How will the recession affect the construction industry?

We are now living in a world where the word ‘unprecedented’ is used on a daily basis.  It is commonplace in conversations describing the state of the country, the pandemic, and the economy.  The uncertainty that almost every sector of business has felt since the early part of the year is itself unprecedented, as the pandemic has gripped every corner of the earth.

As lockdown slowed the economy almost to a standstill, we now find ourselves in the midst of a recession. This spells bad news for our construction industry, which was starting to pick up slightly as builders returned to work after they were forced to stay at home for many weeks in the first half of the year.

As the furlough scheme enters its last couple of months, unemployment is set to rise in the aftermath as companies struggle to get back on their feet.  For the construction industry, private housing is set to be the hardest hit, with a 42% contraction in production.  Falling incomes will see consumers unwilling to commit to large purchases, or loan repayments to finance them.  This in turn will slow the demand for house purchasing and large scale home improvements and will prevent them from bouncing back as quickly as other consumer spending areas.

Much of the activity we see now on building sites is largely focussed on building that is already reserved or near to completion.

In the commercial sector, retail is already on its knees. High street and town centre redevelopment are slowing as footfall diminished over lockdown. Although the hospitality sector is striving to get back to normal, online spending has meant the need for high street shopping has decreased.  Office space is no longer the sought after commodity that it once was as British work forces are taking a more flexible approach to home working.

One thing is sure; if the government wants to achieve its target of building 300,000 new homes per year, changes (and a large boost) will be needed.  New campaign group, Housing Diversification, would like to see the Help to Buy scheme extended to include custom and self-build homes, plus investment in more small site work, using smaller building firms where local authorities engage with developers.  This would enable development to grow at a sustainable level as small to medium sized housebuilders tend to build on smaller sites in existing communities.

You can find information on all of our plant hire equipment and machinery here.

City People Want to Escape to the Country Just as Construction Sector Slashes More Jobs

City living has definitely lost its appeal to many living in the capital and other major cities around the UK.  Lockdown has thrown up its own set of problems, and at its peak the Coronavirus left many families unable to get any access to the outdoors, apart from their 1 hour of exercise per day.  With 21% of Londoners having no garden, and rental prices at a premium, it’s no wonder that more urban locations and country living are on the radar of city dwellers.

The trend in relocating is nothing new; the 1665 Great Plague saw those that could afford to, flee London, and even parliament moved to Oxford at the time. And in more recent times, the London bombings in 2005 saw a spike in interest in rural locations. Although these moves have been largely temporary, the post COVID world may be a different place altogether.

Lockdown has proven for many employers that workforces can be just as effective working from home.  Technology has offered tools that have never been available before.  Employers and employees alike have gotten into a rhythm whereby they can attend meetings virtually and produce work from home, rendering the need for office space (and the pricey overhead that goes with it) effectively redundant.

With families having reassessed their wants and needs during lockdown, city living no longer appeals to many of them.  So what will this mean for the housing market in more rural areas?

With a sharp boom in activity within the construction industry as lockdown eased a few weeks ago, housebuilders and developers should be busier than ever.  Sadly, the rate of construction job cuts increased during July despite the industry’s rise in output.

House building was the main growth driver in July, which also saw a sharp rise in construction orders.  But where confidence in the economy has taken a nosedive, clients are declining to commit to new projects.  Construction firms have battled to catch up with pre-Coronavirus projects, but the competition for the purchase of raw materials has resulted in higher costs, the knock on effect being redundancies.

The escape to the country may just be a pipe dream for some, as housing developments could take longer to recover than anticipated.

The true strength of the economy isn’t likely to be known until the end of the furlough scheme in the Autumn.  This may put a different light on the subject for those would-be relocators!

If you would like to get further information on our plant hire services, you can access it here.

Plant Hire Equipment for Domestic and Professional Construction Work in Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire

We all need tools of some kind or another at some time or another!  There may be a construction job at home or in the garden, or you may be a builder needing to hire equipment for a large site job.  If handled correctly, there are few health and safety mishaps involving plant hire equipment, but this is largely due to the maintenance and upkeep of stock held at our premises.

Hospital A&E departments are regularly treating people with injuries sustained at work through the use of power tools, and trips and falls, and a large percentage could be avoided if more care were taken.  Almost half of accidents involving power tools arise from operator misuse.  Therefore, The Health & Safety Executive prioritise the importance of following an appropriate Health & Safety Policy.

