This month we bring a stack of positive news across the industry as tulips, giant cranes and growth make the main headlines. That’s right, you might be scratching your head right now but rest assured that we are still talking about the construction industry! Keep reading to get the latest news, highlights and figures…
Tulip Set to Grace London Cityscape
There’s already a Shard, a Walkie-Talkie, a Cheesegrater and a Gherkin, and the architects Foster and Partners have put in planning permission for a new tower to join the picturesque cityscape.
Dubbed the Tulip, the building will be an astonishing 1,000 ft (305m) tall making it the second tallest building in the City of London. With a shaft at 47ft wide (14.3m), the skyscraper will have a “soft bud-like form” and “minimal building footprint” providing “a cultural and social landmark” to complement the neighbouring and iconic Gherkin, which the firm also designed.
Due to be completed in 2025, this attraction will feature viewing areas, slides, bars and restaurants across 12 floors and a glass bridge to walk along. Visitors will also be able to ride in gondola pods which will revolve slowly around the outside of the Tulip’s glass petals, providing panoramic views across London and its iconic landmarks.
GiantCrane Heading for Hinkley
Belgian heavy lifting specialist, Sarens, has unveiled the SGC-250 (Sarens Giant Crane-250), the world’s biggest crane designed to lift and install heavy materials. The crane is on the move to Hinkley Point C nuclear power project in Somerset on a four-year contract worth £20m.
With the ability to lift an impressive 5,000 tonnes, operate at a height of 250 metres and radius of 275 metres and have a maximum load moment of 250,000 tonne-metres, SGC-250 will lift and install more than 600 pre-fabricated components.
With weights ranging from 50 tonnes to 1,150 tonnes, the giant crane will be doing the heavy-lifting in the project including the five major parts of each nuclear unit’s steel containment liner and dome. Thanks to six kilometres of rail laid on-site, the crane will also be able to travel between three different lift locations without the need for disassembly or re-assembly.
Major Skills Boost on Its Way to The Industry
26 innovative partnerships across the country have won a share of the £22 million Construction Skills Fund to set up new ‘hubs’ designed to train up thousands of workers on live construction sites. Trainees will be able to learn in real-world construction environments and gain the practical skills they need to secure a rewarding career in the industry. The initiative will see training being provided to more than 17,000 people with the aim of being job and site-ready by March 2020.
Education Secretary Damian Hinds stated: “It is vital that we have a strong workforce post-Brexit. The Construction Skills Fund will ensure more people gain the skills they need to forge a successful career and help create the skilled workers we need to deliver on our housing ambitions.”
With an estimated 158,000 new construction workers needed in the UK over the next five years, the new scheme will help create the skills needed to counteract the skill crisis the industry is currently facing.
Construction output grew 2.1% in Q3
Following a weak start to 2018, the construction industry is steadily recuperating output growth. After falling 1.6% during Q1, the industry has since seen an increase of 0.8% in Q2 and, most recently, an increase of 1.7% in September and 2.1% in Q3.
According to the Office for National Statistics, growth in the third quarter of 2018 was driven by all new work which increased by 2.8%, and repair & maintenance which increased by 1.0%. All work combined in September 2018 amounted to £13,995 million – a record high since the monthly records began in January 2010.
On the other side of the coin, the biggest hinderers of construction output in Q3 2018 came from private commercial new work, private housing repair & maintenance, and private industrial new work, which reportedly fell between the second and third quarters. These sectors decreased by £162m, £124m and £60m respectively.