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Daily Archives: September 6, 2021

ISG starts work on electric car battery gigaplant

ISG has started enabling works this morning on a battery gigaplant for manufacturer Britishvolt in Cambois, Northumberland.

Sources estimate the 2.7m sq ft factory project, which has been designed by Italian architect Pininfarina, could be worth approaching £300m.

Richard McDonell, Britishvolt Project Director, said: “Today is a historic day as it marks the start of construction on the UK’s premier Gigaplant, Britishvolt – a landmark event for UK manufacturing and the automotive industry on the road to zero.

“It is a pleasure to see our tier one construction partner ISG, and its world-class workforce, commence preliminary works on site ahead of the main construction programme, which we anticipate will start in late autumn/early winter.

“This initial phase will see the site cleared and preparatory work carried out for the services and infrastructure that will support construction activity.”

Main construction work will see more than 2,500 people involved in the project.

Peter Millett, High Tech Managing Director for ISG’s Engineering Services business said: “The positive momentum, passion and sense of genuine excitement that underpins this nationally important project is driving the entire team forward at pace, and this significant construction milestone demonstrates our collective commitment to UK manufacturing and to supporting communities across Northumberland.

“This is the starting point for the transformation of a disused site in Cambois with a legacy in the industrial past, that from today will become a beacon for innovation and advanced manufacturing right here in the North East.”

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C Spencer runs up loss after revenue drops 30%

Hull-based multi-engineering contractor C Spencer Engineering Group has recorded a loss for the fourth year running after revenue plunged 30% to £46m.

The business suffered a £1.7m loss in the year to April 2021 as a result of the pandemic.

But a post year-end contract dispute settlement for £3.8m for unpaid works gave the business a major boost in funds enhancing working capital.

The successful outcome of the legal case believed to be with MW High Tech Projects UK over the Energy Works (Hull) incinerator plant should also release a further £1.25 of cash held as security for bonds on ongoing contracts.

The group entered the new financial year with secured work of £53m and a pipeline of £188m.

Chairman and founder Charlie Spencer said: “While there has been a short term, sharp disruption in activity in 2020 as a result of the Covid 19 pandemic, general market activity is expected to remain positive in all sectors with Government’s committed spending in transportation, particularly the rail sector and the enhancement of existing provision of new rail infrastructure and maintenance providing significant future construction opportunities for the group.

“The structural repair, refurbishment and maintenance of bridges also provides a strong future pipeline of opportunities in a sector where the group has earned an excellent reputation for providing innovative access solutions that provide a competitive advantage.”

He added that the group’s subsidiary Slipform Engineering was undertaking concrete core construction for several high-rise projects throughout the UK with the board expecting significant growth as its market presence develops.

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Labour shortages could last for next two years

Business leaders are warning that labour supply problems could last for up to two years and will not be solved by the end of the furlough scheme.

CBI Director-General Tony Danker called on government to to get a grip on the situation as shortages hit construction and all other industries.

He said: “Labour shortages are biting right across the economy. While the CBI and other economists still predict growth returning to pre-pandemic levels later this year, furlough ending is not the panacea some people think will magically fill labour supply gaps.

“These shortages are already affecting business operations and will have a negative impact on the UK’s economic recovery.

“Other European countries are also experiencing staffing shortages as their economies bounce back. In the UK, many overseas workers left during the pandemic and new immigration rules make replacing those who left more complex.

“Building a more innovative economy – coupled with better training and education – can sustainably improve business performance, wages and living standards. But transformation on this scale requires planning and takes time.

“The Government’s ambition that the UK economy should become more high-skilled and productive is right. But implying that this can be achieved overnight is simply wrong. And a refusal to deploy temporary and targeted interventions to enable economic recovery is self-defeating.


“Using existing levers at the UK’s control – like placing drivers, welders, butchers and bricklayers on the Shortage Occupation List – could make a real difference.

“The Government promised an immigration system that would focus on the skills we need rather than unrestrained access to overseas labour. Yet here we have obvious and short-term skilled need but a system that can’t seem to respond.

“Great economies like great businesses can walk and chew gum. We need short-term fixes to spur recovery and long-term reforms to change our economic model.”

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Builder breaks back in fall from work platform

A building contractor and roofing specialist have been fined after an employee fell five metres from a first-floor extension breaking several vertebrae in his lower back.

Liverpool Magistrates Court heard that on 11 June 2018, Grayton Building Contractors Ltd was undertaking a first-floor extension to a residential bungalow in Aughton. 

An employee was fitting fascia boards and soffits to allow roofers employed by Thomas Dean, who had arrived on site a week early, to commence work.

While stepping across a gap in the incomplete working platform to descend from the roof, the ladder, which was not tied, slipped sideways, causing him to fall. As a result of his injuries he was unable to work for eight weeks.   

An HSE  investigation found that both Grayton Building Contractors Ltd and the roofing contractor Thomas Dean failed to properly plan the work, to assess the risks and to provide appropriate supervision.  Subsequently the work at height equipment selected was not suitable and the work was not carried out safely. 

Grayton Building Contractors Ltd of Southport pleaded guilty to safety breaches and was fined £15,000 and ordered to pay costs of £3,742

Thomas Dean of Merseyside also pleaded guilty and was fined £400 and ordered to pay costs of £3,000.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Andy McGrory said: “The risks from working at height are well known. Those in control of the work have a responsibility to devise safe methods of working, which should include ensuring the use of suitable work equipment and adequate supervision.

“The incident could have easily been prevented with simple precautions including properly planning the work, undertaking a suitable risk assessment and by selecting, erecting and using suitable work at height equipment for the job.”

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