Mark Gillespie, CEO of Recycl8


The importance of reducing the immense CO2 emissions of the concrete industry cannot be overstated. According to the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) Low Carbon Concrete Routemap, in the UK alone, concrete accounts for approximately 1.2% of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, although globally, the cement production GHG emissions associated with the use of concrete could be as high as 4%-5%.

While cement accounts for 10 – 15% of the make-up of concrete, it is responsible for nearly 90% of the CO2 emissions from its production. In the UK alone the annual CO2 emissions of cement production is a staggering * 9 million tonnes.

It’s important to note that there has been real progress in recent times, with overall CO2 emissions down by over a half from 1990 to 2018, so we have certainly made strides in the right direction. Nonetheless it’s clear that all stakeholders within the construction industry must work together if we are to achieve NetZero in the UK by 2050.

The ICE Routemap recommends a number of key measures which all stakeholders within the construction industry should embrace in order to reduce the impact of their operations on climate change. One of these carbon reduction measures is defined as improving how we make concrete: “Concretes that use other cements or constituents outside of current standards will be part of the overall solution to reducing the carbon intensity of the industry.”*

At Recycl8, we are on the cusp of bringing our pioneering contribution to this solution, to market. Our team of industry experts have developed a breakthrough process that repurposes Incinerator Bottom Ash (IBA) – the ash from waste incineration – into a low carbon, high performance solution for concrete manufacture. Our solution reduces the quantity of cement required to make concrete – and therefore the volume of CO2 that is generated in the process, without any sacrifice in strength or quality.

Close collaboration with the Energy-from-Waste and construction industries is crucial to our mission of reducing the carbon footprint of the concrete industry. We are committed to working with industry partners to develop, adapt and scale our sustainable, emission-shrinking solution, making good on our commitment to reducing climate change today, without compromising on the infrastructure required for the successful economies and communities of tomorrow.



* Source: UK GHG Nat. statistics 2021

*Source: ICE Low Carbon Concrete Routemap 2022

In a matter of months, a six-storey apartment block has sprung up in Auckland’s Northcote thanks to a new modular system being piloted by housing agency Kāinga Ora.

The apartments are each made of between two and three pods that are carefully craned into place. It’s precision work, with a man wearing hefty safety gloves helping to guide and click them into place.

The pods or modules are manufactured in Vietnam by TLC Modular and then shipped to Northport in Whangārei before being trucked to the North Shore.

TLC Modular general manager Jeremy Wagon said the company aimed to crane into place between eight and 12 modules each day, and it took two to three modules to make an apartment.

He explained that TLC used a 530-tonne crane and a bespoke module lift consisting of a frame that has cables and clips attached to modules, which weight between 10–22 tonnes.

“It’s like Lego,” he said.

To join the modules up, the gap between them is filled with sealant. The interconnecting plug-and-play wires are hidden in the ceiling.

Wagon estimated it would take about six weeks to install the first 79 apartments, a month to do the remaining fit-out, and another four to six months to finish site works.

He said time savings were found in modular construction because different phases could be worked on concurrently.

“While someone is working on the concrete slab foundations, someone else is working on modules at the same time.”

The first apartments will be finished by October and the rest by January next year. They’ve been marketed for between $550,000 and $935,000 and range in size from 70.8 m² to 127.8 m².

“We use a modular method of construction, but we’re saying that if you walk into the finished product, it won’t look like a lego brick project,” Wagon said.

The apartments contain some futuristic features. The skirting boards, which look like any other white wooden trimming, are ambient heaters that warm up the room.

The development on the corner of Lake Road and Fraser Avenue stretches across two sites, and consists of 183 apartments made up of 525 modules.

Each home comes with its own app. The power points connect to wi-fi and can be remotely switched on and off.

The classic hot water cylinder is gone, in favour of an “instant” system with a heated element that the water runs through.

New homeowners won’t be picking up the keys. The doors have number pads and coded locks, although there will be swipe fobs.

Wagon said the theoretical limit of how high modular buildings could go was down to the strength of the earth it was built on, and regulations.

In Australia construction had stretched 16 floors high, and in New Zealand TLC was already looking into building a 13-floor hotel in Māngere for Holiday Inn.

Kāinga Ora’s development director Rohan Bush​ said the housing agency had been using “off-site manufacturing” for several years, but the new building was a pilot project for “volumetric” modules.

