Read the Latest News on the Bridge of Baltimore that Fell, UK’s Wates Group Hits £2bn Sales, and Best Small Construction Company to Work for in UK is Staffordshire

In today’s news, we will look into the group of heroes who rushed to prevent traffic before the collapse of a bridge in Baltimore, with concerns that the construction crew may have perished. Additionally, in 2023, the annual revenue of UK construction and development company Wates exceeded £2 billion (US$2.5 billion). Moreover, a Staffordshire-based company has been recognised as the best small construction business to work for in the UK.

‘Heroes’ Stopped Traffic Before the Baltimore Bridge Fell; Construction Workers Presumed Dead

Original Source: ‘Heroes’ scrambled to stop traffic before Baltimore bridge collapsed; construction crew feared dead

Six people are presumed dead when a cargo ship hits a pillar of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, causing it to collapse. Recovery attempts will resume.

A dispatcher’s 12-second radio alert came in the middle of the night: a huge cargo ship had lost its steering and was heading towards the Francis Scott Key Bridge.

In 90 seconds, police stopped vehicle traffic over the bridge in both directions. One stated he would drive onto the bridge to notify construction workers.

It was too late. The ship, dead and full of containers, hit a support pillar.

“The whole bridge just fell down,” a panicked cop stated. “Start, whoever, everyone—the bridge collapsed.”

The shipping vessel Dali hit the pillar around 1:30 a.m. Tuesday, causing a long section of the bridge, a vital transit link, to collapse into the Patapsco River. Six people are thought dead, and the bridge’s destruction would hamper commuter traffic and a vital cargo port.

Eight people entered the water. Six bridge pothole-filling construction workers were missing, but two survived. The search for their bodies resumed Wednesday morning.

Diplomats from Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico reported missing people. The Honduran was Maynor Yassir Suazo Sandova.

State and federal officials said the occurrence was likely an accident. The Port of Baltimore banned ship traffic indefinitely as the National Transportation Safety Board investigates.

Captain Michael Burns Jr. of the Maritime Centre for Responsible Energy called moving a ship into or out of ports in confined areas with limited manoeuvrability “one of the most technically challenging and demanding things that we do.”

“So there really are few things scarier than a loss of power in restricted waters,” he said. When a ship loses propulsion and steering, “then it’s really at the mercy of the wind and the current.”

Video showed the ship going at 9 mph (15 kph) towards the 1.6-mile (2.6-kilometer) bridge, according to Gov. Wes Moore. Traffic was still crossing the span, and some vehicles escaped with seconds to spare. After the accident, the span broke and fell into the lake in seconds, with jagged fragments visible later in the day.

Police have no evidence that anyone other than the workers entered the water, but they are not ruling out the idea.

Brawner Builders’ senior executive stated the crew was working in the bridge’s middle when it collapsed.

“This was so completely unforeseen,” said firm executive vice president Jeffrey Pritzker. “We have nothing else to say. We take safety seriously and have cones, signs, lighting, barriers, and flaggers.”

Jesus Campos, who worked on the bridge for Brawner Builders and knew the crew, claimed they were on break and sitting in their trucks.

“I know that a month ago, I was there, and I know what it feels like when the trailers pass,” Campos added. Imagine realising it is plummeting. So hard. One would be clueless.”

Father Ako Walker, a Roman Catholic priest at Sacred Heart of Jesus, said at a vigil that he spent time with the missing workers’ families while they waited for word.

“You can see the pain etched on their faces,” Walker added.

Rescuers plucked two persons from the water. One patient was hospitalised and released hours later.

The bridge was used by 12 million vehicles last year, but the incident occurred before the morning traffic.

Ship or barge collisions caused 35 significant bridge collapses globally from 1960 to 2015, according to the World Association for Waterborne Transport Infrastructure.

Tuesday’s collapse will disrupt East Coast commerce at the Port of Baltimore for months.

State transport secretary Paul Wiedefeld said vessel movement in and out of the port would be banned until further notice, although trucks may still use it.

“Losing this bridge will devastate the entire area, as well as the East Coast,” stated state Sen. Johnny Ray Salling.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said it was too soon to give a time date for clearing the 50-foot (15-metre)-deep trench, while President Joe Biden said he would come to Baltimore shortly and expect the federal government to pay for reconstruction.

The ship’s manager, Synergy Marine Group, stated the pilots, local experts who guide vessels safely in and out of ports, were in charge when the incident occurred. Synergy reported no injuries and all passengers were on board.

Grace Ocean Private Ltd. owns the ship, which Maersk chartered.

Marine Traffic reported that the 985-foot (300-metre) Dali was flying the Singapore flag from Baltimore to Colombo, Sri Lanka.

A June inspection detected a fault with the ship’s machinery, but Equasis reports no issues now.

Former Baltimore fire chief Donald Heinbuch was jolted awake by a powerful rumble that shook his residence for several seconds and “felt like an earthquake.”

He drove to the river and was astonished: “The ship was there, and the bridge was in the water, like it was blown up.”

Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott termed it “an unthinkable tragedy.” Gov. Moore stated “all of our hearts are broken for the victims and their families,” and praised first responders for their rapid response.

Moore called these folks heroes for stopping cars from crossing the bridge. “They saved lives last night.”

