800) of those are also set to retire in five to ten years

With these huge numbers in mind, the research also noted which areas would be affected more than others. The East Midlands and South West would particularly suffer, with 22% of workers (that's 31,900 and 39,500 for each place respectively) set to leave. On the other hand Greater London, which holds the largest number of construction workers in the UK at 318,000 people, is estimated to not take the hit quite so hard. There only 12% (38,500) are expected to leave. Meanwhile in Scotland and Wales, the number is set to be similar to the total number of people retiring in the North East and South West of England - which is round about 56,000 people.

When you consider all of this, its unsurprising that UK construction was found to have a higher age profile than many other UK industries (19% are set to retire in comparison to the rest's 17%). To combat this, the CITB is encouraging employers to look at recruiting more and more young people, many of whom will have only just received their GCSE or A-Level results and be considering their next steps.

CITB Interim Chief Executive William Burton said: "Almost one in five workers are set to retire from the construction industry over the next five to ten years, so not taking action now to encourage young people to join the industry or invest in the training to up-skill our existing workforce, is no longer an option. The construction sector is essential for growth and, to avoid the similar skills crisis that affected the industry in the early 1990s, we urge employers to act now."

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If you've just finished school and looking for a more physical alternative to office work or college/university, have you considered a career in the construction industry? With demand constantly growing for young skilled workers, you're unlikely to find yourself short of work and doing a job with plenty of variety. But first you'll need the right qualifications, which you can find on an Access Academies professional training course. At our state-of-the-art Cardiff training centre you can find bricklaying, plastering, carpentry and tiling training all under one roof, complete with experienced tutors and the qualifications you need to make it in the industry. To find out more and book your place just give our advisers a call on 0800 345 7492.

Construction sites across the UK will be open to the public for viewing this weekend as part of the UK Contractor's Group (UKCG)'s second Open Doors Weekend.

So far more than 3,000 people have signed up for the event, which takes place on Friday and Saturday. At the sites they will be given a closer look at what takes place on a building site, as well as learn of the things that go on behind the scenes. A wide range of different projects are open, including Hotel Football at Old Trafford, a Technology Centre where new contruction techniques are tested and one creating new lanes on the M25.

UKCG Director Stephen Ratcliffe said: "With Open Doors just a few days away we are pleased so many people are taking part.

"In particular, construction needs more young people entering our industry, and the weekend is an opportunity to tell the story of what a career in a modern and vibrant construction industry looks like.

"It is not about 'dirt and bricks', but an industry that is at the forefront of innovation, new technologies and creating iconic projects."

To find out more about the Open Doors Weekend and book your place, visit the official website at www.opendoorsweekend.co.uk.

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Are you looking to switch careers and join the construction industry as a carpenter, bricklayer, plasterer, tiler or decorator? Not sure where you can get the qualifications to join this exciting, challenging and rewarding sector? An Access Academies training course could change your life. With the help of our expert teaching staff, you'll work through an intensive construction course that gets you the required qualifications to become a professional tradesman. To find out more, have a look at the courses pages on this website or contact us on 0800 345 7492.

Yesterday it was announced that the Welsh Government has issued new procurement guidance to allow public sector bodies to exclude contractors known to be using blacklists from bidding for contracts.

Welsh Finance Minister Jane Hutt said: "The use of blacklists is wholly unacceptable and I fully sympathise with the individuals and their families who have suffered a terrible injustice as a consequence of contractors engaging in this practice.

“Procurement is an important part of the overall policy toolkit of the Welsh Government.  Under no circumstances is it acceptable for any business in receipt of public procurement expenditure to use blacklists. I am determined to take action in Wales. I trust that other Governments in the UK will take similar action if they have not already done so."

The ban will supposedly only cover firms found to be still operating blacklists. Contractors involved the construction trade’s infamous blacklist scandal will still be able to bid for Welsh work provided they have apologised publicly.

Andy Richards, secretary for Unite Wales, added: “The Welsh government’s action to rid Wales of the scourge of blacklisting by ensuring that those who practice blacklisting do not benefit from public contracts is to be commended.  

We look forward to working with the Welsh government to put this policy into practice and urge other governments across the UK to follow suit in bringing in tougher laws to call time on blacklisting everywhere.”

