Read the Latest News on Cptpp’s Impact on UK Buildings, Hs2 Building, Laing O’rourke Mandates Low-Carbon Concrete, Wellbeing and Mental Health for Other Construction Benefits, and Leading Construction and Demolition Waste Hauler

In today’s news, we will look into the gaining of an understanding of the CPTPP and what it can mean for the UK construction industry. Meanwhile, is it still financially viable to construct HS2 in light of all the cuts and delays imposed by the UK government? On the other hand, Laing O’Rourke is the first construction company in the United Kingdom to mandate the use of low-carbon concrete. Furthermore, when it comes to construction, putting an emphasis on wellness and mental health will unleash other benefits. Moreover, the industry’s foremost waste processor for construction and demolition has been acquired by Aggregate Industries.

Understanding CPTPP’s impact on UK building

Original Source: Understanding the CPTPP and what it could do for UK construction

What does the UK’s recent CPTPP membership entail for the building industry?

Current CPTPP members supported the UK’s proposal to join the Indo-Pacific trade agreement.

To access the trade deal, formal ratification will occur later this year.

The CPTPP?

The CPTPP includes eleven countries with over 500 million people.

The accord reduces food, drink, and car levies.

Since 2018, Australia, Brunei, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam, and Canada have been members. The UK joined first. China, Taiwan, Ecuador, Costa Rica, and Uruguay seek membership.

In 2017, the US left an agreement.

The member nations and UK have an estimated £11 trillion economy. In 2022, the EU was worth £13.3 trillion.

Long-term trade and sustainability concerns have been raised.

After a decade, the arrangement would yield £1.8bn, or 0.08% of UK GDP, according to the government.

In 2019, the CPTPP accounted for 8% of UK exports, less than Germany.

The UK’s palm oil tariff concession, which environmental groups say could accelerate deforestation, contradicts its sustainability goals.

“This arrangement empowers international corporations to sue the UK government in secret tribunals for enacting policies which risk their profits – this might include an increase in the minimum wage or putting energy companies back into public ownership,” said TUC general secretary Paul Nowak.

Nowak warned that the arrangement will allow forced labour in Vietnam and Malaysia.

How will CPTPP membership benefit UK construction?

Oliver Chapman, CEO of supply chain specialist OCI, weighed the pros and disadvantages of the U.K. CPTPP membership.

“Joining CPTPP could benefit the U.K. long-term, although its distance from the Pacific diminishes the benefits. One ignored benefit might be huge.

The U.K.’s agreement to join CPTPP is good news for the country and its supply chains. If the UK enters the massive trading block, UK companies can trade tariff-free with other block members.

The CPTPP’s greatest asset may still come.

The likelihood that CPTPP will grow further may be more significant. Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan, many South American nations, and perhaps China could join.

Hence, while the U.K. ‘s CPTPP membership may not bring immediate gains, it will likely increase with time.

One is good, the other bad.

“First, CPTPP membership provides free trade in goods and services, which is significant because services are a key part of the U.K. economy and are often lacking from free trade agreements. But, global digital taxation laws complicate the digital supply chain, even within CPTPP.”

UK distance may reduce perceived benefits.

“However, we see a stronger emphasis on the supply chain covering fewer geographical areas,” Oliver continued.

First, gasoline prices have raised long-distance transportation costs.

Second, climate change, net zero, and ESG pressure many companies to prioritise shorter supply chain distances.

Thirdly, vast supply chains take longer to transport final products and their components and materials. Hence, cash flow can be severely impacted, prolonging product scaling.

The CPTPP member closest to the U.K. is Mexico, while other countries are virtually on the other side of the planet, therefore the above three reasons greatly decrease the benefits of joining the trading block.

Services and digital supply chains are less affected by physical distances, therefore the aforesaid drawbacks are less relevant for non-physical supply chains, although complex diversity in tax regulations is a mitigating factor.”

After UK government cuts and delays, is HS2 worth building?

Original Source: Is HS2 still worth building after all the UK government cuts and delays?

Beneath overcast skies in Warwickshire last month, a 2,000-tonne boring machine dubbed “Dorothy” tore through a concrete wall to construct the first in a series of tunnels that would eventually carry high-speed trains under the English countryside.

The achievement boosted HS2, the controversial high-speed train project that was supposed to link London to Manchester and Leeds through Birmingham by 2033.

Yet delays and cost overruns have reduced the scope and delayed completion by two decades.

Dorothy has tunnelled part of the first phase that was supposed to open between central London and Birmingham in 2026. However, that segment of the line is at least three years late, and the remaining project might cost £70bn, up from £37.5bn in 2013.

Since its 2010 unveiling as a solution to boost capacity to the country’s ageing railway network and speed up travel between its main cities, HS2 has divided opinion. With public expenditure limits persisting, the project’s viability discussion has heated up.

The project shrank as ministers cut expenditures. Last year, an eastern leg that would have connected Birmingham, Sheffield, and Leeds was nearly scrapped.

The government delayed running trains into Euston until the early 2040s in last month’s amendments. Euston completion will cost approximately £5bn.

