In today’s UK construction news, we will look into which types of green employment are experiencing the most demand? In order for the building industry to achieve its goals, according to Pablo Cristi Worm’s article, a holistic strategy to net zero is required. In the meantime, why are schools in the UK being forced to close due to ‘crumbling concrete’ at RAAC? In addition to this, construction has started at RWE’s Sofia offshore wind farm, which will help advance the UK’s green energy infrastructure. In addition, UKCW Birmingham will return in the fall to continue to set the agenda for the construction industry and confront difficulties head on.
Where Are Green-collar Employment Most Needed?
Original Source: Which green-collar jobs are most in demand?
Pablo Cristi Worm writes that construction must take a holistic approach to net zero to fulfill its goals.
This June was the warmest on record, but as global warming becomes more apparent, market incapacity could slow UK construction’s net zero target progress.
Sustainable project delivery is being hampered by severe ‘green collar’ staffing shortages. A lack of experienced employees is one of the primary impediments to heat pump installation, according to a new analysis by the European Heat Pump Association in Brussels.
Turner & Townsend’s recent International Construction Market Survey 2023 found that seven UK regions lack the green expertise and six lack the supply chain capability to reduce carbon emissions.
Every region expects more projects to increase their net zero commitments, raising worries about how they will be met.
Although six regions expect capacity to rise in the next years, the green skills deficit is still the biggest barrier to net zero investment.
Impact of skills crisis on net zero targets
Insulation, heat pump, and window installers are needed to adapt the UK’s buildings.
According to the UK Green Building Council’s Net Zero Whole Life Carbon Roadmap, energy usage in current housing accounts for 48% of built environment emissions.
We must urgently decarbonize UK heating systems to attain our 2050 net zero aim. No UK region has more than 0.07% renewable-heated dwellings.
Again, capability is questioned. According to the Heating and Hotwater sector Council, the sector needs 150,000 more experienced heating engineers to install 600,000 heat pumps this year. Two-thirds must be industry newcomers.
The built environment must think holistically to address this green skills and capacity gap in the short and long term, beyond only certified and trained labor force numbers.
Strategic planning and coordination allow several projects to progress in sync without using the same local labor pool.
Working with local government and education providers to develop training and fulfill future demand requires more coordinated involvement.
To prioritize sustainability, the industry must change its carbon perspective. Instead of an increase in cost, a carbon reduction plan could be seen as a second currency that boosts construction project efficiency.
Sustainability’s genuine value must be seen to encourage project investment and green skill training.
Why Are Uk Schools Closing Over RAAC ‘Crumbling Concrete’?
School construction between the 1950s and the mid-1990s employed the 30-year-old material.
From the 1950s through the mid-1990s, more than 100 UK schools were ordered to close due to concerns that their concrete could collapse.
Teaching staff are trying to find temporary housing, and many pupils are starting the school year remotely.
Know the risks of cracking concrete:
Alkali, water, and an aeration agent make reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC).
A lightweight, robust, and porous material is created by autoclaving the mixture in molds.
Many call it “crumbling concrete” and “80 percent air”. The popular chocolate bar with air pockets is called Aero Bar.
RAAC above 30 years puts buildings at risk of collapse.
Schools at risk: how many?
According to the UK government, 156 schools used RAAC. 52 have been repaired, while 104 need immediate action.
Nick Gibb, UK schools minister, predicted an increase.
Plans for the interim?
Because the crisis hit at the start of the UK school year, many students had to resume their studies online or in temporary facilities.
The DfE has not produced a list of schools required to close. Gibb promised a comprehensive list “only once we are in a stable place”.
Many media-listed schools are partially closed as local councils find interim solutions.
Teachers are rushing to find temporary housing in libraries, marquees, and Portakabins, according to the Guardian.
Teachers’ outrage forced the government to reverse its decision not to pay for temporary structures.
To make classrooms safe again, UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt committed to “spend what it takes” and “exhaustive process has been carried out to identify schools at risk” on Sunday.
Distance learning for school closure students should last “days, not weeks” according to the administration, although it has not stated when the schools will reopen.