Via Construction Enquirer

Today The Construction Enquirer have put up a news story concerning the outcome of a Bolton building firm's court case whose scaffolding was deemed to present a risk to the crew.

The firm, R Hamer Ltd, was prosecuted after a member of the public reported the work to the Health & Safety executive. Two workers had been spotted replacing guttering during high winds on what appeared to be unsafe scaffolding, and when an inspector arrive he found the men using two "badly-erected" towers with an unsecured board being used as walkway between them. 

The court was told there was also no edge protection on the scaffolding, such as handrails or toe boards, and the workers were not using harnesses to prevent them being injured in a fall. One of the men was also seen climbing down the outside of the scaffolding rather than using an access ladder. The firm received a 12-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay £562 in prosecution costs, which is a rather leniant sentence for something that could have endangered lives.

This news story reminded me of a tweet I had seen earlier last week from @DIYDoctor, which I've shared below:

Falling from heights is one of the biggest causes of workplace death in the construction industry, and can easily be avoided by using safe and secure scaffolding. If you see a construction firm not taking the right precautions, you should report them to the HSE before an accident can happen. Likewise if you're doing a bit of exterior DIY don't think you can just get away with precariously balancing on the roof and a carefully laid out piece of wood like the man above. Otherwise that little job could end up costing you your life.

New Government figures from the Department for Communities and Local Government have shown an impressive surge in house building between April and June this year.

The statistics show that during this period there were a total of 29,510 new homes started - 6% highter than the previous quarter, and a third higher than the same time last year. Seasonally adjusted private enterprise completions increased by 11%.

This growth in the construction sector has been attribued to the wide range of government measures currently in play, which have also led to the hightest number of first-time buyers and lowest level of repossessions since 2007.  These include;

  • New housing supply at its highest level since 2008, with a total 334,000 new homes built in England over the past 3 years
  • Over 150,000 new affordable homes built over the past 3 years thanks to the wide range of affordable housing programmes, including £19.5 billion of public and private investment over this Spending Review, and over £22 billion investment in the 3 years after that.
  • Interest rates kept low thanks to government action to tackle the deficit inherited from the last administration.
  • Over 10,000 reservations for newly-built homes in just the first 4 months of the government’s Help to Buy: Equity Loan scheme.
  • The Funding for Lending scheme, which has increased the availability of competitively priced mortgages.

Communities Minister Brandon Lewis said: "Under the last administration, housebuilding fell to its lowest peacetime rate since the 1920s. But today’s figures clearly show government action is bringing confidence back into the housing market and getting Britain building again, with starts increasing by a third year-on-year. We’ve already delivered over 330,000 new homes over the past 3 years, and 150,000 affordable homes. There is more to do, but today’s figures reinforce the momentum towards getting Britain building again."

Of course these houses are going to need a lot of work done of them before they're inhabitable, and this is where you come in. The market is going to need electricians, plumbers, gas engineers, bricklayers, plasterers, carpenters, tilers and decorators - and if you've every considered entering one of the trades, an Access Training course is all you need to do it. We get you the necessary qualifications to enter your chosen trade and start your journey to a career filled with success and variety. To find out more call us on 0800 345 7492 today.

The Construction Industry Training Board has warned that the industry needs to put more focus on the recruitment and training of young people, after recent statistics revealed some alarming facts about the average age of Britain's construction workforce.

According to the Office of National Statistics, 19% of UK construction workers are aged 55 and over. A further 24% (518,000 people) are aged between 45 and 54. They estimate that these statistics mean at least 406,000 people will need to be replaced over the next 10 years if the labour force is stay the same size.

CITB’s interim chief executive William Burton said: “Almost one in five workers is set to retire from the construction industry over the next 5-10 years, so not taking action now to encourage young people to join the industry – and investing in the training to up-skill our existing workforce – is no longer an option. The construction sector is essential for local and national economic growth and to avoid the similar skills crisis that affected the industry in the early 1990s, we urge employers to act now.”

While more young people undoubtedly need to be adopted into the industry, these age groups show that its also never too late to join the world of construction. You could be 18, 25, 35 or older and the choice to change careers into construction could still prove a refreshing and liberating experience. If you would like to find out more about how you can join thus rewarding line of work that's constantly on the lookout for new people, give Access Training a call. We provide a wide range of construction training courses for people of all ages and backgrounds, giving you the qualifications needed to enter at a professional level. Give us a call on 0800 345 7492 and we'll be happy to tell you more.

