The Year Ahead: Five Key Challenges That Will Shape Construction in 2022

The outlook is positive for construction in 2022. Experts currently project that output will bounce back to pre-pandemic levels.¹ And with the government pledging £12 billion for infrastructure, as well as the £4.8 billion “levelling up” fund, demand for high-quality construction projects looks sure to continue growing.²

But there are still many challenges ahead of us – from finding suitable workers to ensuring our projects are truly sustainable. In this article, we explore five of the key challenges that will define the coming year:

1. The skills gap

As Brexit has reduced the UK’s talent pool and a high level of employee churn, the construction industry faces a serious crisis. According to recent reports, the sector will need 216,800 new workers by 2025 to meet current demand levels.³

In 2022, we will see new initiatives to bring young workers into the industry, including a continuation of the wage increases we’ve seen in 2021. But solving the problem will likely require more than this, and leaders should focus not just on financial rewards but the actual workplace culture they create onsite. 

A shortage of skilled workers is construction specialists’ number one concern for 2022.

2. Greater attention on the work environment

Throughout the pandemic, a new level of attention has been paid to the quality of employee experience. Employees are less willing to work under poor conditions and expect greater support from their employers. A recent report, for example, demanded an industry-wide ‘mental health dashboard’ to support workers in the construction industry.

In 2022, we will see efforts to address this problem continue. This will include a greater investment in employee wellbeing initiatives, as well better on site welfare units to provide much needed support. 

More than seven in 10 construction companies do not measure the mental wellbeing of their staff.

3. Reimagining the supply chain

The twin forces of Brexit and COVID-19 have produced price increases in the supply chain, as well as some very well publicised disruptions. Vital materials like timber and bricks have seen rapid price increases across 2021, and experts suggest these problems will continue well into the new year.

Ultimately, as supply chain issues have hindered growth for the industry, companies will have to rethink the way they source vital materials in 2022.

Nearly 8 in 10 construction businesses have absorbed higher input prices in 2021.

4. The innovation gap

Innovation is the key to delivering more effective and efficient projects. But many in the industry still lag behind in this regard, as we explored in our recent research. And this has led to a widening ‘innovation gap’ between companies that use cutting-edge technology – and those that don’t.

2022 will be a tipping point, where businesses that do embrace innovative technology gain an unassailable lead in quality.

In recent years, the number of construction businesses actively innovating has fallen by 11%.¹⁰

5. Sustainable Development Goals

Sustainability has become a major concern for the construction industry in recent years, and there is still a very long way to go in terms of ensuring projects have a positive impact on both communities and the environment. 

The United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development provides a clear blueprint for the changes that are necessary, and the issues it raises will define not just 2022 but the entire future. 

As a company that prides itself on providing mobile welfare units and welfare vans that make a positive impact, we believe it’s vital that we take a lead on issues like this and help our industry become more conscious – and more effective – when it comes to sustainability. 

So in the coming months, we will launch a long-form content series exploring each of these goals in detail.

1. https://www.citb.co.uk/about-citb/news-events-and-blogs/britain-builds-back-construction-will-need-216-800-new-workers-by-2025-to-meet-demand/
2. https://www.grantthornton.co.uk/insights/new-opportunities-amid-uk-construction-skills-shortages/
3. https://www.citb.co.uk/about-citb/news-events-and-blogs/britain-builds-back-construction-will-need-216-800-new-workers-by-2025-to-meet-demand/
4. https://www.constructionnews.co.uk/financial/construction-salaries-rise-more-than-any-other-sector-26-08-2021/
5. https://www.constructionnews.co.uk/skills/skills-shortage-is-top-concern-for-specialists-in-2022-15-12-2021/
6. https://www.newcivilengineer.com/latest/industry-wide-mental-health-dashboard-demanded-13-08-2021/
7. https://www.newcivilengineer.com/latest/industry-wide-mental-health-dashboard-demanded-13-08-2021/
8. https://www.constructionnews.co.uk/supply-chain/materials-shortage-brick-and-timber-supplies-face-uncertainty-in-2022-30-11-2021/
9. https://www.cityam.com/supply-chain-epidemic-leaves-uk-construction-reeling/
10.https://www.kellinggroup.com/construction-and-infrastructure-in-numbers/

How Onsite Welfare Can Tackle the Construction Industry’s Stress Epidemic

According to recent research, 49% of construction workers experience work-related stress.¹ The industry now has the highest rates of employee burnout in the UK², and many experts suggest serious changes are needed before it’s too late.

