Building and Facilities News is proud to announce that CONSTRUCT has been selected as our Trade Association of the Month.
Established in 1993, CONSTRUCT came about thanks to a group of concrete frame contractors who wanted to elevate their collective voice and promote the use of concrete in the construction industry. We got the chance to speak to Dave Campbell, Trade Association Manager, about CONSTRUCT’s work and how it has supported its members through the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We represent the interests of the concrete structures industry, acting as their voice to government, the supply chain and wider stakeholders,” he explained. “We’re here to ensure the industry’s views are heard and considered in a wider context.
“We support the industry with a range of business services, from advice and research to training and a network for best practice. We also have criteria that each member contractor must meet, which means that those looking for a concrete contractor can trust a CONSTRUCT member to have all the necessary accreditations. Members also must have systems on quality, health and safety, and environmental management, as well as a strong commitment to training. This gives peace of mind to anyone that may wish to use one of our member contractors for their construction project.”
CONSTRUCT is certainly the go-to source for trusted contractors, with members from across the UK representing approximately 80% of all reinforced concrete frames in the country. To support its members and the wider concrete structures industry, CONSTRUCT focuses on three key pillars of support: Health & Safety, Training, and Promoting Concrete.
For Health & Safety, CONSTRUCT brings its members together throughout the year to share best practice and address common problems to help ensure the highest levels of health and safety are maintained across the industry. Its Edge Protection Guidance Document, which will be released in November, provides specific guidance for contractors on how to ensure their continued performance on site and make sure that expensive measures on replacement are not imposed by clients and primary contractors. CONSTRUCT also provides guidance on formwork form-ties to ensure safety on site, and has run numerous courses to help the construction workforce address the prevalent issues of mental health.
“We publish accident stats each year for our members and our work towards improving health and safety. This, coupled with our members’ determination for a safe and healthy workforce, means we have a record of health and safety that we can be proud of, and which is miles ahead of the average for construction,” Dave elaborated.
In addition, CONSTRUCT is working to plug the skills gap and safeguard the future of the industry through the development of new training and qualifications with its members. The organisation has developed four new standards for formwork this year, which are delivered with its formwork supplier member partners, and are recognised by the CITB both in quality and for grant purposes. “We are also in the process of developing a bespoke Temporary Works training programme for the concrete sector, which will complement the Site Safety Plus (SSP) courses offered by CITB, but will provide more specific skills for temporary works in concrete structure projects,” Dave explained. “We also help companies to get a better return on their CITB levy contributions. In the last year, we helped our members get over £60,000 worth of additional funds for training, and we expect to help them get even more back in the coming year.”
CONSTRUCT’s third central pillar is Promoting Concrete, working with the wider concrete supply chain to showcase the possibilities of concrete in construction projects. “At our AGM this year, in collaboration with the Construction Innovation Hub, we discussed how the sector is innovating and standardising its processes in such a way that we are able to claim the same environmental credentials as other materials, such as steel and timber. Over the next year, we’ll be working with the Concrete Centre to support research to back this up and implement a communications campaign to educate designers and specifiers about the benefits of using concrete, from a sustainability, cost and aesthetic perspective.”
With the numerous challenges that have surfaced due to COVID-19, a major focus for CONSTRUCT this year has been creating bespoke guidance for the concrete structures sector to help them through this extraordinary time. Members have benefitted from regular updates that translate the many announcements from government on new measures and the financial support available.
“We really stepped up our lobbying activity this year with significant successes, including securing flexibility for the construction workforce throughout COVID-19 with grace periods for renewals in the CSCS and CPCS card system, which meant operatives were still able to access sites. We have also been involved in meetings with the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) that have helped shape the wider industry response on COVID-19 to government, CITB and the wider supply chain. We’ve even been taking the Construction Minister to task over Zoom! Our collaborative and constructive approach has made us an influential organisation in construction and as part of the UK economy as a whole.”
COVID-19 has also meant CONSTRUCT could not hold its flagship event, CONSTRUCT Day and Awards. This usually brings together over 700 people from across the concrete supply chain to network and celebrate achievements. Due to restrictions on gatherings during the pandemic, the event had to be postponed, but CONSTRUCT is already planning the biggest and best event for 2021. “We’ll be at Tobacco Dock on 1 October 2021, with an industry exhibition, formal lunch, glittering awards ceremony, and lots of entertainment and networking time. With the shock the pandemic brought to the industry, we know that everyone in the sector will be looking to regroup and celebrate the fantastic feats we’ve achieved in the previous 18 months.”
CONSTRUCT has certainly established itself as an influential force in the industry, not least through its exceptional work and member support during an incredibly difficult year. Anyone working in concrete structures in the UK that isn’t already a member is missing a fantastic opportunity to help shape the sector and have access to the most relevant and specific information to make trading easier.
Ready to get involved? Head to the website or get in touch using the details below.