Source: The Construction Index

The British Safety Council has warned construction employers to take extra care with any young people they might hire over the summer, as statistics show workers are more likely to be the victim of workplace accidents within the first few months of a new job.

The BSC's chief executive Alex Botha says this risk can be greatly reduced with only a few simple steps, paying great sttention to health and safety practices and promoting safe behaviour in the workplace. Employers also need to establish what the risks are and use the knowledge of experienced staff to work out how to control them and to ensure that young people understand the safety training they are given.

"Vacation jobs are a great way for young people to earn money, get some experience and develop skills but we know they can be particularly vulnerable when they start work. There are many reasons for this: a general lack of work experience; unfamiliarity with the workplace, machinery or work processes; a lack of physical capability to do the job or the confidence to raise concerns; a failure of employers to provide the necessary training and familiarisation."

In addition to this, the BSC has included a page featuring tips on how to work with young people on its website.

Via Builder & Engineer Magazine

 

Proper health & safety knowledge is a vital part of working in the construction industry, as is having the right skillset to get the job done properly. If you're thinking of changing career and entering the construction trade and becoming a carpenter, bricklayer, plasterer, tiler or painter/decorator, have you got all the qualifications you need. At Access Training we offer a wide range of trades training courses to suit all needs, from ones for DIY enthusiasts right up to recognised City & Guilds qualifications. To find out more give us a call on 0800 345 7492.

The Construction Industry Scaffolders Record (CISRS) have announced the introduction of a new, mandatory training scheme for all new entrants to the industry, taking effect from September 1st 2013.

This one day course must be taken before a card will be issues, and will cover;

  • Relevant regulations and codes of practice
  • General responsibilities
  • Basic scaffold terminology (components & application)
  • Servicing of equipment, tube, fittings etc.
  • Boards & stock – quality control
  • Health, welfare, hygiene & housekeeping
  • Electrical safety
  • Fire prevention & control
  • Noise & vibration
  • Work at height
  • Accident prevention & reporting
  • Personal protective equipment
  • Site transport safety (including loading & unloading)
  • Equipment & tools
  • Manual handling (Including a practical element)
  • Lifting equipment using a rope & wheel
  • Questions/test paper.

They will also be required to pass a CITB health, safety and environment test (or possess a recognised exception). Applicants are advised to apply for their card withing two years of their test date or it will expire.

CISRS scaffolding labourers will need to repeat this course every five years to renew their card. Existing cardholders will also be required to complete the course when their current card expires as part of a new CISRS scaffolding labourer refresher training scheme.

Via The Construction Index


Many people think that PVA is okay as a primer on walls and floors before tiling. This is not the case, as traditionally PVA is a multi-purpose product and not specifically formulated to work with tile adhesives.

First of all let’s think back, we all remember PVA – the glue you used in school to paint all over your hand, then see who could peel it back to get the biggest piece off! Peeled off easy? Washed off easy?

When you treat a surface with PVA it only partly soaks in and sits on the surface of the substrate much in the same way as wall paper paste. If PVA gets wet it becomes slightly live again, it doesn’t completely return to its liquid state but it becomes sticky.

When you spread tile adhesive onto a wall, the water in the adhesive makes the PVA live and stops the adhesive from penetrating the substrate and providing a mechanical grip. Basically your tiles, grout and adhesive are being held in place by a thin layer of PVA.

Tile adhesives work by crystallising when it sets. Once the adhesive starts to set crystals form and expand into any imperfections in the substrate (at a microscopic level) to create a grip. PVA stops this process by creating a barrier between the substrate and the tile adhesive. More...


Communities secretary Eric Pickles has announced that the Government is to increase its infrastructure investment by a massive £40 million, in the hopes that it will further attract new businesses and create thousands of local jobs.

At the time of announcement Eric Pickles said: "Enterprise zones are stimulating job creation and economic growth in different parts of the country with their special package of incentives to attractive new business ventures. The government is putting its money where its mouth is and making sure enterprise zones have the buildings and infrastructure they need to make sites ready for business to set up in."

Enterprise zones are areas which have been specifically targeted for economic growth. The polices surrounding them usually offer infrastructure incentives, tax concession and other reduced regulations in order to attract investors and private companies to them. Among the Enterprise zones shortlisted for this fund are areas in Birmingham, Tees Valley, Wirral Waters, Dover, Manchester, Sheffield and more.