This is exactly why International Stress Awareness Week is so vital. It helps shed light on the need for radical change in the industry’s workplace cultures. And at Welfare Hire, we believe it is our responsibility to support contractors in making this change happen. 

In this article, we explore three ways our innovative mobile welfare units help reduce stress and transform the onsite environment.

1. More space for workers

The construction site is a tough environment, and many workers feel they don’t have the time or space to let off steam in a healthy way. This leads to pent up frustrations and anxiety; combined with physically gruelling work and long shifts, the result can be extreme stress.

Giving workers more space to decompress – and communicate with each other safely – is therefore vital. Our X-Eco10 mobile welfare units provide 20% more internal space than other welfare units, fitting up to 10 people. They are also fitted with comfortable seating, to allow workers to rest properly during their downtime.

2. Improved facilities

Access to great facilities is vital to feeling in control at work. Workers should always feel secure in the knowledge that they can stay clean; have privacy when necessary; and get the provisions they need to stay alert and happy at work.

The X-Eco10 features canteen facilities with controlled heating, mains power and USB ports to create a better environment for colleague wellbeing. There is also on-demand hot running water; separate drying and changing rooms; and a fully functioning work office.

3. Signalling care

Much of the stress that construction workers feel is a result not just of workplace conditions, but of feeling that their wellbeing is not sufficiently valued. Workers feel they cannot talk openly about their struggles, and that is because they are often being sent the wrong signals.

While relatively straightforward to implement, things like temporary traffic lights, signs and Investing in better welfare units may seem like a relatively small step. But introducing facilities specifically designed to create a more open and positive environment for them onsite unquestionably shows that you value their wellbeing.

Reducing stress and increasing your bottom line

While tackling workplace stress is vital, there is also a clear business case for investing in better welfare. 

55% of all absenteeism is caused by work-related mental health problems.³ Between 2017-18, stressful conditions resulted in 400,000 lost days of work in the construction industry.

So reducing workplace stress and increasing mental wellbeing will not only make your employees happier – it will lead to increased productivity and a more positive workplace culture.

1. https://go-float.io/nearly-half-of-uk-construction-workers-experience-poor-mental-health-due-to-financial-stress/
2. https://go-float.io/nearly-half-of-uk-construction-workers-experience-poor-mental-health-due-to-financial-stress/
3. https://www.pbctoday.co.uk/news/health-safety-news/construction-industry-burnout/91537/
4. https://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/2ea9a4_1123897588094d4db915a481782c15bc.pdf

Four Important Ways to Ensure Road Safety On Infrastructure Projects

Every 22 minutes, someone is seriously injured or dies on the UK’s roads. But the tragedy is not only the volume of accidents – it’s the fact that they are preventable. Road Safety Week seeks to highlight this fact and encourage prevention. At Access Hire, safety is of paramount importance and underpins the way that we work and the service that we provide.

As experts in Vehicle Mounted Access Platforms, we take pride in helping our clients across vital infrastructure contracts maintain a safe and secure on-site environment. Whether you are working directly on roads or just roadside, there are a variety of measures that can be taken to reduce the risk of accidents. 

Here are four steps to ensure road safety when using Access Hire’s Vehicle Mounted Mobile Elevated Work Platforms (MEWPs):

1. Always plan ahead

Safety is all about thinking ahead: what are the ground conditions of the area you are working on? How is your Vehicle Mounted MEWP going to be positioned?

In most instances, a traffic management scheme will be necessary to ensure traffic can flow easily and safely past your site. This will also help ensure you set up your Access Platform more securely.

2. Focus on visibility

High-visibility PPE should be mandatory for all personnel, and vehicles should use flashing beacons and rear chevrons (standard on all of our vehicles). Ultimately, no activity should be undertaken near a road if there is not ample high-quality visibility at all times.

3. Manage or block traffic

Before beginning any project near a road, you should obtain permission to implement traffic management or temporarily close nearby roads if necessary. 