Scotland’s education secretary, Jenny Gilruth, said 35 schools with RAAC will not be closed.
Gilruth sued the UK government for violating Institution of Structural Engineers recommendations.
This is a scandal, said Unison education head Mike Short. Instead of renovating unsafe school facilities, the DfE and government wasted months covering this catastrophe.
“The schools minister broke his promise to publish at-risk property information before summer break for parliament. Relieving parents, students, and staff that the matter is finally being addressed.
To wait until the last minute as schools prepare for the new school year will upset thousands of families. That may be the tip of the iceberg.”
Julie McCulloch, policy director of the Association of School and College Leaders, also criticized the DfE for knowing about RAAC’s warnings since 2018.
Is it just schools?
Over 30 hospitals are also in jeopardy, say specialists.
Although municipal architects mostly used RAAC in schools and workplaces, it has also been seen in shopping centers and households, saying the Local Government Association.
High-rise structures with flat roofs built between the late 1960s and the 1990s may contain RAAC, according to Institution of Structural Engineers head Matthew Byatt.
It was reported that RAAC closed a north London criminal court.
Why does asbestos matter?
Cracking concrete could expose asbestos, a hazardous mineral outlawed in the UK but widely employed in construction between the 1950s and the 1990s and found in at least 300,000 non-domestic structures.
If left undisturbed, asbestos is harmless, but if breathed in or broken down, it can cause lung cancer.
Asbestos in RAAC- closed schools might delay repairs and cause months-long closures.
The Sofia Offshore Wind Farm, Built by RWE, Advances UK Green Energy Infrastructure
RWE’s Sofia Offshore Wind Farm, a massive renewable energy project that will help the UK reach net-zero, has begun construction.
The project comprises installing subsea cables from the UK’s northeast coast to Dogger Bank wind farm in the central North Sea. The Leonardo da Vinci, Prysmian’s cutting-edge vessel, installs the first HVDC export cable section. This cable will bring green electricity from the wind farm to the UK shore and the transmission network.
RWE invested almost £3 billion in the UK’s energy infrastructure to build the Sofia Offshore Wind Farm, demonstrating its commitment to renewable energy. Sofia will provide enough renewable electricity for over 1.2 million UK households when finished.
RWE Offshore Wind CEO Sven Utermöhlen said, “Sofia is RWE’s largest renewable construction project to date, and its furthest from shore. The initiative is setting new norms for creativity, sustainability, and engineering challenges.” The project reached this milestone after years of planning and collaboration with suppliers and stakeholders, according to Utermohlen.
Sofia Offshore Wind Farm, 195 kilometers from the UK’s northeast coast on Dogger Bank, will have one offshore converter platform. The generated electricity will reach Redcar, Teesside, 220 kilometers away. The world’s most advanced offshore wind farm will use 100 Siemens Gamesa 14-megawatt turbines. Forty-four turbines will have recyclable blades.
From the Port of Middlesbrough, Prysmian’s 170-meter Leonardo da Vinci vessel will lay two 130-kilometer cable sections in parallel. Cable laying begins off Teesside and moves to the wind farm. Marine export cable installation of the two remaining 90-kilometer sections is anticipated for 2024. The vessel will lay 440 kilometers of high-voltage maritime export cables by late 2024.
Since June 2021, Teesside has started building the converter station and cable corridor. The three-year offshore construction phase begins with cable laying.
RWE, the UK’s largest power generator, wants to invest £15 billion in green technologies and infrastructure by 2030. RWE’s UK country chair, Tom Glover, said, “This major construction milestone at Sofia further demonstrates our enviable expertise in offshore wind, which has been pioneered over 20 years in the UK.”
RWE is a key player in the UK’s shift to clean and sustainable energy sources, with offshore wind extension and floating wind projects in its portfolio.
This Autumn, UKCW Birmingham Sets the Building Agenda and Addresses Concerns
UK Construction Week (UKCW) Birmingham returns for its ninth year this autumn with a ‘call to action’ for the sector to establish its own agenda rather than wait for the government.
