Weekly News Bulletin – 4th May 2018

A comment in this week’s The Times stated that the apprentice levy is not a sufficient solution to training engineers. Since being introduced in 2016, the apprentice levy has come under criticism because it is seen as another tax on smaller businesses, rather than helping to bridge the skills gaps as it was initially intended. Manufacturers are calling on ministers to make reforms to the scheme to ensure that the funding will be enough to cover the high-level skills training required by many in the construction industry. Do you currently employ an apprentice and what are your thoughts on the apprentice levy?

FX Street reported that the UK manufacturing PMI (Purchasing Managers’ Index) has dropped to a 17-month low in the month of April. According to data from Markit, revealed on Tuesday, reasons behind the fall in PMI include slower growth of output and inflationary pressures. What are your thoughts? Have you noticed a slowdown in output?

We shared a thought-leadership piece from our sales director for Framing, on the importance of site visits. If you want to understand more about the important role site visits play in a successful build, and why we not only encourage site visits, but also assistance and training, then we recommend reading it.

In similar news, The Construction Index revealed how the construction industry has seen a modest recovery since the poor weather at the beginning of the year. The monthly survey conducted by HIS Markit/CIPS noted that residential work grew at its strongest rate since May 2017, but also saw that supply chain pressures remain. These low stocks and shortages of transport capacity can result in longer delivery times for materials, which can make it difficult to gauge the underlying momentum in the sector. The Construction Index also noted that commercial building and civil engineering work is only rising marginally, which could be due to heightened economic uncertainty. Are you seeing a pause on construction projects?

Finally, we shared an interesting piece on the rise of ‘software cities’, where technology is changing how we sculpt our population centres. We would recommend reading this piece to gain further insight into the tools available and the potential benefits of embracing advanced technology. Here at Metsec, we are passionate about using BIM Level 2 to visually represent a construction project right at the beginning of a project. This ensures that before physical construction begins, all of the stakeholders are aware of costs and implications of the materials they are using. What are your thoughts on using technology and software as part of the design, construction and implementation process?

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Apprentice levy is not enough to train an engineer, say bosses

Manufacturers will call on ministers today to make fundamental reforms to the government’s apprenticeship scheme, accusing it of failing to cover the cost of high-level skills training.


UK manufacturing PMI drops to 17-month lows of 53.9 in April, a big miss

The manufacturing sector activity in the UK economy eased more-than-expected in the month of April, missing market expectations, the latest data from Markit revealed on Tuesday.


The Importance of Site Visits

There are several elements that contribute to a successful build; products, materials, people and design to name a few. While training and development are hailed as important foundations for a smooth-running project, there are other factors to consider that play a critical role in the success of an installation.


April sees modest recovery after melting snow

The monthly survey of construction purchasing managers indicates an ‘underwhelming’ recovery in construction output following the weather-related disruptions in March.


The rise of software cities

The technology we use is changing the way we sculpt our cities. Peter Debney of Oasys considers how software has been used in the planning process of city spaces