While relatively straightforward to implement, things like temporary traffic lights, signs and cones will dramatically improve the safety of your site. They act as a clear warning sign to oncoming traffic, ultimately reducing the chance of a collision.

4. Implement an Exclusion Zone

It is important to ensure that wherever your Vehicle Mounted Access Platform will be  operating is clear- and that you segregate it from other vehicles. 

Your vehicles should never overhang into traffic; be sure to take into consideration how their position will change when they are fully elevated as well as the rotation of the boom. You should also block off foot traffic, to avoid pedestrians accidentally coming into proximity of your Access Vehicles when they are operating.

How Access Hire Improves Road Safety

Your vehicles should never overhang into traffic; be sure to take into consideration how their position will change when they are fully elevated as well as the rotation of the boom. You should also block off foot traffic, to avoid pedestrians accidentally coming into proximity of your Access Vehicles when they are operating.

Why You Should Never Compromise on Lighting Hire

TOWER LIGHT HIRE UK

Keeping your worksite functional during the darker months can be surprisingly difficult. As the days get shorter, many construction projects struggle to stay safe and on schedule. Yet all too often, contractors still look to compromise on their lighting units. 

Opting for cheap lighting may appear a net saving, but it can create more problems than it solves. In this article, we’ll explore three ways this can happen.

Three reasons to hire the best lighting towers

1. Reduce emissions

Environmental impact is an increasingly central consideration for construction projects, but traditional electric lighting is often hugely inefficient, draining energy and leading to huge CO2 emissions.

Because they run on hybrid power, our lighting towers reduce emissions by roughly 94% compared to standard units. They use smart telematics to ensure they are run efficiently, optimising utilisation and smart working. And by saving fuel, they also reduce the running costs of your lighting units dramatically.

2. Maintain brightness

When businesses opt for environmentally friendly solutions, they often compromise on performance. Many ‘eco’ lighting towers produce lower quality, dim light. Contractors are forced to choose between effective lighting and reducing emissions. 

With our ECO Lighting Towers, you can have both. Our superior Lithium battery hybrid technology ensures you can maintain 6x super bright LED heads – all whilst reducing your environmental impact. So, why compromise when you can have the brightest and greenest solution in the market?

3. Minimise refills

Lighting units often require regular maintenance, meaning you are refuelling them at regular intervals – creating extra labour and operational costs with potential project downtime. 

Our lighting towers are built with an extraordinary energy system that makes use of hybrid battery technology. This means they can run uninterrupted for huge lengths of time – up to 965 hours per refill, in the case of the X-Eco Hybrid.

Never settle for second best

At Kelling, we believe compromising on quality always ends in losses. That’s why we’ve spent years building the UK’s largest and most technologically advanced fleet – to ensure none of our clients ever have to settle for second best.

If you are looking to improve the operability, efficiency and profitability of your project as we enter the darker months, get in touch today to discover what our innovative, eco-friendly lighting towers could do for you.

How the ECOXLi Can Help Solve Construction Contractors’ Biggest Challenges

In recent weeks, we’ve been thrilled to unveil our new ECO mobile welfare unit – the ECOXLi. It is the largest mobile welfare unit on the market, featuring a host of innovative features.

Such innovation is sorely needed in the construction industry – not just because the industry has significantly underinvested in innovation in recent years, but because contractors now face challenges for which innovation can provide the best possible solutions.

In this article, we explore three ways the EcoXLi can help solve the toughest challenges construction contractors currently face:

1. The ECOXLi helps projects go green

Many contractors and construction businesses are currently struggling to improve their environmental impact in line with the Government’s tough new targets. Not only is there a legal and moral incentive – there is also a clear financial one, as we explored in a recent blog.

All of our mobile welfare units are geared towards significant improvements in sustainability. The ECOXLi simply takes this and runs with it. 

The ECOXLi utilises cutting-edge eco-friendly technology – including next generation lithium batteries and full solar technology – making it the most eco-efficient welfare unit you will find. 

It even features an intelligent auto system for full telemetry – helping ensure power is used in the most efficient way possible.

2. The ECOXLi helps you solve the HGV driver shortage

The UK workforce is chronically short of HGV drivers. According to recent data from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC),  there are more than 100,000 vacant HGV driver roles in the UK – the largest shortage of any profession. 