Its decision has fueled criticism and bolstered those who want the government to reject the project.

Transport secretary Mark Harper attributed the new delays to “headwinds from inflation” caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and “supply chain disruption” due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Andrew Gilligan, who was transport adviser to Boris Johnson when the then-prime minister cancelled the eastern segment, has argued that the increasing budget made HS2 cost more than its benefits. He called the assertion that it will produce 500,000 new jobs a “absurd exaggeration” and said public support was low “everywhere”.

But, project supporters claim the network sorely needs the increased capacity.

Rail executives and engineers stated ministers’ cost-cutting analyses, redesigns, and scope reductions had the opposite impact.

“If the government was not lukewarm on the project and there was a genuine desire to build it then it would be proceeding to its original timeframes and not far off its original budget,” said railway engineer and industry writer Gareth Dennis.

Several northern England civic and corporate leaders who support the project are furious about the reduction.

Henri Murison, Northern Powerhouse Partnership lobby group CEO, said the government “mismanaged” it. He said they had reduced value for money.

HS2 highlighted the government’s “too low and too erratic” infrastructure investments, according to Resolution Foundation CEO Torsten Bell.

Too often, budgets are adjusted. He claimed this hinders long-term infrastructure planning like HS2. “Big undertakings will always meet stumbling blocks—but the state institutions responsible for monitoring them shouldn’t so constantly be one.”

One former Tory transport minister claimed rising project prices had left ministers in a bind.

“The trouble is that once you’ve invested a particular amount of money it becomes much more difficult to back out, and that macro decision was taken a long time ago,” he said. “Government seemed complacent that the original price would be the end price, but that virtually never happens with huge capital projects, as we are constantly learning to our cost.”

A project with significant upfront expenditures and rewards over decades or centuries is hard to define economically.

A government evaluation of the economic case early last decade determined a route with branches west to Manchester and the since-cancelled leg east to Leeds would “most likely” deliver “high” value, while the London to Birmingham link would be “mid.”

Given the cost overruns, critics like Gilligan claim that analysis is outdated and that the money would be better spent on improving the train network.

Maria Machancoses, chief executive of Midlands Connect, a transport organisation that represents local authorities, said the project was “vital to our region’s economy” and that business leaders were “basing their investment decisions on big infrastructure investment”.

Railway experts claimed no upgrades could provide the benefits of a new route. HS2 would help decarbonize the transport industry, which accounts for about a quarter of the country’s carbon emissions, by shifting from roads to rail.

HS2 would reduce regional economic imbalances, the administration asserted.

Industry officials anticipate the uproar will fade due to the railway’s 100-year design life.

“We all think that is a terribly lengthy time frame… but let’s stay calm here,” stated one High Speed Rail Organization board member. Everyone knows they’re developing this for future generations.

Laing O’Rourke mandates low-carbon concrete for UK building projects

Original Source: Laing O’Rourke introduces low-carbon concrete mandate for UK construction projects

Laing O’Rourke has mandated low-carbon concrete on all new UK projects, which is expected to lower Scope 3 emissions by 25%.

Laing O’Rourke will utilise low-carbon concrete for all new UK building projects starting immediately. The company is replacing conventional concrete with industry byproducts Ground Granulated Blast-furnace Slag and Pulverised Fly Ash.

The company expects to save 14.4 million kgCO2e by reducing its concrete usage by 28%. 94 hectares of forest are planted.

Laing O’Rourke, Innovate UK, the University of Cambridge, and Sheffield University’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) financed a study programme to ensure that the alternatives can replace traditional concrete.

Cathal O’Rourke, Laing O’Rourke’s COO, said, “We’ve committed to become a net zero company by 2050 and we are looking at every feasible strategy to accelerate our progress. Scope 3 emissions—embodied carbon in purchased materials—are the biggest difficulty in building.

Our company prioritises carbon emission reduction. Constructors must engage with customers and design partners to deploy new technologies and innovations that make modern methods the standard and enable us to build in less carbon-intensive ways. The built environment contributes significantly to global warming.

As urbanisation continues, the IEA predicts a 12-23% increase in concrete production by mid-century from 2018 levels. Companies are working to cut emissions.

The Climate Group’s ConcreteZero includes Laing O’Rourke. The Global Green Building Council and enterprises across the global concrete value chain launched the effort in 2022 to scale low-carbon concrete demand and supply.

Construction companies who join ConcreteZero agree to using net-zero concrete by 2050, with interim goals of 30% by 2025 and 50% by 2030. This stage includes non-concrete businesses. They’ll influence clients.

Businesses in the built environment, a key sector of the UK economy, are fighting climate change while safeguarding society and corporations from rising energy prices.

In this newest research in this new series, edie will examine the causes, constraints, and possibilities for speeding decarbonisation and how to adopt a “net-positive” mentality.

BRE CEO Gillian Charlesworth wrote the report’s foreword. Laing O’Rourke assisted. It includes exclusive results from edie’s Net-Zero Business Barometer, a comprehensive online survey of hundreds of sustainability and energy specialists.