“We’re facilitating the arrival of this new technology. Having TLC working here with local designers and builders is building up the local expertise,” she said.

While the apartments in this development are either for KiwiBuild or the private market, Bush said Kāinga Ora had a target of building 500 to 600 public houses using off-site manufacturing.

“We need to get people into houses faster. If it shaves off months then it’s a huge win.”

Source: Stuff

The grand opening of the Modern Methods of Construction Centre at Stamford College was celebrated among local dignitaries, stakeholders, Inspire Education Group (IEG) staff and Stamford College students, in a ceremony that recognised the wealth of opportunities conceived from the £3.3 million facility.

The 900 sq m upgrade to the College’s existing facilities, which was designed by Waterland Architects and built by Lindum, comes after substantial growth in recent student applications; around fifteen per cent more each year.

Jointly funded by the Greater Lincolnshire LEP and Department for Education Post-16 Capital Funding, the Modern Methods of Construction Centre is now the primary learning facility for over 500 additional plumbing, carpentry, brickwork and electrical installation students, working to bridge the estimated 49,000 person skills shortage within the Eastern region.

Pat Doody, outgoing chair of the Greater Lincolnshire LEP, said:

“The LEP’s £2.1m investment in this scheme recognises the need for a skilled workforce in the construction and engineering sectors, responding to the emerging requirements of modern methods of construction.

“Not only will the project create new opportunities for future students, but it will also meet the needs of local employers, address local and regional skills gaps and directly contribute to local, regional and national economies, enabling an innovative and employer-focused curriculum and accommodating forecast high demand.”

The building itself reflects its responsibility to teach and provide learn­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties that reflect the rapid evo­lu­tion of the construc­tion indus­try through automa­tion, car­bon reduc­tion and the increased use of pre­fab­ri­ca­tion.

56 solar panels were installed on the roof as a source of renewable energy within the College, air-source heat pumps heat the building, and its bricks have been sourced from envi­ron­men­tal­ly friend­ly man­u­fac­tur­ers to ensure the car­bon foot­print of the build­ing is min­imised.

The build will now house six retrofit courses, designed to prepare the construction workforce of the future to meet the UK’s legal­ly bind­ing com­mit­ment to be car­bon neu­tral by 2050.

Source: Business East Midlands Link

James Morris, Technology Journalist

UK Power Grid Could Have First Commercial Fusion Reactor By 2030s

Science fiction writers have been touting fusion as the utopian future energy production technology for decades. After all, it is how the sun works, and that has been outputting energy for 4.6 billion years already, with about 5 billion more to go before it burns out. But while research has been going on apace to make nuclear fusion energy production a reality, so far nobody has achieved “net energy”, where more power is produced than is used to create the reaction. Now TAE Technologies reckons it will get there soon – and the first commercial installation could be in the UK.

“We are the longest standing pure play fusion power company,” says R. David Edelman, Chief Policy & Global Affairs Officer, TAE Technologies. “We were founded in 1998 with one goal in mind – to develop the cleanest, most commercially viable form of fusion energy.” TAE Technologies’ approach is to use boron-11 and hydrogen instead of deuterium-tritium (two isotopes of hydrogen), which is the more common fuel for current fusion reactors, because it is the easiest to fuse.

“One of the challenges that our founders identified was how you turn a reaction like that into a commercially viable power source,” says Edelman. “There are a number of advantages associated with boron-11 that don’t exist with some of the other fuels, specifically that the primary fusion reaction doesn’t produce a load of neutrons.” Although fusion in general doesn’t produce as many neutrons as nuclear fission, these are still very dangerous particles for the human body. “When you deal with neutrons, you deal with a device that is harder to manage, that might have to be replaced, that might need to be scrubbed out, that is harder to have people operate.”

This was why TAE Technologies chose hydrogen and boron-11 as fuel. “You’d have a machine that would be expensive to build in the first instance, but much cheaper to operate and could have a much longer life,” says Edelman. However, this kind of fusion reactor requires much higher temperatures than deuterium-tritium. To solve this problem, TAE Technologies was spun out of the University of California in Irvine, founded by Dr Norman Rostoker, with the help of Michl Binderbauer, who is now CEO.