As a plant hire company, we ensure that all our plant machinery and equipment is regularly inspected and maintained. Making sure you hire the right machine for your job is paramount; this will make sure your job comes in on time with minimal risk to your safety as well as your budget. We will advise you of the correct machine for use when you enquire. 

We know that plant machinery is very expensive; that is why so many building contractors choose to hire instead of purchasing.  The machinery you use could affect the reputation of your company. That is why our stringent checks of every piece of machinery is so important; our business thrives on repeat custom, and as the saying goes ‘you’re only as good as your last job’.  We want every job to have the desired outcome!

You can find information on all of our Plant Hire services here.

Does The Back To Work Order Create Difficulty For Construction Workers?

As the country now enters its ninth week of lockdown amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the Prime Minister addressed the nation last week, telling us that ‘anyone who can’t work from home, for instance those in construction or manufacturing, should be actively encouraged to go to work.’  Guidance has been published for employers on how they can encourage staff back to work in a safe manner.  One particular document is specifically for ‘Construction and other outdoor work’ which sets out the safe working measures when returning to work on site.

Many sites across the country are reviewing their procedures to stay in line with the safe working rules, but many of their workers are worried as they rely on public transport to travel to work, and government guidelines warn against using public transport where possible.

This is all likely to cause conflict, as aside from public transport issues, social distancing of 2 metres can be difficult to maintain on a building site, particularly where certain jobs require more than 1 person.  With PPE being in such short supply, this too is likely to be a bone of contention between employers and employees.

Employees have a legal right to raise concerns about their health and safety and can refuse to work if they feel that they are at imminent risk of harm, without fear of disciplinary action.  This could, of course, present site managers with a huge challenge; the health and safety of the whole workforce has to be paramount. Those not prepared to take the risk of going back to work, and those who are not adhering to the social distancing rules whilst at work will surely be causing their employers more stress.

One thing is true though; in order for the economy to even begin to recover, all sectors of industry need to be working, whether it be in construction or manufacturing. And whether the current conditions employees are forced to work under will be the ‘new normal’ remains to be seen.

More information about Eynesbury Plant Hire’s services can be found here.

What Coronavirus means for the Construction and Trades Industries

New measures came into force on 23rd March stating that you should only leave home for one of four reasons; shopping for basic essentials and medicine, one form of exercise a day, medical needs or caring for the vulnerable, and travelling to and from work but only where this cannot be done from home.

There are many industries where it is impossible to work from home, and one of these is construction.  In order for our economy to stay buoyant, industry and manufacturing must keep up production, as so many other sectors are closing down for the foreseeable future.

A growing number of construction companies have downed tools in a bit to help stop the spread of the coronavirus, but there still seems to be some confusion about the government’s advice about social distancing, and whether all construction is deemed as essential.

The government has said that work can continue so long as social distancing rules are adhered to. Some argue that a 2 meter distance between people on construction sites is not only difficult to police, but also to maintain.  In the light of this, many house builders have closed their sites amid fears that spreading the virus was a very real danger.

Shortly after lockdown rules had been announced, the Communities and Housing Secretary, Robert Jenrick stated: ”It’s important that we make sure that construction and manufacturing can continue and that seems to me to be the safest way of ensuring that we can maintain appropriate social distancing rules in a way which ensures that people who cannot work from home continue to do so.”

However, not all construction is carried out on large sites.  Many builders have to enter people’s homes in order to carry out their work.  Work on home extensions which involves close contact with the homeowner has been deemed ‘inappropriate’ but reconstructing or building a home where there is no one present is appropriate and can continue.

Government rules also state that ‘No work should be carried out in any household which is isolating or where an individual is being shielded, unless it is to remedy a direct risk to the safety of the household, such as emergency plumbing or repairs, and where the tradesperson is willing to do so. In such cases, Public Health England can provide advice to tradespeople and households.’

In such unprecedented times, it’s impossible to gauge when life might begin to return to normal, but for those whose livelihoods depend on them returning to work it can’t come soon enough. 

For our Plant Hire services page click here.

Replacing Council Housing Stocks – Will There Be A Big Build?

At the end of the First World War in 1918, there was a massive demand for housing in working class towns across the country. In 1919 Parliament passed the Housing Act, headed by Dr Christopher Addison, which promised government subsidies to help finance the building of half a million homes within three years.  Unfortunately only half of this number were completed due to the downturn in the economy.

During the 1920s however, local councils were again subsidised in order to build new housing, and the inter-war Housing Acts saw them build 1.1 million homes ensuring local authorities acquired a healthy housing stock. 