Where most welfare units require a HGV delivery to site, we deliver the ECOXLi directly using our own ULEZ towing fleet. We provide our own highly skilled and reliable divers, facilitating unbeatable flexibility whenever you need your unit to be picked up. 

Ultimately, the ECOXLi solves the HGV driver shortage by making HGVs unnecessary, providing a more reliable and timely service whilst drastically reducing the carbon footprint for delivery and collection.

99.1%

3. The ECOXLi comes with more reliable and flexible service

As our recent research shows, a huge number of construction projects struggle to stay on budget and schedule – with a majority taking 20% longer than intended. 

Much of this can be the result of poor supplier relations: a third of project failures result from poor communication, and experts have argued that closer supplier relations – along with increased project flexibility – are key to remedying the sector’s challenges.

At Welfare Hire, we pride ourselves on providing market leading service that breeds exactly this kind of close partnership – enabling projects to be more flexible and efficient. With the ECOXLi, we ensure the vehicles are highly available and accessible. So, your project can run smoothly – with absolutely no delays.

Introducing Three Innovative Features of the ECOXLi

XL Mobile Welfare Unit

The construction industry has a profound responsibility to help combat climate change. With roughly 10% of the UK’s CO₂ emissions resulting directly from construction activities, it is time to act. But a notorious lack of innovation in the industry makes it difficult for contractors and their projects to make such positive changes. 

Our recently released next generation ECO mobile welfare unit is designed specifically with this in mind. It features a variety of innovative features, which will help improve the efficiency, environmental impact and bottom line of your construction site.

Here are three of its most exciting features:

1. Smart ECO Power

In an ideal world, we’d let every customer come and test out our welfare unit in person – that direct experience has always been a big part of our customer service. 

But let’s be honest: we don’t live in an ideal world right now, and that means we need to find new ways of showing our customers exactly what it is they’re hiring. 

We pride ourselves on having the largest, most modern and innovative fleet of mobile welfare units in the UK, so it’s only fitting that we solve the problems COVID has presented in an equally innovative way. 

2. Smart Water

Sustainable water use is an increasingly vital topic for construction businesses, with 2.2 billion people worldwide living without access to safe water. But saving water is not simply a matter of social and environmental responsibility – there is also a powerful business case for it.

The ECOXLi is the most water efficient mobile welfare unit you will find. Its Smart Water system uses 100% recycled rainwater, with a XXL non-chemical water tank. or stores unnecessary quantities of water. And because of its size, the system needs to be serviced less frequently – reducing transportation costs and emissions whilst optimising onsite WC and wash facilities.

Ultimately, the Smart Water system enables the ECOXLi to provide the absolute best hygiene and wellbeing on the market – with XL hot water sinks and ECO Water Flush toilets in two full-size separate WCs.

3. Smart Telemetry

Too often, eco-friendly technology is built without a thought to the end-user. But we understand that not every site worker has the time to make sense of complicated new equipment, so we’ve designed the ECOXLi to be supremely user-friendly. 

Its Smart Telemetry system features a live dashboard, making it simple to manage the welfare unit for optimal utilisation. This enables real-time monitoring, as well as providing live volumetric data for your sites and projects. And in combination with the ECOXLi’s Smart auto system, it means you will get the optimal value out of your water and power system. 

Its Smart Telemetry system features a live dashboard, making it simple to manage theIf you would like to learn more about how the ECOXLi could improve your site, click here to get in touch today.

Construction and Infrastructure in Numbers: Three Key Takeaways

We’re excited to announce the launch of our latest piece of thought leadership – a detailed infographic on the current state of the construction and infrastructure sectors.  

It is designed to help make sense of the current challenges we all face in these areas, as well as locate a series of actionable insights that will help produce better results. This is based on in-depth research from our team, as well as the knowledge that comes with decades of industry expertise. 

While you can see the full graphic here, we thought it would also be useful to highlight some of the key takeaways from our research: 

THREE KEY TAKEAWAYS 

1. Emphasising wellbeing has real financial benefits 

We all know that mental health concerns greatly affect construction and infrastructure workers. So, it is relatively little surprise that 64% of construction workers state that they want their employers to provide more mental health support. 