Their insight was to marry traditional plasma physics with particle physics. Particle accelerators are used to drive and sustain the fusion reaction. This also generates a magnetic field, which contains the reaction, in a process called Field Reverse Configuration (FRC). The temperature of fusion means you can’t use any metal as a container – it would melt. Instead, a magnetic bottle is employed. Most fusion reactors employ external magnets. “Getting atoms to fuse is not the hard part,” says Edelman. “We’ve been doing that for decades. The hard part is keeping that reaction efficient enough to produce more energy out than it takes in. When you have a system like ours that produces its own magnetic field, suddenly you have a shortcut to reducing the amount of power you must put into the device to get exceptional output results.”

So far, TAE Technologies has built five experimental reactors, all based in California. The company is currently building an experimental machine that can exceed 100 million degrees, which is what is required for “net energy”. This is where the reactor outputs more energy than is being put in. “Our last device, called Norman after our founder, was able to get to 70 million degrees, so we are 70% of the way towards meeting that milestone,” says Edelman. “It was only built to get to 50 million degrees, but we were able to keep pushing, so we’re very optimistic. We’ve proven many of the core conditions that will allow us to reach that net energy milestone in a few years with our next device, which is called Copernicus.”

A key factor in TAE Technologies’ reactor is that its boron-11 fuel is both abundant and cheap. “It is in sand, it is in seawater,” says Edelman. “It can be extracted with great ease, and you need comparatively little of it for a fusion reaction. In fact, to power a fusion power plant at a typical scale – 350 to 500 megawatts output – you would only need a few hundred grams of boron for a year of operation.” Checking with science suppliers, at the time of writing Sigma-Aldrich will sell you 5g of Boron-11B oxide for $218, so the fusion fuel costs will be insignificant.

“That’s one of the core advantages because other fuels for fusion, like helium-3 and tritium, are hard to get,” says Edelman. “They involve very complex mining in places that are very hard to mine. Hydrogen, the other element in our reactor, is wildly abundant as well. There is no national monopoly on boron. Many countries have abundant supplies of it.” This contrasts with the radioactive uranium material used by nuclear fission reactors, which is concentrated in certain countries, such as Australia, Kazakhstan, Canada, and Russia. It’s also expensive and dangerous. “We’ve estimated that if the whole world were running on boron fusion power plants, we’d have 100,000-plus years of terrestrial supply before we would even begin to look elsewhere.”

This brings us to the role of the UK. Although TAE Technologies has so far built its reactors in California, the company has developed a strong presence in Britain. “We are one of the largest private fusion employers in the UK,” says Edelman. “We have over 200 people based in the West Midlands that are working on what we call our Power Solutions business. These are both the power supplies that help run our fusion machine, but also our efficient power drive trains and other power efficient power storage solutions that are usable right now for electric vehicles, to make them go further on the same battery chemistry and to make them charge faster.”

These are not necessarily direct fusion technologies, but what Edelman calls “fusion adjacent” – production skills that will smooth integration into a commercial ecosystem. The UK expertise TAE Technologies focuses on includes areas like batteries that can be used for utility scale grid storage for intermittent sources such as wind and solar. However, the UK does have strong fusion expertise as well, such as through the Joint European Taurus (JET) in Culham, Oxfordshire and the Spherical Tokomak for Energy Production (STEP) planned for West Burton on Nottinghamshire.

“The professionals in the British system identified early that there was a need for a distinct regime for fusion power plants and that the UK should be the first country in the world to advance it,” says Edelman. “The UK has exceptional talent in this that can lead to cutting edge and world leading fusion commercial work. The United Kingdom has positioned itself at the front of the pack for the world’s first commercial fusion plant.” This includes STEP, which aims for net energy by the 2040s.

The readily available supply chain in the UK drives costs down for companies developing fusion in the country and has intellectual property benefits as well. “There’s a lot of expensive intellectual property that goes into these devices,” says Edelman. “That means that companies like ours aren’t terribly interested in building them in places like China, and instead we’re interested in building them in places where we know there’s not just the necessary expertise, but also the clear rule of law to protect the core intellectual property that we have.”

This has led TAE Technologies to consider the UK for its first commercial “net energy” fusion reactor, supplying electricity to the grid. “We are looking very seriously to the UK for the first fusion power plant because all the factors we need are there to build at a price that it can start to move the needle for energy independence and net zero,” says Edelman. There are implications that this will be in the West Midlands, where TAE’s other UK interests are. But Edelman remains uncommitted about the location. “Our power supply team is in the West Midlands, but there are a lot of factors that would go into the specific siting of a fusion power plant.”

