Association says new government legislation could cut more than 3,000 construction sector jobs
THE Batched on Site Association (BSA) says up to 3,150 jobs could be lost in the UK construction sector, if new government legislation is introduced. The proposed policy change includes the implementation of a maximum 32-tonne operating weight limit for all volumetric concrete machines, which, says the Association, would significantly impact on operators’ ability to service the industry at current levels.
An industry report published earlier this year by Regeneris Consulting found that the volumetric sector is worth an annual £210 million to the UK economy and creates an estimated 3,150 jobs. The sector currently accounts for approximately 10% of the 21.7 million cubic metre wet concrete market in the UK, and 87% of independent volumetric operators have experienced turnover growth in the past five years, with 93% expecting further growth over the next five years.
Mobile batching plants (MBPs), or ‘volumetrics’, require sophisticated on-board machinery and specially designed chassis that were previously taken into account by the Department for Transport’s regulations, allowing MBPs to operate at 42 tonnes.
The BSA says it is seriously concerned that a 32-tonne weight limit would deeply impact the output of the sector, increasing operating costs, reducing productivity and, ultimately, incurring heavy sector losses and job cuts in predominantly small, privately owned UK businesses.
‘The BSA works in close consultation with the Department for Transport to constantly improve the safety, service and environmental footprint of the sector,’ said Association chairman Chris Smith (pictured). ‘However, we have serious concerns about the Government’s current consideration to reduce the operating weight of these machines to 32 tonnes.
‘This would significantly reduce capabilities to the point of putting the majority of operators out of business, threatening a £210 million sector of the UK economy that has grown even in-spite of the recession, and currently accounts for an estimated 3,150 jobs.’
He added: ‘We welcome the proposal to improve the safety of the sector by implementing mandatory annual tests and routine inspections, something which the BSA’s members have been voluntarily carrying out.’
The Batched on Site Association launched its own Charter in 2014, aimed at ensuring greater standards within the industry and including initiatives such as recommending voluntary roadworthiness testing and regular maintenance inspections, and implementing significant steps to help improve the safety of vulnerable road users, such as requiring BSA members to include underrun bars for the protection of cyclists.