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Contractors World  - UK & Ireland
2012 Vol 2 No 7
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Construction News - Economics - Business - Regulations

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Jiangsu Artall Cultural Industry Co. Ltd. has appointed BDP to design the masterplan, landscaping and architecture for the 32,000 square metre Artall Tiancheng Business Centre in Nanjing. The project will maximise the public spaces in the centre, linking existing buildings with covered walkways and create a 26 floor tower that will provide offices above an art gallery. The project value is RMB 350 million (£35.2 milion).

BDP has also been shortlisted to participate in a paid competition to provide urban design for the 17 square kilometre Qingdao Westcoast Central Business District in Shandong.

Subterra, an internationally recognised developer of utility pipeline rehabilitation systems, has just announced a €180,000 contract for the sale of 20,000 litres of Fast-Line PlusTM to Slovakia. Fast-Line PlusTM is an innovative resin allowing the in-situ lining of potable water pipelines.

In the last year, Subterra has sold more than 150,000 litres of Fast-Line PlusTM to overseas markets. As a result, Subterra is now planning to expand its UK production, including recruiting several more staff and considering new facilities.

ICE Comment on Government ‘Green Deal’

Commenting on Danny Alexander’s announcement that the Green Deal is an early candidate for UK Infrastructure Guarantees scheme and that there are over 30 expressions of interest so far, ICE Director General, Nick Baveystock, said, “When this scheme was announced, we and others across industry voiced concerns around whether the criteria for accessing guarantees were too high to attract applicants.

“The news that there are over 30 expressions of interest so far is positive and we look forward to further updates from Government on which of these projects it will be providing guarantees for. Regular reporting on progress will demonstrate credibility of the scheme and reinforce Government’s commitment to it actually leading to activity on the ground.”


CECA: Contractors Facing Increasingly Bleak Outlook

Contractors have warned that increasingly bleak trading conditions are putting the future of the UK’s infrastructure sector at risk, as pressure from clients pushes companies to the edge.

The news comes following a major survey of infrastructure contractors. Twice a year, the Civil Engineering Contractors Association asks members what the major issues are that are adversely impacting their businesses.

The results from the latest survey showed collapsing workload remains the industry’s biggest concern. Workload shortages were reported as the main concern by 33 per cent of respondents, up from 26 per cent in January 2012.

One survey respondent said: “unless something is done, and done quickly, the number of SMEs who won’t survive is frightening.”

As in January, suicide bidding was reported as the next biggest concern to CECA members, with 17 per cent of firms reporting that rivals were pricing work at unsustainably low margins in order to stay in business.

However, this time it was in equal second position, with the same number of companies reporting poor client practise as a major concern.

This represents a significant jump, up from 6 per cent in January. Contractors say they are being hampered by long delays and bureaucratic procurement. Such approaches merely add to industry costs at a time when margins are under significant pressure.

Commenting, CECA director of external affairs Alasdair Reisner said: “It is no surprise that falling workloads continue to pose the greatest concern reported by members - CECA has been warning for some time that the country is undergoing an ‘infrastructure crunch.’ The most recent CECA Workload Trends Survey showed workloads heading into negative territory once more after two previous quarters of growth.

“Given this strain on the industry it should be of grave concern that the number of members reporting being directly affected by poor client practices in the last six months has increased considerably. It is essential steps are taken to stamp out adversarial practices, and to implement leaner forms of procurement.

“Given the difficulties faced by the sector, CECA also believe the government should act now to boost output through the implementation of shovel-ready repair, maintenance and minor works. This will drive economic growth, delivering rapid improvements to the country’s vital infrastructure networks. It will also help sustain the industry to ensure it is fit to meet demand as the economy gets back on its feet.


CECA Publishes Routemap for Growth

With Parliament set to return from its summer recess, the Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA) has published a major new series of recommendations to solve the UK’s infrastructure crisis.

Infrastructure: the Routemap for Growth is a detailed set of policy proposals, developed in close consultation with CECA’s members, on how the civil engineering sector can help restore the health of the UK economy.

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