However, Edelman is more bullish about timeframe – and it will be well ahead of STEP. “We expect to have a first-of-its-kind fusion power plant on the grid early next decade,” he says. “We’re not talking 2040, we’re talking 2030, which means we must start building that plant in the latter part of this decade, so we need to have a location decided sometime mid this decade. We can then start to scale that towards mass production power plants that can be put into operation at full scale and start to bring down the cost of energy from fusion in the middle of the 2030s. That would be just in time to make a significant impact on climate because if your first fusion power plant isn’t in operation till 2045, 2050 is just around the corner.”

“Fusion can offer low impact, zero carbon, effectively limitless energy produced through a triumph of science,” concludes Edelman. “It can do this without the drawbacks of most other sources of energy. You can put fusion power plants where the power is consumed. You don’t need to put a fusion power plant offshore, or where it’s sunny all the time, or on top of a deposit of minerals. It can be put safely inside population centers, which can save the 20% of generated electricity that is lost in long distance transmission. Our kind of fusion power plant can be very compact – just a few hectares. It doesn’t need a large exclusion zone and the risks associated with it are no different than those of any industrial facility. Fusion can make up the yawning gap between the energy we know we need by 2050 and the energy that we know can be produced in low and no carbon ways by 2050.” And that gap could start to narrow in the UK sometime next decade.

Source: Forbes

North West England’s construction industry has expanded significantly in recent years, with new developments and infrastructure projects sprouting up across the region. The demand for specialised tools and equipment, such as wacker plate hire services, is increasing as construction methods evolve and technology advances. This article aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the latest trends and insights in the construction and maintenance sectors, specifically in North West England, as well as to investigate the region’s growing demand for tool hire services.

The Rise of Sustainable Building

Sustainability is no longer merely a buzzword in the construction industry; it has emerged as a critical driver of innovation and growth. The North West region has seen an increase in environmentally friendly construction projects, with contractors and developers increasingly focusing on lowering their environmental footprint. Tool rental companies have begun to offer a variety of energy-efficient and environmentally friendly tools, such as electric wacker plates, battery-operated power tools, and hybrid excavators, in response to this trend.

The Use of Digital Technology

North West England’s construction industry is rapidly adopting digital technologies such as Building Information Modelling (BIM), virtual reality (VR), and drone surveying. Companies can use these technologies to improve project management, streamline communication, and cut costs. To improve the customer experience and optimise operations, tool hire companies have begun to incorporate digital solutions into their services, such as online booking systems and real-time equipment tracking.

A Focus on Safety and Compliance

The importance of safety and regulatory compliance has never been greater than with the increasing complexity of construction projects. To ensure that construction sites maintain high safety standards, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has implemented stringent regulations. Tool rental companies play an important role in this context by providing well-maintained, safe, and compliant equipment. Wacker plate hire services, for example, ensure that compaction equipment is up to date with the latest safety features and guidelines, lowering the risk of accidents and ensuring compliance with HSE regulations.

Modular Construction’s Expansion

Modular construction, which involves the offsite assembly of building components, has grown in popularity in North West England as a result of its cost and time savings. Tool rental companies have responded to this trend by providing a variety of modular construction-specific equipment, such as portable gantry cranes, vacuum lifters, and specialised scaffolding solutions.

The Value of Skilled Labor

The North West England construction industry is facing a growing skills shortage, making it critical for businesses to invest in training and development. Tool rental companies can help bridge this gap by providing comprehensive training programmes on how to use their equipment safely and effectively. A wacker plate hire service, for example, may include operator training and certification, ensuring that workers have the skills needed to operate compaction equipment safely and efficiently.

Brexit’s After Effects

The United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union has increased supply chain scrutiny and a focus on local sourcing. As a result, there is an increasing demand for tool hire services based in the UK that can provide quick and dependable access to a diverse range of construction equipment. This trend has benefited wacker plate hire companies located near project sites in particular, as they can provide quick and convenient access to essential compaction equipment, reducing delays and downtime.