Wellbeing and mental health will uncover other construction benefits

Original Source: Focusing on wellbeing and mental health will unlock other benefits for construction

LinkedIn articles about a four-day workweek appear daily. Even a 40-hour, five-day week is impossible in Australian construction. Our employees work 50+ hours. Everyone appears ahead of us.

Yet, the UK and Australian construction industries share many issues, including low mental health statistics.

Suicide kills six times more Australian construction workers than workplace accidents. UK construction has the highest suicide rate.

I met with the Make It Visible team, led by the Lighthouse Building Industry Charity and Mates in Mind, while in the UK.

It aims to enhance mental health by bringing together contractors, clients, and trade groups.

Australia is around 18 months ahead of the UK in developing a similar method.

The Australian Constructors Association’s Culture in Construction initiative, along with the governments of New South Wales and Victoria and prominent workplace experts, has been identifying sustainable construction sector elements.

Culture matters. Our workers’ hours and flexible work options will have the most impact on this.

Trials are undertaken to achieve a five-day week. Perception that it would cost money and delay projects is the major obstacle. That’s a fallacy. Tired workers are less productive.

Benefits include mental wellness and more. Next-generation workers don’t want to work in a hostile industry. They don’t want 60-hour weeks without employment flexibility. They don’t want to work in an industry where Excel spreadsheets are still cutting-edge or that doesn’t care about the environment.

We won’t have enough people to complete the infrastructure pipeline if we don’t reform. Infrastructure Australia just found we need 200,000 people to complete our pipeline.

Some individuals say “oh we’ll just open the borders and they’ll come flying in”. They won’t because every other major nation is spending billions on infrastructure, thus we need to find other solutions. We need to keep individuals in the sector and recruit newcomers.

Both Culture in Construction and Make It Visible are looking at how wellbeing measures might be included into procurement strategy. I understand concerns, yet we are our own greatest enemy.

Left to our own devices we gleefully slit each other’s throats and that’s why we are in this constant cycle to the bottom. We can’t control unquantifiable risk without government aid.

Being the main infrastructure buyer, the government can also change the game. People follow them.

Leading construction and demolition waste hauler acquired by Aggregate Industries

Original Source: Aggregate Industries acquires leading handler of construction and demolition waste

Sivyer Logistics provides trash management, vehicle logistics, manufactured soils, primary and recycled aggregates, and volumetric ready mix concrete.

Aggregate Industries, a Holcim Group company, bought London construction waste handler Sivyer Logistics.

The acquisition will boost Aggregate Industries’ position as a key supplier of recycled construction and demolition debris in London, the UK’s largest circular economy market. It will also give the Aggregate Industry more expansion opportunities nationwide.

Sivyer Logistics provides trash management, vehicle logistics, manufactured soils, primary and recycled aggregates, and volumetric ready mix concrete from its six major sites. Sivyer recycles around 450,000 tonnes of garbage annually.

“Sivyer Logistics is an amazing business that offers various synergies with our own,” said Aggregate Industries UK CEO Dragan Maksimovic. We’re leading circular construction with this acquisition.

“We have an ambitious ambition to increase our CDW and circular economy activities by 2025, and the acquisition of Sivyer offers us with enhanced knowledge, facilities, and products as we seek to become the UK’s leading supplier of sustainable building materials and solutions.”

Sivyer Logistics Managing Director Simon Sivyer said, “We have a lengthy heritage going back to 1862, and we’re immensely proud of what we’ve done as a firm to date. We’re excited to start this new chapter and grow in London and beyond with Aggregate Industries.”

Summary of today’s construction news

Overall, we discussed British membership in the Indo-Pacific trade pact that was backed by existing CPTPP members. Ratification of the trade agreement is expected to take place later this year.

Meanwhile, under cloudy skies in Warwickshire last month, a 2,000-ton boring machine named “Dorothy” ripped through a concrete wall to begin digging the first of several tunnels that will one day transport high-speed trains beneath the English countryside. The success bolstered confidence in HS2, the contentious high-speed train project that aims to connect London, Manchester, Leeds, and Birmingham by 2033.

Additionally,  for all future construction projects in the United Kingdom, Laing O’Rourke will use low-carbon concrete. Ground Granulated Blast-furnace Slag and Pulverised Fly Ash are being used in place of traditional concrete.

On the other hand, more Australian construction workers die by suicide than are killed in working accidents six times per year. The suicide rate is highest in the construction industry in the United Kingdom. The Lighthouse Building Industry Charity and Mates in Mind have formed an organisation called “Make It Visible” with the goal of improving mental health in the construction industry by bringing together contractors, clients, and trade organisations. Australia has developed a similar method roughly 18 months before the UK.

On top of that, Sivyer Logistics offers waste management, transportation logistics, engineered soils, natural and recycled aggregates and ready-mixed concrete by the cubic yard. Sivyer Logistics, a London-based construction waste management firm, was acquired by Aggregate Industries of the Holcim Group. 

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