Potted History of 2021 in Construction
Happy New Year everyone, from us all at EMS!
UK Construction industry kicked off 2021 in lockdown which shortly ended at the same time materials shortages started due to the result of Brexit and no lorry drivers with record materials price rises. A container vessel getting stuck in the Suez Canal in March made headlines and worsened the crisis and global factories that had been closed down during the pandemic tried to catch up. Materials shortages were to plague the entire year and they are not over yet.
HS2 continued to be built except for the Leeds leg which was cancelled.
Construction won the dubious title of more insolvencies than in any other sector – 17% of all insolvencies were construction companies.
Infrastructure stayed strongest of all and sustainable / green solutions were top of pages & minds in the preparation & post COP26, whatever your opinion of the organising job or lack of it. However, the value of major projects has dropped 75% since September.
Highways England became National Highways and the filling in of old bridges with concrete got under a lot of people’s skin.
The Building Safety Bill got passed in July with the establishment of a new Building Safety Regulator and the Fire Safety Act 2021 and the National Digital Twin Programme launched a simulation app. We can’t wait to see what 2022 has in store for us!
HS2 Tunnel Boring Machines Arrive
The first 2 of 6 HS2 Herrenknecht German tunnel boring machines have arrived at Ruislip ready to tunnel the 64 mile journey from London to Birmingham. Weighing 2k tonnes each, the machines will dig 15 metres per day on average, twin bore tunnels eg 2 tunnels in parallel which will each contain a single rail track. It takes 17 people operating 24 hours per day to run the machines at the speed of 15 metres per day and will go as deep as 90m below ground. See the video here. HS2 will link London to the West Midlands and is due to be completed between 2029 & 2032.
Internet Connectivity for New, Temporary and Challenging locations…
For new, temporary and challenging locations why not consider the EMS i-MO OptiBond solution? Delivers fast / resilient aggregated 4G and / or fixed line services to site in days. Delivers fast no-fail internet instantly. The system is widely used on difficult to serve and new commercial and infrastructure projects. See www.ems-imo.com
Network Rail to spend £3bn over 10 years on 2 new signalling & track partners
Southern Region will spend £3bn over 10 years in a change to the way renewals are delivered to more modern methods of working. 45% of spend will be on Buildings and civils and is already out to tender, more info here.
Sensat digital twin used by British Land to map Canada Water site
The 20-hectare site was mapped using drones with the data processed to create a digital visual representation of the site which will be a new town centre in Rotherhithe encompassing 4,500 new homes & 35,000 square metres of retail space. The map combines comprehensive information on existing assets including utilities & survey data for accelerated smart planning including visualising the site remotely, aiding decision-making and contingency planning. Pretty cool! More info here.
Award-winning wearable technology
North London Heat and Power Project deployed beable® Wearable to keep workers safe and productive; it facilitates physical distancing as well as interaction tracking. Co-developed by Electronic Media Services and COMIT Projects and funded by Innovate UK, the new technology has been well received and plans to further rollout with greater functionality are underway.
Free Circular Economy Webinar: 11am on 3rd February
Construction News is hosting a webinar on 3 February at 11am with Westgate to hear perspectives from across the industry and dig deeper into the sustainability of construction products. Sign up free.