Sustainability, technological advancements, safety concerns, and evolving construction methods are driving significant transformation in the construction and maintenance sectors in North West England. To remain competitive, tool hire companies, particularly those providing specialised services such as wacker plate hire, must adapt to these changes and continuously improve their offerings. By offering a diverse selection of high-quality, safe, and environmentally friendly equipment.

Source: Business Manchester

The rapidly rising prominence of robotics in the construction space means that businesses need to upskill, or risk getting left behind

Construction is going through a huge shift at the moment, as digital innovation in the sector is driving its direction more and more. Robotics is one of the areas of particular interest, as it enables construction companies to implement lean practices, increase efficiency, and reduce waste as they build.

How robotics plays a role in construction

One of the now most prominent examples of robotisation in the construction industry are Robotics Total Stations (RTS) — a semi-autonomous measurement tool that surveyors can use to coordinate distance, measure angles and process data. When the tool has been set up, it can put out a warning when measurement thresholds are met and alleviate the need for a two-person team to gather data. This tool, first introduced by Geodimeter in the early 1990s, is just one example of how robotics has revolutionised the age-old construction industry.


Other more recent examples of highly successful integrations of robotics in construction include the deployment of quadruped robots, like Boston Dynamics’ ‘Spot, the robot, and the use of pre-programmed robotic layout solutions. From being worth $2,450.7m in 2019, the construction robotics market is estimated to grow to  $7,880.3m by 2027.

As robotics become increasingly prevalent in this sector a shift is required, moving construction away from being a trade skills-based industry and towards one where a combination of trade and technical skills are needed.

The need for skill proficiency

As construction robotics becomes more widely used, workers are needed who can manage high-level technical activities and understand the limitations of robotic tools.

The skills increasingly required of construction workers will be the operation and maintenance of robots and the capability to optimise work processes, acknowledging the robot systems’ capabilities and limitations, and identifying any discrepancies that could affect safety and performance. Some workers will also need to be familiar with Building Information Modelling (BIM) solutions and datasets that are used to guide the robots and provide situational intelligence. Most importantly, workers will need to be flexible and able to adapt their roles to new technologies.

Developing and training employees

Upskilling employees to work with construction robots is not necessarily an arduous task, as not all robots are complex. It can start with instruction in the basic robot-operational skills, such as teaching robots to start and stop, and being able to charge and guide them. From there, employees can learn to maintain the robots, and to map and optimise their work taking into consideration site conditions, production rate, operating time and load sizing, before moving on to the more complex aspects of construction robotics.

Once one worker has safely built their skills, they can pass these skills onto the rest of the team, keeping training costs to a minimum. Upon arrival at a site, the most intuitive skills can be taught immediately through demonstration and, with more long-term training requirements, employers can help new and existing employees operate robotics systems safely and adeptly, by implementing in-house training programmes and self-study options.

External training and certification are required for operating some construction machinery and a similar requirement will be required to operate some advanced robotic machines. Employers will be able to leverage AI-based simulation tools to develop competences in high-fidelity scenarios. For instance, when more complicated robotics tools, such as autonomous compactors, excavators and dozers enter the market, certification may be required and simulation training can help employees become used to operating this kind of machinery.

Simulation tools are an exceptionally versatile training method and can be used to teach workers a vast range of skills from robotics in bricklaying to 3D printing and surveillance. In a simulated environment, workers can test cognition, localisation, perception and sensor combinations in real-world scenarios. As employees become increasingly competent with the tools, the simulation systems can be adjusted to replicate conditions that are more hazardous and difficult to navigate. With this approach, workers can safely and efficiently gain experience in steering through complex and dangerous scenarios such as weather conditions, co-ordinating mixed and complex robot fleets, and planning and optimising site conditions.

Adapting with the industry

Construction robotics is a field that’s innovating and evolving fast. Upskilling employees enables construction companies to develop a more competent workforce that is at the forefront of the industry and encourages organisations to remain resilient to change, adapting to new industry developments so the company can grow alongside the sector as a whole. Moreover, companies can use the construction industry’s technological transformation to their advantage to attract the top tech talent required for a digital future.

As the world shifts towards the digital, the construction sector remains no exception. For construction companies today, the only option is to start looking at digital transformation and upskilling options now or risk getting left in the dusk.

By Aviad Almagor,  vice-president, technology innovation at industrial technology company Trimble.