But today, over 1 million people find themselves on council house waiting lists due to The Right to Buy scheme which was initiated in the 1980s.  Housing stocks have fallen drastically as more and more tenants buy their properties at hugely discounted prices.  New homes are rarely built to replace those sold, which leaves a huge gap between waiting lists and available tenancies.

Architect and TV presenter George Clarke started a campaign last year to coincide with the centenary of the Addison Act.  Having grown up on a Council Housing Estate in the north east, he believes that the government are not doing enough to replace the housing stock sold off, and that they should commit to building 100,000 council homes per year over the next 30 years.  His petition has garnered overwhelming support and to date has over 260,000 signatures.

Mr Clarke says: “I’m proud to have been raised on a thriving council estate in the 1970s. My neighbourhood was a fantastic place to grow up and everyone was proud of their council-owned homes. This country’s obsession with home ownership over the last 40 years has created real stigma around rented council housing – and it breaks my heart. I want this country to remember the true value of council housing and restore it to a place of pride.”

The campaign is ongoing and so far no legislation has been passed to force local councils to replace alarmingly depleted reserves of council housing stock. If and when it is, Eynesbury Plant Hire will be ready!

You can sign the petition here.

Tips for Keeping Your Plant Hire Equipment Safe from Theft and Vandalism

Plant hire equipment is expensive, and as well as being sought after by thieves, it can also be subject to vandalism.  Mischief makers think they may know how to operate heavy machinery, and whether they mean to or not, can often damage equipment with repair costs running into thousands of pounds.  The correct safety and security measures should be taken if your hired equipment is to stay safely out of harm’s way.

Because the type of equipment you are hiring can differ in size and value, it is vital to consider your storage options beforehand.  You might have to store your plant hire equipment in an exposed or outdoor location, and damage caused to it through misuse or vandalism could disrupt your project schedule.  Your job could be set back for days on end, costing you money, not to mention the inconvenience!

We have compiled some simple tips to help keep your Plant Hire Equipment protected for the duration of the hire term.

  1. Location, location, location

Make your equipment as difficult as possible to access.  It’s not always practical to keep it out of sight, but if you have site cabins or buildings, these can be an excellent shield to the prying eyes of opportunist thieves or vandals.  If any would-be culprits do enter your site, they’ll have to increase their efforts to move your equipment if it is stored behind materials or other paraphernalia.

  • Take extra security measures

Make arrangements to review your security. The more measures taken, the less likely thieves and vandals will try to enter your site.  Lighting and cameras are relatively inexpensive these days, and if you choose the motion detection kind, they’ll be cheap to operate too.  Be over cautious with your lighting – opportunists rarely take chances in daylight, so make the night-time hours as bright as possible.

  • Fence it

Keeping intruders off your site is imperative if you’re to protect your equipment and other assets.  Good quality fencing will be the first barrier any would-be vandal will encounter, and it may just deter them from trying to enter any further.  You may only have scope for temporary fencing, but that coupled with other security measure should make any trouble makers think it’s not worth the risk.  Temporary fencing could also be installed and locked around any equipment that’s particularly vulnerable to thieves or vandals.

  • Don’t fuel their attempts!

Try not to leave any fuel operated machinery with full tanks.  It’s frustrating enough to lose machinery to either theft or vandalism, but to lose costly fuel too only adds to the bill!  You could use security signs to say that fuel is regularly removed and that none is left on site, to deter thieves further.

  • Track it

If you’re concerned about theft of equipment, then a GPS tracker could put your mind at rest. 

Magnetic GPS trackers are tiny pieces of equipment and are really affordable.  In the event that any of your equipment is stolen, you’ll be able to track it remotely.

Haulage Safety Technology and its Benefits

Haulage is a massive part of our transportation system and with so much traffic on our roads, it’s no wonder that there are so many accidents.  The total number rises year on year, every year.  Statistically, accidents with HGVs are far less common than with cars or bikes, but due to their sheer size and weight, HGV accidents are more likely to be fatal.  A lorry travelling at 50mph could rip through a building, so occupants of a car, van or other vehicle stand very little chance of survival in the event of a collision with an HGV.

Fortunately, even though the number of accidents keeps rising, so do safety standards, making HGV driving safer than ever before.  Technology has progressed at such a pace, that it can now be matched to virtually anything, from microchips being manufactured that are practically invisible, to huge supercomputers capable of performing quadrillions of calculations per second.