It is easy, however, to underestimate the extent to which such wellbeing and mental health initiatives can impact a project’s bottom line.  

As we discovered, projects that emphasise employee experience and wellbeing result in 21% higher profitability. In fact, every £1 spent on wellbeing produces an incredible 500% return

 

2. Going green pays

Another well-established priority for construction and infrastructure projects is environmental sustainability. But once again, our research revealed that there is not just the ethical, social and regulatory importance of becoming eco-friendly – there is also a clear business argument to be made for it.

90% of studies, for example, demonstrate that good Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) scores lower the cost of capital. Not only that: 88% of those studies also show that good ESG practices result in better operational performance. 

Ultimately, our research suggests that companies can expect an average internal rate of return of 27-80% on their carbon saving investments – such as using more eco-efficient vehicles.

3. Low productivity still plagues construction 

Construction is the world’s single largest industry. However, there are strong indications in our research that projects are still struggling to be as productive and efficient as leaders would like. 

Over two-thirds of construction projects run over budget by more than 10%, and larger projects routinely take 20% longer than anticipated. These factors have resulted in productivity in construction growing by less than 1% annually for the last two decades. 

To remedy this, projects must look for gains in productivity and efficiency wherever they can find them – including in the service partners and providers they work with. At Kelling Group, we pride ourselves on providing the most modern and innovative fleet of specialist assets, which optimises onsite productivity. Supported with 24 hour delivery nationwide, as well as dedicated service and maintenance for all hires, this results in an extraordinary 99.1% perfect hire rate.

SEE FULL INFOGRAPHIC HERE 

Why We Are Bringing Access Hire and Access Lease to Rail Live 2021

Kelling Group Rail

Rail Live is one of the most important annual events for the rail industry, bringing together an incredible selection of experts and specialist vendors. This year’s event will take place on June 16-17th at the Quinton Rail Technology Centre in Warwickshire, and we are very excited to say that Access Hire will be in attendance.

Over the years, we have been a trusted partner on numerous major rail projects, providing innovative Vehicle Mounted Access Platforms (VMAPs) and market leading support. So this year, we’re hoping to shine a light on two key topics:

1. Working at Heights 

Working at heights is the single largest cause of workplace fatalities in the UK, and many rail projects require site workers to do just that. Workers might, for example, need to prune trees that are endangering rail lines, and in order to do so they’ll often need to use Vehicle Mounted Access Platforms.

As experts in this area, we want to demonstrate the vital steps that must be taken to ensure workers are safe when working at heights. This includes checking the project’s surroundings, as well as the ground and weather conditions; properly factoring workers’ weight into your safety assessments; and ensuring workers have proper training. 

Finally, Vehicle Mounted Access Platforms require regular, detailed maintenance to ensure they are working at full capacity and can guarantee the health and safety of workers. This brings us onto the other subject we’re hoping to illuminate:

 

2. Reliable Support on Large-Scale projects

Rail projects are often extremely complex, and managing them is a continual challenge. We believe it is the job of specialist equipment providers to ease this burden, by offering trustworthy, reliable support at all times. 

Project managers should be able to feel confident that they will always have easy access to high-quality, reliable equipment backed up by market leading 24/7/365 support from industry experts – which is exactly what we offer at Access Hire and Access Lease.

With over 200 years’ combined experience, we understand how important trust and support is for rail and other key infrastructure projects. We are therefore dedicated to ensuring we offer peerless service and support to every single project we partner with.

We are looking forward to bringing our Vehicle Mounted Access Platform expertise to the event, and learning lots from the many other impressive attendees.

Kelling Group will also be represented at Rail Live by our Sister Company – Welfare Hire.  Find out more about their innovative equipment here.

Innovative Welfare Units – Step Inside Without Leaving Your Desk

Eco10 Welfare Unit

Mobile welfare units are often simply considered a matter of Health and Safety compliance. But the truth is, the facilities you hire can be a defining factor of your project, setting the tone from the get-go and determining what kind of environment your site will become. 

The best mobile welfare units provide a comfortable space for workers, making them feel safe and valued – and that directly impacts staff wellbeing, motivation and productivity. So choosing the right welfare pod is not merely a case of reading about the unit’s capacity or ecological efficiency – it’s about understanding how the units add value

This is exactly why we pride ourselves on providing a fully immersive 360° virtual tour that allows you to step inside our welfare units. Because while our range is designed to cover all needs, and you can pick and choose depending on your site requirements, it’s still vital that you understand the kind of environment you’ll be creating.   