Andy Rose, Chief Executive at the Homes and Communities Agency, which is administering the fund, said: "The response from the enterprise zones to this investment opportunity demonstrates just how crucial upfront infrastructure is to development. It is great news that this additional investment means more priority sites can be funded than first thought, creating more jobs in the areas that need them. We will now work with partners to refine the bids and ensure the investment is helping to maximise economic growth in local communities."

The full Government press release can be read HERE.

(Part 1 of this article can be viewed HERE)

Now that we know what causes brickwork to need re-pointing and how to prepare for it, it's time to look at the procedure itself for getting your brickwork back up to scratch!

POINTING PROCEDURE

You will require a hawk to carry the mortar, a pointing trowel and a soft brush

  • Always start at the top of the walling to be pointed and work downwards to prevent dropped mortar marking the cleaned brickwork below.
  • Make sure the joints are clear of any loose old mortar.
  • Load the hawk with mortar flattened to about a 10mm thickness.
  • Using your pointing trowel, pick up small amounts of mortar from the hawk and press firmly into the “perp” joints, (these are the vertical joints). Carefully fill each perp joint using a second filling if necessary.
  • After filling the perp joints start on the bed joints (these are the horizontal joints)
  • Carefully fill each bed joint with a second application if required.
  • After completing an area of approximately one square meter, finish the mortar off with a pointing trowel. **
  • Apply the mortar filling to the rest of the wall.
  • When sufficiently dry, brush off with a fine brush to remove any excess mortar.
** At this stage there are a number of different finishes you could apply, however they require in-depth tutorial that can't be provided from this blog alone. If you would like to find out more, give Access Training a call on 0800 345 7492 for information on our range of bricklaying and construction courses for DIY enthusiasts and professionals alike.

- Richard James

Full story: Trust in tradesmen still a consumer concern

A recent study from Bradstone Assured has shown that concerns about rogue tradesmen still rank as one of the highest consumer concerns when it comes to the construction industry. The poll, taken by 2000 homeowners, found that nearly three quarters of the sample "felt anxious" when dealing with tradesmen they hadn't met before and a total of 60% thought it was difficult to find an honest tradesman.

Among the main consumer concerns were whether the job would be finished in time, being charged more than the original quote and fearing that the builder would go out of business before the work was completed. HOWEVER it also emerged that many customers were not taking the available steps to ensure that they were hiring a genuine tradesman and not one of the "cowboy builders" you so often hear about in the news. Less than a third of people check for professional credentials, only one in four take up references and 70% don’t even know the surname of the person they have employed.

Bradstone Assured spokesman Mike Leeming said: “Our research suggests that falling foul of rogue traders is still a real concern for homeowners. One in 10 even admitted to attempting work they weren’t capable of rather than risk bringing someone in."

So what measures can be taken to ensure a trustworthy tradesman? Professional branding, a good website and offering references up-front were among the things found in the poll to most likely reassure customers. It is important to know some of the professional branding to look for, as it can come from many different places and is all different depending on the tradesman you need. Electricians who have their Part P qualification will be able to join a Competent Person Scheme such as NICEIC, NAPIT or ELECSA - they will usually have these stickers on their van/website and it shouldn't be too hard to look up with these bodies if you were really unsure. Plumbers also have their own Competent Person Schemes, and gas engineers are required to become Gas Safe registered in order to work on gas appliances legally. If you're unsure your engineer is registered - be sure to find out. Only last week a plumber narrowly escaped a jail sentence after carrying out illegal gas work - resulting in an explosion at a home and the owners suffering serious burns.

There is also TrustMark, a sign of quality working across the RMI (repair, maintenance and improvement) sector which recruits reputable and worthy tradesmen. The TrustMark scheme offers a number of checks to give you full peace of mind, and is fully supported by the Government, building industry and various consumer protection groups.

Of course, tradesmen are also required to do their part - from getting the right, reputable qualifications to doing the work to a professional standard. For tradesmen-in-training, all of the courses Access Training offer the qualifications you need to reach the "industry standard" employers look for. You will gain the skills and knowledge you need to be a part of the schemes mentioned earlier, securing you a long and prosperous career in the industry. If you would like to find out more give us a call today.