Source: Information Age

Atelier has launched a lending framework to finance residential property developments built with offsite and modular construction techniques, in a bid to address the funding challenges SME developers face with these schemes.

Loans ranging from £5m to £40m, at up to 70% LTGDV, will be made available to SME developers and intermediaries.

The move aims to address the challenges that smaller enterprises face in financing these projects.

The launch comes after the lender completed an industry-wide consultation with the modular and offsite manufacturing community, including real estate professionals and trade bodies such as the National House Building Council (NHBC) and Buildoffsite Property Assurance Scheme (BOPAS).

The business has also created a simple guide for SME developers and intermediaries, providing lending and eligibility criteria where offsite and modular technology is used.

The framework will run alongside the company’s Carbonlite Challenge — the sustainable finance pilot it created to incentivise developers to build greener homes.

Chris Gardner, joint CEO at Atelier (pictured above), commented:

“Everyone agrees offsite construction technology has the potential to transform residential property development.

“But it’s time for that potential to be turned into reality, and that’s why we are determined to help developers build more homes this way.

“We’ve collaborated across the construction industry, incorporating the expertise of more than 30 leaders in offsite technology to give developers, intermediaries and contractors a clear and practical guide to the opportunities and challenges that these new ways of building offer.

“Above all, we’re working to be the lender of choice for developers who decide offsite is right for them.”


Chris Hall, innovation services manager at NHBC, added:

“The potential benefits of offsite construction are clear — consistent build quality, reduced costs and time on site, and strong sustainability credentials.

“More developers are considering these modern methods of construction, and that’s why Atelier’s lending framework is so timely.”

‘A staggering 98% of young women said they wouldn’t choose a career in construction’

The construction industry has been suffering from a skills shortage for some time.

This was worsened by the impact of Brexit, which saw the number of people from Europe working in the sector shrink significantly. A lack of awareness of opportunities amongst young people and those that advise them has also hindered construction businesses’ efforts to recruit the young talent needed to fill the skills gap.

Recent research from economic modeller Lightcast estimated that the industry will need to fill a staggering 250,000 job vacancies between 2022-2027. If these vacancies are not filled, the construction sector is unlikely to be able to reach its full potential. So, what is going on?

Construction work is failing to appeal to younger people

At City & Guilds, the recent “Youth Misspent” research found that only 6% of 18-24-year-olds identified the construction sector as somewhere they would like to work. A staggering 98% of young women said they wouldn’t choose a career in construction.

The main reasons respondents gave were that they lacked the right skills (34%), that they were dissuaded by manual work (35%), and that they felt they lacked the right knowledge about the careers available within the construction sector (28%).

The findings reveal a systemic issue with supplying the construction talent pipeline, particularly from young people. But all is not lost – here are three steps that industry could take to address the challenge and fill the critical skills shortages.

1. Engage with young people via the skills system to provide better opportunities and progression

Apprenticeships, skills bootcamps and T-levels are three initiatives already on offer for employers to help recruit and train young talent, but they are underused. More employers need to invest their time and resources in engaging with these programmes to help foster a new generation of skilled workers.

Closer collaboration between employers, government and learning providers will help to ensure that qualifications and training programmes are refined to meet the needs of the construction sector and provide a long-term solution to skills shortages.

2. Provide more work experience, paid internships or training opportunities, and work with education providers to raise awareness of careers on offer

Work experience is often a core part of the Year 11 curriculum. Approaching schools to offer week-long work experience placements within a construction company will increase accessibility and encourage young people to consider what a career in construction would be like. Additionally, T-levels require substantial work placements that are essential to the course, but many colleges report difficulty in finding enough businesses willing and able to offer them.

These experiences can span the wealth of roles in construction that young people are unlikely to know even exist, from manufacturing to marketing. What they imagine a career is like is often different to its day-to-day reality and experiencing a role first-hand can demystify ideas about the sector and spark an unexpected interest.

By engaging with local schools, colleges and learning centres, employers in the construction sector can influence young people to consider such careers early on in their education. Research has shown that many young people will have made firm decisions about their future from early secondary school age, so it’s essential that employers engage with schools early on to ensure that young people can make informed decisions about their future.

3. Make it easier for young people, especially the most disadvantaged, to access jobs and progress in their careers

Young people without work experience are likely to be unfamiliar with job application processes and can find them intimidating. They may even avoid applying for roles that they are a good fit for, as they might feel they don’t meet the criteria because of that lack of experience.