For the humble HGV, technology has been developed to help with day to day safety, to protect both the driver and general public.  These safety measures won’t stop fatalities, but there could be a great reduction in the road traffic accidents that HGVs are involved in, therefore reducing the number of HGV accident related deaths.

One such technology is the Lane Departure Warning System; a mechanism designed to keep the vehicle traveling in lane and preventing ‘drifting’.  Using cameras and sensors the device monitors the vehicle’s position on the road and will alert the driver if it goes off course suddenly.

Another is GPS monitoring which allows haulage companies to check the driver and their driving performance throughout the journey of the vehicle.  Careless driving is also detected!

As with some cars, HGVs can be fitted with an Automatic Braking System.  This will automatically activate the vehicle’s braking system when necessary, using crash avoidance technologies such as sensors, cameras and radar.

Here at Eynesbury Plant Hire, the safety of our staff, drivers and the general public is paramount.  You can find out more about us and the haulage services that we offer here.

Choosing the best plant hire and haulage

Our customers require Eynesbury Plant Hire to give them service above and beyond what is considered normal by other companies. They have a zero tolerance policy for failure and of course, often we are called on to work in all weathers at very unsociable hours!

Obviously, it is very important for the customer to source a company that supplies a broad range of equipment so that they are more likely to find the best piece of plant machinery to fit their exact job. You might be staging an outdoor event and require excavators and rollers to prepare an area of ground to erect a stage. Always take professional advice from the hire company as they may be able to suggest an alternative to your initial idea.

Other factors to influence the choice of company should be how long has the company been established. Eynesbury Plant Hire have been established since 1966 and have a client base that stretches back nearly as far! Of course, being established for that long has allowed us to building up a wide range of plant hire services, haulage, plant hire and road sweepers to suit the client’s needs. As all our plant hire services are well maintained, it is unlikely that you will be supplied with a piece of kit that will break down in use.

Our plant hire services fleet is constantly updated to provide the latest in all plant hire equipment. Our team of professionals will talk you through each assignment by offering useful and knowledgeable advice. We aim to partner with you to help you succeed. Every one of our operators are competent and experienced and hold current CPCS cards, and we are CHAS accredited as you would expect.

Our up-to-date and well maintained plant hire is delivered and collected by our own haulage service at your convenience. Once delivered to your chosen site, you can use our CPCS accredited operator, or you can use the plant hire on a self drive basis. We hold full service histories and annual safety check documentation for our entire fleet. Pre and post hire checklists are completed for all plant hire services machinery.

Eynesbury Plant Hire haulage services with its range of vehicles delivers and collects plant to suit our customers’ requirements and we also provide an extensive haulage service to the construction industry, moving plant, site equipment and building materials between construction sites on your behalf. Your transportation needs will be met and you will be assured of the best possible service delivered by our professional, experienced staff. We are able to provide ADR holders when required. We also provide a haulage service for palletised and large non palletised items, including plant, machinery and equipment at competitive rates.

Road Sweepers – making the best choice

Eynesbury Plant Hire have a modern fleet of VT650 Lorry Mounted Road Sweepers which provide consistently high pick up performance on duties including dirt pick up around site and cleaning access roads. The road sweepers have high capacity hoppers, water systems and fuel tanks and are designed to stay at work for longer and deliver superb coverage per hour.

The VT650 Road Sweepers are fitted with the Supawash high pressure water system for fast cleaning of road furniture and the road sweeper itself, via a hose and hand lance. The spray bar and the sweepgear can be used together for high performance cleaning, particularly around building sites or on road laying. To assist with removal of stubborn road debris water can also be diverted to a front mounted full-width spray bar or suction nozzle bars. The road sweepers are fitted with a boom mounted wanderhose which provides access around parked cars, over fences and into drains (up to 2 metre depth).

Road Sweeping is an important part of city maintenance and it is usually the responsibility of the local council. Large trucks travel through the streets to remove garbage and debris, a crucial measure for safe driving, human health, watershed health, and aesthetics. The administering department of the council sets up a schedule to ensure that all of the commercial streets in the city are swept on a regular basis, and frequently also attends to residential districts as well. Street sweeping works to keep cities around the world healthier and cleaner.

Should you be are looking for a road sweeper hire company that is based in Cambridge, Eynesbury Plant Hire are experts – your road sweeping needs will be met and you will be assured of the best possible service delivered by our professional, experienced staff. Eynesbury Plant Hire are totally committed to outstanding service, quality and competitive pricing on contract haulage, express transport and distribution service.