UKCW Birmingham, the UK’s largest built environment exhibition, will occur from October 3rd to 5th with Grand Designs Live and Timber Expo, which marks its 10th year in 2023. Registration is now open.
UKCW show director Nathan Garnett said: “Construction is often criticised for being too disparate, lacking collaboration, not addressing its skills crisis, reverting to protecting the bottom line, being scared of innovation and ignoring safety and environment.
“UKCW, the UK’s largest industry event, is the place to learn from those shaping this rapidly changing industry. If you work in the industry, you must attend UKCW Birmingham to address mental health, fire safety, and the skills gap.
We had a great UKCW London in May, but in such a fast-paced business, the Birmingham exhibition will provide attendees with the latest trends, regulation, innovation, and tech, with many new exhibitors and demonstrations.”
The 25,000-person three-day construction event will celebrate building culture shift and include over 6,000 goods and services. UKCW Birmingham will offer over 150 CPD hours from 400 thought leaders and keynote speakers, including West Midlands Mayor Andy Street.
Build, Infrastructure, Roadmap to Net Zero, Digital Construction, and Offsite parts are also available. The construction event, which has already sold over 80% of its slots to 300 exhibitors like Biffa, Topcon, Containex, SDS, Hanson Plywood, Expedeon, Celsa Steel UK, and HP Construction Services, is on course to be the most successful ever.
The show, opened by architect and Channel 4 broadcaster George Clarke and supported by HP, Northgate, Find It In Birmingham, CIOB, BMF, and NFB, would feature industry experts’ talks and seminars across six stages:
- UKCW Main Stage featured keynotes, panel debates, and case studies from construction executives.
- Timber Expo’s sustainability hub. The hub program will address concerns, layout ideas, and case studies to help the industry reach net zero.
- Infrastructure Hub – From digitalization to quality and sustainability, this hub will offer a three-day program of case studies, debates, networking, and keynote lectures on important themes for infrastructure project workers.
- The UKCW Digital Construction Hub drives innovation. This hub will provide presentations and panel discussions on BIM-based information management.
- CPD Hub – industry experts, association partners, government departments, and exhibitors deliver industry-relevant CPDs.
- Culture Change Hub promotes built environment diversity, mental health, and professional development.
Other major qualities are:
- Future Lab, displaying new goods like German Bionic’s Exoskeleton, a wearable device that reduces fatigue and strain injuries.
- HP-sponsored Robotics Theatre will highlight all construction robotic innovations.
- COBOD 3D concrete printer will live-print a house.
- On October 5, the UKCW Role Model Awards will honor construction’s unsung heroes on the main stage.
- Timber Expo, the UK’s largest wood and timber display event, celebrates 10 years at UKCW and showcases sawmills, timber cladding, mouldings, doors, windows, and flooring.
- The extensive seminar programming and CPD opportunities will address the current construction rules, the construction Safety Act and its ramifications, and retrofit guidance in July.
Summary on today’s construction news
Overall, we discussed Extreme ‘green collar’ labour shortages are impeding the realization of sustainable projects. According to new research conducted by the European Heat Pump Association in Brussels, Belgium, one of the main obstacles to heat pump installation is a dearth of qualified workers. Meanwhile, between the decades of the 1950s and the mid-1990s, authorities in the United Kingdom were concerned enough about the stability of the concrete in over a hundred schools to order their closure. Educators are scrambling to secure short-term lodging, and many students are getting an early start on the new school year by studying alone. In addition, RWE has started building its major renewable energy project, the Sofia Offshore Wind Farm, which will aid the United Kingdom in becoming energy independent. To show its dedication to renewable energy, RWE spent nearly $3 billion into the UK’s energy infrastructure to construct the Sofia Offshore Wind Farm. When completed, Sofia will generate enough clean energy to power more than 1.2 million homes in the United Kingdom. And UK Construction Week (UKCW) Birmingham, now in its ninth year, will return this fall with a “call to action” for the industry to set its own agenda rather than wait for the government.