By widening the application process to focus on attitude and aptitude, young people will feel more empowered to apply for roles and become more comfortable with the idea of learning on the job. This way, they can focus on what personality traits make them a good fit, rather than the construction-specific skills that they cannot be expected to have at such an early stage in life.

Prioritising a good attitude and an appetite for learning in the recruitment process will foster a better view of the construction industry as a place of lifelong learning and promote a healthier workforce that is more accessible for young people.

Employers should also consider where and how roles are advertised, exploring new opportunities to reach underrepresented groups through different kinds of media and engaging directly with those communities. By making it clear that opportunities are open to all through the language used in job adverts, people from underrepresented groups can be encouraged to consider roles they might otherwise dismiss.

Source: The Institute of Mechanical Engineers

Digital processes are transforming construction and introducing new risk considerations. The question is, how should these risks be handled?

As the digital age gains momentum, technology is at the forefront of CEOs’ minds. Indeed, Marsh’s Head of Climate & Sustainability Strategy, Amy Barnes, recently wrote about The risks and rewards of frontier technology.

In 2016, the Farmer Review warned the UK construction industry it would have to “modernise or die”. The 80-page report, written by industry veteran Mark Farmer and commissioned by the UK Government, noted that research and development within the industry was almost non-existent, productivity was low, and cost inflation high. This situation was mirrored in many countries around the world.

In order to modernise and move into the 21st century, the industry has accelerated its uptake of new technologies, including robotics, machine learning and automated planning decisions through digital design. Onsite, hard-hat sensors and driverless vehicles are coming into use, while digital aids such as artificial intelligence (AI), and building information modelling (BIM) are used throughout the duration of a project.

Top tech risks for construction companies

The adoption of new technology can create a wealth of opportunities for construction companies, including improvements in management, information, speed, accuracy, accountability, costs and reduced risk, but it can also bring new risk.

Cyber Risk

New technology often has a cyber element and one of the biggest risks is cyber breaches. It’s estimated that cybercrime costs the UK industry £27 billion a year. Construction output in the UK is more than £110 billion per annum and contributes 7% of GDP, making it a very attractive, wealthy industry to target. As relatively new adoptees to sophisticated technology, construction companies risk leaving themselves at the mercy of a wide range of players, from nefarious state actors intent on disruption or wishing to steal information, to hackers who want to profit by the placement of ransomware and siegeware. Understanding vulnerabilities and installing and maintaining cyber risk protection is imperative.


New technologies being considered by construction companies


Projects procured by the UK Government now require the use of BIM, which offers a central point of building reference in a 3D digital model. BIM software creates a collaborative design and build process that visualises the physical and functional aspects of a building. BIM enables real-time collaboration on a single platform, and is important to contractors of large projects, for both a visual and quantitative model of the build. It is also useful for materials ordering and scheduling. Taking BIM a step further is the digital twin, which creates a digital replica of a finished, functional building.

How to deal with construction technology risks

For companies looking to adopt new technology, risk management is key. Contractors, owners, and developers should work with trusted advisers to ensure all adequate protocols have been adopted in order to identify, analyse, evaluate, and address cyber security threats. This could include outside organisations that are commissioned to discover weaknesses in cyber security systems. These companies engage in activities such as penetration testing designed to find vulnerabilities in a system before an attacker does. It simulates real-world attacks so companies can identify and fix weaknesses before they’re exploited.

Companies also need to speak to their construction broker to review how it will affect risk allocation and insurance, and ensure the risks are covered under their construction insurance policies.

How to gain optimum insurance terms

The construction insurance market has gone through a transition, moving from a market that experienced stable or declining pricing for over a decade, to one in which prices have been rising — though there has been some moderation from 2021. Underwriters will continue to scrutinise each project in detail as the market remains challenging, seeking detailed risk information for in-depth review.

This is why it is important to engage early with a broker who has expertise in both construction and in wider specialties, including cyber risks, and has the capabilities to respond to the challenging economic and business risks faced by contractors, developers, and owners. With their specific technical and market knowledge, and close relationships with underwriters, experienced brokers are able to expertly navigate periods of tightening insurance markets. Early engagement will ensure the contractual structure reflects the optimal insurance programme design and enable sufficient time to negotiate terms.


Source: Marsh