Why we created the immersive 360° virtual tour  of our welfare units

In an ideal world, we’d let every customer come and test out our welfare unit in person – that direct experience has always been a big part of our customer service. 

But let’s be honest: we don’t live in an ideal world right now, and that means we need to find new ways of showing our customers exactly what it is they’re hiring. 

We pride ourselves on having the largest, most modern and innovative fleet of mobile welfare units in the UK, so it’s only fitting that we solve the problems COVID has presented in an equally innovative way. 

How does the virtual tour work?

We’ve designed the virtual tour to give you as much control as possible: you can click on the ground to ‘walk’ through our showroom, and you can control the view of the camera so it really feels like you’re moving around inside the range of welfare hire products

We’ve ensured you can get an inside look at the ECO7, ECO10 and ECO14 mobile welfare units. That means you can see the various innovative features – like the smart water WCs, separate offices and XL spaces – up close and personal. And as you explore, you’ll notice various information icons: you can click on the info points to read in more detail about the feature you’re looking at.  

We want you to see what makes our ECO units unique

There are lots of things we want our customers to know about the unique benefits our mobile welfare units offer – in particular their positive ecological impact. But there’s only so much you can read before it starts to feel abstract. 

We hope being able to actually immerse yourself in our welfare units will help you truly understand how they can positively impact your site. 

So step inside our innovative welfare units for hire, and see how it feels: 

World Environment Day – Saturday 5th June


The advantages of eco friendly welfare units. How Welfare Hire’s welfare units are helping businesses contribute towards a healthier planet.

World Environment Day is the United Nations’ day for encouraging awareness globally of the need to protect our environment.  Its purpose is to raise the profile of the responsibility of governments, businesses, and individual citizens alike to each play their part in transforming the world in which we live.

To keep global warming beneath the target of less than 2C above the pre-industrial average, businesses must play a leading role so our societies and economies can transition to a model that is sustainable and beneficial for all.

At Welfare Hire, our commitment to delivering some of the most sustainable, eco-friendly welfare units on the market has been entrenched in our values for years. As a result, we consistently deliver award winning welfare units for hire that are considered by our customers as peerless, contribute towards a healthier planet, and offer businesses significant cost savings as a result.

Here are some of the features you can find on our range of welfare units that help contribute towards a healthier environment:

Our mobile welfare units have smart water systems which means efficient water usage on your site.

Efficient Water Usage 

Our welfare units are fitted with XL Smart Water Systems which means we can provide up to 4x more hot water for our ceramic water flush toilets and handwashing facilities, but also our toilets are typically only 40% full after a given week compared to the chemical alternatives.  

What is often overlooked is the reduced requirement for service call outs and the associated carbon costs of vehicles driving to site to carry out this essential maintenance as a result.

Not only does this drive down carbon emissions and therefore a business’ overall carbon footprint, but there are also significant cost savings to be had particularly when extrapolated across multiple sites and for extended periods.

fuel reduction advantages of a mobile welfare unit

Reductions in Fuel Consumption

With some of the most technologically advanced welfare units on the market, Welfare Hire is responsible for driving down the emissions of its welfare units with its market leading hybrid power systems.  

So advanced is the technology deployed in our welfare units that we are known to save up to 90% of the fuel required when compared with traditional, standard onsite units.

reduce your carbon footprint on your site with an eco friendly mobile welfare unit from Kelling Group

Greener Footprint

Our Mobile welfare units are designed to be more easily transported both to and from site and easily moved whilst on site themselves.  This is having a major impact on the reduction of harmful emissions and is why Welfare Hire is seen as leading the way in its sector on tackling such problems.

With towable welfare units, which can be set down in less than six seconds, Welfare Hire have done away with the need for HGVs and now operate a smarter, greener fleet of ULEZ pick-ups for transportation and location whilst on site.

Welfare Hire, as part of the Kelling Group, are committed to helping businesses improve their carbon efficiency.  To see the full range of eco-friendly mobile welfare units and welfare vans please browse the range or take our virtual tour.