Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Construction skills shortage gets worse, warns FMB (UK)

The Federation of Master Builders (FMB) warns that the skills shortage in the construction sector has got worse. The FMEs State of Trade Survey for Q4 2016 shows that:

  • Almost half of construction SMEs are reporting difficulties hiring roofers 
  • Shortages of plasters and electricians are at their highest point in four years
  • The SME construction sector has experienced 15 consecutive quarters of growth
They argue that the growing skills deficit is pushing up costs for small firms and adding to the pressure of soaring material prices caused by the weak pound. 

Monday, January 23, 2017

Secondment News

Neil Smith (Computors) is currently on a two week secondment to the University of Wolverhampton (UniWolvs). The aim of Neil's secondment is to focus on getting calculation results out of the RiMaCon software prototype. He will create a model with some Key Risk Indicators (KRIs) and Risk Factors (RFs) and apply the calculations to other existing or new models within the database. 

Meanwhile, Chike Oduoza (UniWolvs) will be on secondment to Computors between Monday 23rd January and Friday 27th January. He will work with the LEAR from Computors to update on the progress of WP4 and WP5 as well as make plans for the completion of the project. 

Craig Smith (Computors) recently completed his latest secondment to the University of West Bohemia (UoWB) having finished a two-week secondment on Friday 20th January. The focus of Craig's work while in the Czech Republic was on the user interface of the RiMaCon software prototype. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Reversing the decline of small housebuilders: Reinvigorating entrepreneurialism and building more homes

The Home Builders Federation has recently produced a report detailing the barriers in which SME house builders face in developing housing. Some of the key facts outlined in the report are:

  • In 1988 SMEs were responsible for 4 in 10 new build homes compared with just 12% today
  • Delay and risk during the planning stage has influenced lender attitudes to house building meaning that terms SMEs borrow on are restricting growth opportunities
  • Between 2007-2009, one third of small companies ceased building homes
  • Returning to the number of home builders operational in 2007 could help boost housing supply by 25,000 homes per year
  • Measure to remove blockages in the planning system, reduce red tape and bring about fairer finance for SMEs would enable more companies to realise their ambitions, reinvigorating the entrepreneurial spirit of previous decades

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

How can you improve your safety?

An article by JELF Group lists 8 ways in which safety in the construction sector can be improved:
  1. Ensure equipment has been correctly assembled and installed*
  2. Make sure that all equipment is properly maintained and regularly checked*
  3. Avoid working at height where possible and find ways of decreasing it*
  4. Keep all walkways, stairs, and work areas clear of debris and obstructions*
  5. Make sure that all materials are stored away safely*
  6. Provide staff with protective equipment and make sure they can use it correctly*
  7. Ensure all employees are appropriately trained
  8. Ensure all workplace tasks are risk assessed

Sources: 
*Zywave Risk Insights: Construction Site Safety Inspections

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

How risk management can save your business

An article on 'mybusiness' (Australia) discusses the importance of small business owners devising a Plan B in case things go wrong. They explore some risks that are commonly faced by SMEs, the ways that businesses can benefit from this kind of foresight and how to keep businesses functioning should disaster happen.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Green light for construction of thousands of new Starter Homes (UK)

2017 will see the first Starter Homes being built on brownfield sites across the country, Housing Minister Gavin Barwell has confirmed.
Thousands of new homes backed with financial support will help more first time buyers into home ownership.
They will be built exclusively for first-time buyers between 23 and 40 years old at a discount of at least 20% below market value. 
Central to this will be getting small and medium-sized (SME) builders delivering more new homes. For instance, the announcement of 14 ‘garden villages’ and more garden towns needs to be backed up by implementation plans which provide opportunities to SME builders as well as the large companies, said Housing Minister Gavin Barwell.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

New Year, New Secondments!

Members of the RiMaCon secondment would like to wish everyone a Happy New Year!

As we go into 2017 several secondments will shortly take place. Craig Smith (Computors) will travel to the University of West Bohemia in Pilsen, Daniele Pretto (Vetto) will travel to the University of Wolverhampton, and Chike Oduoza (University of Wolverhampton) will travel to Computors in Wolverhampton to undertake their next RiMaCon secondments. 

The focus of the work will be on finalising work package 4 and looking ahead to requirements for work package 5.