UK’s Wates Group Hits £2bn Sales

Original Source: UK’s Wates Group passes £2bn turnover mark

In 2023, UK construction and development firm Wates’ annual turnover surpassed £2 billion (US$2.5 billion).

The 127-year-old company made £46.1 million ($58.4 million) in 2023 pre-tax profit on 15% more turnover. The company has made a pre-tax profit for 20 years.

The company completed the year with a record £8.5 billion ($10.8 billion) forward order book.

Construction division of Wates recorded £1.7 billion ($2.2 billion) turnover, up 22% from last year. It won £1.1 billion ($1.4 billion) in new business, averaging £48.3 million ($61.2 million). The AESC UK electric battery gigafactory in Sunderland and a Canada Water town centre in London are its active projects.

Residential sales rose £13 million ($16.5 million) to £323 million ($408.9 million). More than 3,000 homes were under construction and 276 delivered last year.

IN 2023, Wates’ development group earned £147 million ($186.1 million), up 16% from the year before. Its property services industry turnover rose to £545 million ($690 million) in 2023.

Two of its 2025 social value targets were met early this year. The Group’s strategic spending with social entrepreneurs exceeded the £25m 2025 objective with £31m since 2020. Wates tripled its 2025 aim for engagement with the sector’s future skills pipeline by encouraging 80,000 primary and secondary school students to pursue construction careers in 2020, up from 25,000.

It cut scope 1 and 2 CO2 emissions 45.3% from a 2019 baseline. Compared to its 2030 science-based aim of 46.2%.

Wates Group CEO Eoghan O’Lionaird said, “We performed well last year despite a challenging external environment. Profit growth is as encouraging as passing £2bn turnover. Our steady family governance and clear goals have helped us grow.

With a strong cash balance, positive tangible net worth, and profitability across our firm, we are in great shape. Our record forward order book shows our customers’ trust in us to deliver projects of all sizes. Wates has gained this confidence by providing profit before tax for over two decades.

Best Small Construction Company to Work for in UK is Staffordshire

Original Source: Staffordshire firm is named UK’s best small construction business to work for

UK’s greatest small construction company to work for is Burntwood’s Keon Homes.

The affordable housing and Extra Care developer rose 27 places to sixth in the Great Place to Work category for firms under 50 employees.

The company ranks first in its category and scored 100% in seven of the 25 survey emphasis areas. It invests more than £1 million in people development, recruitment, and an environmental, social, and governance plan.

“We were absolutely blown away by our progress, going from 73rd to sixth in just three years – now the challenge is to break into the top five,” said Keon Homes managing director Richard Williams.

It’s encouraging that our 51 employees answered 25 questions regarding working at Keon for this ranking.

100% of individuals felt we were a terrific place to work, reinforcing the culture we’ve been attempting to instil since we debuted in 2018.

Great Place To Work UK managing director Benedict Gautrey added: “Our goal has always been to enrich the world of work by empowering companies to become exceptional organisations that serve everyone.

We strongly believe that what’s ‘better for business’ connects with what’s ‘better for people,’ making the world a better place.

Following the completion of four new land acquisitions totaling over £28m, Chasetown-based Tara Group’s Keon Homes has had a strong start to 2024.

Opening three key sites in Wolverhampton, Coventry, and Nuneaton will allow it to create 150 houses and apartments.

As part of the Local Authorities “Our Future City” ambitions, it has signed its first agreement with Birmingham Municipal Housing Trust to build 65 new dwellings, a sports pavilion, and football pitches for the community.

Mr. Williams added: “Our growth has surpassed even our most ambitious projections and, to deliver on the new schemes secured, we have had to hire 14 new staff in the last eight months with more jobs in the pipeline.

While we may be involved in bricks and mortar, people will always be our largest asset, so we invest in apprentices, graduates, and provide all personnel the chance to take training and personal development courses through the Tara Group Academy.

He concluded: “We are passionate about our communities and regularly participate in staff challenges to support The Noel Sweeney Foundation. This improves teamwork and helps many local charities each year.”

Summary of today’s construction news

Overall, we discussed a cargo ship colliding with a pillar of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, leading to its collapse and the likely death of six individuals. We will continue our efforts to recover. Within ninety seconds, police had blocked all traffic on the bridge. Someone else said he was going to drive onto the bridge to let the construction crew know. By that point, it was already passé. The container ship slammed into a support pillar, killing all on board. Amidst a difficult external climate, Wates Group fared successfully last year, according to CEO Eoghan O’Lionaird. Gains in profit are just as promising as a revenue milestone of £2 billion. We have grown thanks to our stable family governance and well-defined objectives. Our company is doing well thanks to our healthy cash flow, positive tangible net worth, and widespread profitability. Customers have faith in our ability to complete projects of varying sizes, as seen by our record forward order book. This trust has been earned by Wates by the provision of profit before tax for more than twenty years. In addition, Keon Homes, located in Burntwood, is the best small construction company in the UK to work for. Among companies with less than 50 workers, the developer of affordable homes and Extra Care jumped 27 spots to take sixth place in the Great Place to Work category. With perfect scores in seven out of twenty-five survey focus areas, the organisation has risen to the top of its category. Over a million pounds are poured into employee training, hiring, and a strategy for ESG (environmental, social, and governance).

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