The Break Fast Show #149

In today’s show: Doosan gets tough; who said water and electricity don’t mix?; Terex shows off an impressive jaw line; what if Doctor Who designed an excavator…And we welcome a brand new show sponsor.

All that and more, on The Break Fast Show:

The Break Fast Show #148

In today’s show: We welcome CASE Construction’s Crispin Turner to hopefully reveal more about a Top Secret product launch that is taking place on Thursday this week; we have a pair of exclusives from MB Crusher that are sure to grab your attention; and, as XCMG targets the international market, we ask if the UK could be next on its hit list?

All that and more, on The Break Fast Show.

The Break Fast Show #147

In today’s show: Montabert is set to unveil e new line of hydraulic breakers; we take a look at the construction of one of the largest dams in the world; Liebherr has announced a zero emissions collaboration with energy producer Engie; and we’re announcing a collaboration of our own…..with an online TV channel.

We also look back at a tragedy that occurred two years ago today, robbing two men of their lives and robbing two families of their loved ones.

All that and more, on The Break Fast Show.

Comment – Opportunity could slip through industry’s fingers

It was once said that there are two certainties in life: Death and Taxes. However, I would like to propose a third: A construction skills shortage.

For as long as I have been writing about all things construction and demolition (33 years, since you asked) I have been reporting upon a skills shortage within the sector. It is a shortage that has never gone away; that has never been addressed. Even during periods of recession, companies have struggled to fill vital job roles with suitably qualified personnel.

You can, of course, blame Brexit and the return home of a great many migrant workers to Eastern Europe and beyond. Alternatively, you could blame the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent hokey-cokey that saw us in and out of lockdown (though I do not recall much in the way of shaking it all about). B

But, as I said, the skills shortage is hardly a new invention.

However, if you think it’s bad right now – and, believe me, it is VERY bad indeed – it is about to get a whole lot worse. And our past failure to address that perennial skills shortage could see money slipping through our collective fingers.

It was reported this week that the number of vacancies in the past quarter (37,000+) had hit an all-time high; and all-time high that surpasses the previous high that was recorded in the previous quarter.

That announcement came in the same week that the UK Government announced that it has earmarked a staggering £650 billion to improve the nation’s infrastructure as part of its Infrastructure Pipeline initiative.

If you listened carefully, you might have heard a collective rubbing together of industry hands at the prospect of a £650 billion bonanza in the decade ahead.

However, that sound was mostly drowned out by an equally collective sharp intake of breath. Because the Government’s pronouncement came with the news that the construction sector would require an additional 425,000 additional workers to bring this little lot to fruition. And, just to be clear, that is 425,000 workers EACH YEAR.

Allow me to put that into some context. The HS2 high speed rail project is currently the largest construction contract in the UK and one of the largest in Europe. It is a project that has received Royal Ascent, and it has been the focal point of Boris Johnson’s “build back better” campaign. It has received almost endless levels of publicity and been the subject of an unstoppable flow of positive news placement. It has been used as a beacon; a glimmering lure to attract people into the industry. And it has been comparatively successful in doing so, creating and filling more than 20,000 jobs in just 12 months.

However, the Government’s Infrastructure Pipeline is expected to get underway in just three years’ time. Which means that the sector has to find more than 21 times more new workers than HS2 has managed to secure.

Coincidentally, the news of the need for a veritable deluge of new workers dropped at roughly the same time that the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) looked set to be granted yet another three years in which to levy the industry and to once again fail to deliver sufficient new workers into the sector.

I will set aside my own personal feelings about the CITB, about the fact that it is top-heavy, demonstrably inefficient and barely fit for purpose. That, sadly, is common knowledge.

So, with all that being said, the identifying, attracting, recruiting and training of almost half a million new workers will fall to the industry itself.
The construction (and, by association, demolition) industries will need to make their own luck. And the clock is ticking. We have just three years in which to redraw the public perception of an entire industry sector; changing it from the cold, wet and potentially dangerous Hell-hole it is perceived to be and presenting its true face as a dynamic business filled with endless opportunities and some serious money to be earned.

Experience suggests that there is often a disconnect between what the Government promises and what it actually delivers. There is a very real chance that £650 billion might prove to be as flimsy and as forthcoming as the £350 million weekly post-Brexit cash injection promised – one the side of a bus – to the National Health Service.

The good news is that the industry has just one obstacle to overcome in order to access that potential windfall.

The bad news is that it is an obstacle that has proved insurmountable for at least three decades and probably even longer.

The Weekend Wrap #24

Rye Group goes all in on HVO fuel; Doosan’s transparent bucket technology is a clear winner; Trimble caries out the ultimate test of autonomous equipment control; and we speak to a man who believes the solution to dust control during an explosive demolition event is a man-made, Category 5 hurricane……on wheels.

All that and more, on The Weekend Wrap.

BONUS – The Big Brew

For the past few weeks on the Friday episode of our Break Fast Show, we have been opening up the airwaves for an after-party designed to give our audience an opportunity to join me on the show live.

Now normally, the contents of the after party is just some random chat. But today’s show was different.

On today’s show, I was joined by Rich Woods from Band of Builders, a charitable organisation that is now turning its attention to combatting the scourge of mental health issues that are impacting the UK construction industry.

Rich’s contribution was insightful and thought-provoking. And his message and the message behind the Band of Builders’ Big Brew initiative needs to be shared.

The Break Fast Show #146

In today’s show: Cawarden is to begin the clean-up operation on the site of a partial collapse in Wrexham; Komatsu used the MINExpo show to lay out its vision for a hybrid future; we look at the growing trend of collaboration between OEMs and major customers in the development of zero emissions equipment; and we bring you the ultimate test for autonomous machine operation.

All that and more, on The Break Fast Show.

Cawarden clean-up to commence

Equipment from the Cawarden Demolition fleet is expected to arrive on the site of a partial collapse in Wrexham today to begin the clean-up operation and to make safe the remaining structures.

DemolitionNews understands that a three-man strip-out team had just left the building when it partially collapsed. No-one was injured in the collapse.

The strip-out gang was not directly employed by Cawarden, which is acting as the demolition contractor on the project. DemolitionNews further understands that at least two of the three men were not CCDO qualified.

It is our understanding that William Crooks – the current president of the National Federation of Demolition Contractors – is working with the main contractor, the local authority and the Health and Safety Executive to establish the precise cause of the unplanned collapse.

The Break Fast Show #145

In today’s show: An industry icon learns a new trick; Engcon and Takeuchi tighten their bond; ALLU looks East; Peter Haddock reports from the Let;s Recycle exhibition; we’re looking ahead to a MASSIVE product launch from CASE Construction Equipment next week; and we’re bringing you the site boot video you didn’t know you needed.

And don’t forget – You can register for the CASE virtual launch here.

All that and more on The Break Fast Show.

Combatting dust with a man-made hurricane…on wheels!

Steve Wolf is a movie special effects expert who spent the formative part of his career blowing things up and lighting buildings, cars and people on fire.

As a result, he has learned a lot about extinguishing those blazes; and he has recently been using that knowledge to tackle the wildfires in his native America.

But he is now turning his attention to the issue of controlling dust from explosive demolition events. And his weapon of choice is a man-made Category 5 hurricane…on wheels.

Check out this exclusive interview: