Charities Lineham Farm, 4 Louis and Yorkshire Air Ambulance visit Kelling Group

Kelling Group has welcomed representatives from our three Chairman’s Charities recently, as our first year of supporting them came to a close.  We were extremely proud to be able to donate almost £27,000 to the charities from the fundraising efforts of our employees.

Chairman John Wood (centre) and CEO Stephen Moore (4th from right), with members of the Charity Board, present Kelling’s donation to Bob McGurrell (2nd from left) & Tracey McGurrell (3rd from right) of 4 Louis, Jenny Jones (3rd from left) of Lineham Farm and Vickie Bowden (2nd from right) of Yorkshire Air Ambulance.

Whilst here, the representatives chatted to members of the Kelling team to update them on the important work they do and to exchange ideas about how we can support them further in the coming year. 

“These three charities all carry out incredible work helping our communities.  They focus on different issues, but all depend entirely on donations to provide their vital services to people in need,” commented John Wood, Kelling Group Chairman.

The three charities that Kelling Group support are Lineham Farm, 4 Louis and the Yorkshire Air Ambulance:

Leeds Children’s Charity at Lineham Farm works with and supports some of the most disadvantaged children in the City, offering respite from difficult and sometimes abusive home lives. They are dedicated to brightening children’s lives by providing unforgettable breaks and valuable learning experiences in a safe and happy environment. Leeds Children’s Charity at Lineham Farm

4 Louis is a charity providing useful tools, training, and equipment free of charge to hospital units, hospices, and other professionals, which support families affected by miscarriage, stillbirth or the death of a baby or child.   Started in the Sunderland area, 4 Louis now supports families across the UK. 4Louis – Stillbirth, Childloss

Yorkshire Air Ambulance is a dedicated helicopter emergency air ambulance for the Yorkshire and Humber region. It currently operates two Airbus H145 aircrafts and relies solely on donations to keep both ambulances in the air. Yorkshire Air ambulance Charity | YAA | Donate Today

Throughout the year, Kelling Group employees undertook a wide range of activities to raise money for the charities.  These included taking part in the Yorkshire 3 peaks and Lands End to John O’Groats challenges, bake sales, raffles and football cards.  The company vending machine also raises money as does a specially branded welfare unit that is hired out to customers.

“The team here were so touched by the work that the charities do, they really got behind the drive to raise money for them,” continued John.  “There are lots of great ideas that we’re considering for the coming year, so we’ll be carrying on the effort and hope to raise even more money!”

The special charity welfare unit, which customers can hire to contribute to Kelling’s charity fundraising drive.

Five Important Ways to Improve Safety in the Forestry Industry

Physical safety is among the biggest challenges for the forestry industry. In the last decade, 24 arborists have been killed while working – and nearly 1,400 have suffered an injury¹. It currently ranks as the industry with the most fatal accidents in the UK – with 8 times more than the second placed Construction ².

Of course, some level of risk is inevitable in an industry where individuals are working at heights and operating equipment like chainsaws and often working alone. But there are many decisions project managers and leaders can make to ensure their people are safe and secure.

In this article, we explore five important ways Welfare Hire and Access Hire help equip our forestry partners for improved safety, using our range of vehicle mounted access platforms, mobile welfare units and mobile lighting towers:

1. Secure vehicles for working at heights

Falling from heights accounts for nearly a quarter of all workplace deaths in the UK³, and is the single most common cause of injury in forestry. This means extra attention needs to be paid to the vehicles and equipment used to undertake such work.

Access Hire’s market-leading Vehicle Mounted Access Platforms provide the robust support workers need to work at heights. With two person baskets and advanced platform controls, workers feel in control and able to navigate challenging conditions with confidence.

2. Comfortable space to rest

The links between poor quality rest and accidents in the workplace are well established. But in an industry like forestry, onsite errors can lead to far more severe outcomes than most.

Welfare Hire’s innovative mobile welfare units are designed to ensure this is never an issue. They provide up to 20% more internal space for rest, along with a range of vital amenities, comfortable seating and high-quality facilities, so your people are always able to relax during down time and stay present on the job.

3. High-quality lighting towers

Working during periods without natural light is vital to deliver most forestry projects. But this leaves you vulnerable to lighting failure – which not only causes disruptions, but can lead to health and safety risks.

Welfare Hire’s eco-friendly lighting towers provide the perfect solution, providing high-quality, energy efficient light that allows you to keep the work area properly lit at all times. The X-EcoHYBRID LITHIUM lighting tower, for example, offers a whopping 445 hours of continuous light per refill.

4. Reliable support

Equipment failure causes disruption to forestry projects – especially those that are in very remote, difficult-to-reach locations. But it also presents a risk to onsite safety, as malfunctioning equipment may lead to accidents or errors.

This is particularly so given the environmental challenges faced by forestry projects; in a recent survey, 15% of forestry professionals cited “Mother Nature” as the single biggest challenge they face.

As a result, these businesses must have reliable support on hand to handle any issues their specialist equipment presents. Both Welfare Hire and Access Hire provide just such help, with 24/7 dedicated expert support available to every client

Kelling Group Access Hire Maintenance

5. Regular service and maintenance

Reliable support is important, but so are preventative measures. That is why Welfare Hire and Access Hire each also pride themselves on providing regular, rigorous maintenance on all of our vehicles that goes above and beyond the regulatory standards.

We take care of LOLER testing of our vehicle mounted access platforms; every welfare unit undergoes a 62-point pre-delivery inspection; every vehicle mounted access platform undergoes a 50-point pre-delivery inspection; and we ensure seamless delivery of every vehicle, to keep our customers working at all times

1.https://www.hse.gov.uk/treework/areyou/tree-surgeon.htm
2.https://www.forestryjournal.co.uk/news/20269825.forestry-among-highest-rate-deaths-work-related-accidents-uk/
3.https://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/pdf/fatalinjuries.pdf
4.https://www.forestryjournal.co.uk/news/20269825.forestry-among-highest-rate-deaths-work-related-accidents-uk/
5.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK525209/
6.https://www.treeservicesmagazine.com/tree-care-management/industry-survey-results-2017-outlook/

Four Key Trends in Rail for 2022

The UK railway sector is among the country’s proudest and most robust industries. It contributes £42.9 billion to the national economy, supporting roughly 710,000 jobs¹ and facilitating 990 million passenger journeys annually²

But what challenges does the industry face? And how can ambitious organisations secure their success in the coming years?

COVID-19 necessitated extreme restrictions, essentially flatlining much of the industry. Yet by the end of 2021, things appeared to be back on track. Confidence in the rail industry had returned to pre-2019 levels, with almost half of all rail businesses expecting healthy growth throughout 2022³.

In this article, we explore four key trends that will define the rail sector over the next 12 months.

1. Supply chain disruption

Supply chain disruptions are wreaking havoc on a number of industries – and few expect the problem to disappear any time soon. With a huge shortage of HGV drivers, logistics firms face a genuine crisis, bringing about severe delays in deliveries and a dramatic dip in economic activity.

This presents rail providers with an opportunity. According to industry estimates, a single standard-length train can take the same load as up to 76 trucks. And while plenty of supply chains already utilise rail freight, the current crisis has prompted many organisations to radically rethink their supply chain management – with an appreciation of the relative reliability and resilience of rail. 

Currently, just 17% of the UK’s freight is shipping via rail – well below the global average of 29%. But the UK government hopes to encourage more firms to utilise rail, with the Mode Shift Revenue Support scheme providing funds for organisations looking to introduce rail to their supply chains

To capitalise on this, rail operators must be able to properly position themselves. Rail removes the need for 7 million lorry journeys each year, and produces 76% less carbon than road transport. In fact, a recent report from Deloitte showed that each rail freight path on the network has an economic value of up to £1.5 million per year.

By showcasing these facts, rail operators can win more business and expand their impact across the UK economy.

2. Sustainability

Rail is a relatively sustainable option compared to other transport industries, responsible for just 4% of global transport emissions¹⁰. But that doesn’t mean the industry can become complacent, as Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) scores are likely to become even more essential in the future – and organisations will have to demonstrate their efforts to further mitigate their impact. 

The most common policy suggestion for making railways more sustainable is electrification, as 29% of UK trains still run on diesel¹¹. The Rail Industry Association has already publicly stated that the UK is not electrifying its railways fast enough to meet current net-zero targets¹² – a fact not helped by the Treasury’s decision to block a planned £30 billion investment in railway electrification¹³. But the truth is electrification cannot by itself suffice.

Rail providers need to address the greenhouse gas emissions throughout their entire value chain, in various upstream and downstream activities – from the production of rolling stock and infrastructure work to which Vehicle Mounted Access Platforms they use on-site.

By reducing reliance on diesel, utilising more renewables and ensuring third-party partners have strong environmental credentials, rail providers can further buffer their claim to be a truly sustainable alternative to other forms of transport.

3. Improving customer experience

Rail is responsible for just 8% of the UK’s public’s travel – nearly half of the 14% global average¹⁴. And many experts believe this is due to poor Customer Experience (CX), citing everything from a perceived lack of punctuality to uncomfortable seating. In fact, a recent report confirmed that UK rail passengers believe they receive very poor value for money¹⁵.

There are two key drivers here: ticket price and service quality. 

3a. Ticket price

March saw the biggest train fare rise in 9 years¹⁶, and reports already suggest that certain ticket prices could increase a further 12% by 2023¹⁷

All of this is happening amidst heavily publicised rail worker strikes. Billed as the most important protest in decades, roughly 80% of services were scrapped¹⁸ – causing disruption across the entire country. Rail providers therefore find themselves stuck between a rock and a hard place, choosing between keeping prices down for consumers whilst maintaining relations with their workforce.

3b. Service quality

Rail providers must deliver a more reliable, comfortable experience. Customer expectations are increasing quickly, especially with the launch of new, more modernised services. From wheelchair accessibility to air conditioning, providers are under growing pressure to upgrade their service.

Much of this will be driven by the adoption of digital technology. A recent EY report found that using real-time data to manage capacity could help avoid overcrowding and deliver a more comfortable experience for passengers¹⁹.

4. Modernisation

From Build Back Better to the “Levelling Up” agenda, the UK government has made clear its intentions to invest in improved infrastructure – including modernising the railways. This is most clearly embodied in the Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail, a detailed summary of plans to “replace franchising, accelerate innovation and integrate the railways to deliver a more efficient and financially sustainable railway sector²⁰.”

These are not new efforts, of course. Network Rail’s Railway Upgrade Plan has invested billions of pounds to improve and expand their infrastructure and service delivery since 2014²¹, and will continue to lead the way. 

In 2022, the organisation plans to make a huge range of improvements to its service, from reducing accident risk by 10% and making a 28% reduction in the number of delayed trains to responding more quickly to customer complaints and increasing their workforce’s gender diversity²². The company invested £83 million in 503 railway projects during Easter 2022 alone²³.

The main difference today is the degree of support these efforts will receive from the government – and a push to end the “Fragmentation” of efforts. Just this month, the Department of Transport (DfT) began drawing up legislation to reform the UK’s rail services and infrastructure²⁴, with a mandate to unite all modernisation efforts behind a single “guiding mind”²⁵.

Whatever the legislative outcome, these decisions will have a lasting impact on every organisation involved in the railway sector. And for those that want to gain an advantage, preparing for change is the only viable option.

1.https://www.oxfordeconomics.com/resource/the-economic-contribution-of-uk-rail/
2.https://dataportal.orr.gov.uk/statistics/usage/passenger-rail-usage/
3.https://www.railfreight.com/business/2021/11/05/railway-industry-confidence-returns-in-uk/
4.https://think.ing.com/articles/supply-chain-pressure-to-persist-through-2022/
5.https://www.dpworld.com/southampton/news/latest-blogs/blog-detail-page/rail-is-the-answer-to-supply-chain-resilience-in-britain
6.https://www.bcg.com/publications/2022/riding-the-rails-to-the-future-of-sustainability
7.https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/department-for-transport-delivers-more-grant-funding-to-transport-freight-by-rail
8.https://www.dpworld.com/southampton/news/latest-blogs/blog-detail-page/rail-is-the-answer-to-supply-chain-resilience-in-britain
9.https://www.railfreight.com/business/2021/04/29/the-value-of-rail-freight-report-offers-new-appraisal-of-rail/
10.https://www.bcg.com/publications/2022/riding-the-rails-to-the-future-of-sustainability
11.https://mpa.co.uk/uk-rail-sector-on-track-to-diesel-free-trains/#:~:text=According%20to%20the%20latest%20government,run%20almost%20entirely%20on%20it.
12.https://www.railfreight.com/policy/2021/10/18/uk-electrification-is-far-too-slow-says-industry/
13.https://www.newcivilengineer.com/latest/30bn-rail-electrification-plan-blocked-by-treasury-13-12-2021/
14.https://www.bcg.com/publications/2022/riding-the-rails-to-the-future-of-sustainability
15.https://www.globalrailwayreview.com/article/99860/ketech-explore-customer-experience-increased-rail-travel/
16.https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-60559514
17.https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10788639/UK-train-ticket-prices-cost-rail-travel-set-soar-nearly-12-year.html
18.https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2022/jun/22/rail-strikes-travel-disruption-across-uk-fallout-continues
19.https://www.ey.com/en_uk/emobility/how-uk-travel-preferences-are-evolving-since-covid-19
20.https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/great-british-railways-williams-shapps-plan-for-rail
21.https://www.networkrail.co.uk/running-the-railway/railway-upgrade-plan/
22.https://www.triptex.co.uk/news/network-rails-railway-upgrade-plan-2022/
23.https://www.railadvent.co.uk/2022/03/plan-ahead-83m-to-be-invested-in-530-railway-projects-this-easter.html
24.https://www.newcivilengineer.com/latest/great-british-railways-dft-begins-consultation-on-legislation-for-rail-reform-10-06-2022/?tkn=1
25.https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/research-briefings/cbp-8961/

Could You Be Doing More to Support Your Employees’ Health?

At Welfare Hire and Access Hire, we believe Men’s Health week is amongst the most important events of the year. The construction industry has a profound responsibility to better protect its health. And this week is all about raising awareness of that fact. 

Mental health is a particular issue. As our research has shown, 40% of construction worker absences are due to poor mental health. And 64% of construction workers say they want their employers to provide more mental health support.

In this article, we help contractors and leaders understand how they can do that – by explore five key ways they can promote better health onsite:

1. Enable comfort

Comfort is not something you immediately associate with construction sites: they are seen as tough environments where hard gets done. But the reality is, enabling a greater sense of physical comfort for employees plays a vital role in keeping workers healthy and happy.

That is why Welfare Hire has focused so heavily on developing state-of-the-art mobile welfare units. By providing more space – and more comfort within that space – we help ensure workers have the proper support to refuel and relax during gruelling shifts.

2. Promote physical safety

Construction sites are notoriously dangerous places to work: the rate of injury for onsite workers is 4x higher than the average¹, and the industry experiences the highest number of workplace fatalities annually².

Instead, businesses must seek long-term solutions – the most obvious of which would be to This is why Access Hire has gone to such great lengths to provide detailed information about onsite safety. By helping you operate Vehicle Mounted Access Platforms more safely, we ensure your workers not only are safe – but they feel it.

3. Psychological safety

The concept of psychological safety is vital for a healthy workplace. It refers to individuals’ sense that they can discuss their feelings or struggles without risking harm – be that actual punishment or social stigma.

This is particularly relevant to the construction industry, as it has often fostered a stoic culture in which workers feel unable to express themselves for fear of being perceived as weak. Only 5% of the total UK workforce that suffers from a mental health condition tell their employers – and that number is significantly lower in construction.

4. Provide flexibility

87% of employees expect their employer to support them in balancing work with their personal commitments. Construction shifts can be guelling, both mentally and physically. Allowing workers to have a meaningful life outside of work is therefore essential

The key to doing this is flexibility. By giving workers more control over their shift patterns, you enable them to choose how they want to balance work with their personal commitments – and give them the space and scope to do so.

5. Don’t overlook management

It is common to emphasise the average employee when discussing workplace health and wellbeing. But research shows that 90% of construction bosses report experiencing mental health issues because of work.

Much of this is down to difficulties in managing a complex worksite. And one way to take this burden off managers’ shoulders is by ensuring that the various partners and providers you work with are both high quality and trustworthy.

At Welfare Hire and Access Hire, we pride ourselves on making life easier for managers. Every one of our vehicles comes with round the clock support, ongoing maintenance and expert advice. We help managers make the best possible decisions – and give them access to the best fleet of specialist vehicles on the market.

If you’d like to learn more about how our offering could improve your employees’ health, contact sales today.

1.https://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/industry/construction.pdf
2.https://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/fatals.htm

Why Safety and Health at Work Is Essential to Construction

The construction sector employs over 3 million people in the UK¹. And every single one of them deserves to arrive at their worksite each morning knowing that their safety and health will be properly taken care of.

That is why World Day for Safety and Health at Work is so important to us. Each year, an average of seven workers die as a result of accidents involving vehicles on construction sites, and a further 93 are seriously injured²

We believe it is our responsibility to help put an end to this. At Kelling, we pride ourselves on not only providing market-leading Vehicle Mounted Access Platforms and Mobile Welfare Units – but truly partnering with our clients to create the best possible environment onsite.

In this article, we explore five key safety and health challenges construction and infrastructure projects face, as well as offering tips to reduce risk and keep workers safe.

Vehicle Mounted Access Platform Safety

1. Working from heights

The most common onsite safety risk is working from heights. It is responsible for nearly one third of all fatal onsite accidents³.

From unstable surfaces to incorrect use of ladders or overstretching, there are a number of risks to individuals working at heights. There is also the risk that workers will drop equipment from heights, which puts those on the ground in danger too.

The key to ensuring safety when working from heights is proper preparation. The UK government’s guidance is clear: management should assess risks; put in place safety equipment such as fall restraints and safety nets; and provide the most reliable access vehicles and equipment on the market.

 

KELLING GROUP WELFARE HIRE SAFETY TIP BLOG

2. Unpredictable conditions

Because most construction and infrastructure projects are undertaken outside, the physical conditions we face are a significant factor. From changing weather to sloping ground, there are a number of ways these conditions can create safety risks.

These are particularly important when working from heights. Before operating Vehicle Mounted Access Platforms or other access vehicles, operators should: assess the weather, to avoid strong winds and heavy rain; inspect the ground to ensure it is secure and there is plenty of space; and assess the surroundings to ensure there are no hazards, such as high cables.

Mobile Welfare Unit Drying Room

3. Visibility

It is easy for workers to unknowingly put themselves in danger if operations are not clear and communication is poor. Many accidents occur because personnel, vehicles or equipment are simply not visible enough. 

This is why high-visibility Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) must be mandatory at all times onsite. Leaders should go a step further, and ensure every vehicle features flashing beacons and rear chevrons – both of which are included as a standard on all Kelling Group vehicles.

Kelling Group Access Hire Maintenance

4. Malfunctioning equipment

The first three risks we’ve explored are directly within the control of onsite personnel. But another key risk to construction and infrastructure workers is malfunctioning, poorly maintained vehicles and equipment.

A single failure in a Vehicle Mounted Access Platform can result in serious dangers. Maintenance on these vehicles is costly and difficult to manage and remain compliant as they are a specialist piece of equipment. 

To create a truly safe onsite environment, vehicles and equipment must be more carefully maintained. This is why Kelling Group includes regular maintenance and 24/7 support on every vehicle we rent or lease – so no personnel ever have to question the safety of their equipment.

5. Hygiene and welfare

While physical safety is generally prioritised on construction and infrastructure sites, it’s important to recognise that health extends beyond merely avoiding accidents. Instead, it involves efforts to keep workers healthy and happy.

This is why quality mobile welfare units are essential on any truly safe site. From hot water basins and non-chemical, water-flush ceramic WCs to large, comfortable spaces for workers to relax and socialise in, our mobile welfare units are designed to ensure maximum hygiene and mental wellbeing onsite.

If you’d like to discover how Kelling Group can make your site safer and more profitable, reach out to our sales team today.

1.https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/construction-sector-deal/construction-sector-deal#:~:text=The%20construction%20sector%20is%20one,over%209%25%20of%20the%20workforce.
2.https://www.hse.gov.uk/construction/safetytopics/vehiclestrafficmanagement.htm
3.https://safetyaccess.co.uk/news/the-safety-risks-of-working-at-height/#:~:text=Work%20carried%20out%20at%20height%20is%20responsible%20for%20nearly%20one,can%20drop%20equipment%20from%20height.
4.https://www.hse.gov.uk/construction/safetytopics/workingatheight.htm

Two Years On: How COVID-19 Has Changed Construction Sites For the Better

It will be several years until we fully understand the impact of COVID-19. But as construction continues to recover, we are starting to see the legacy of lockdown has had on the industry.

From increasing employee flexibility to a trend towards more innovative welfare units, there are a number of ways the pandemic has altered leaders’ priorities and preferences. And in this article, we explore three ways this has changed sites for the better.

1. Embracing technology

The pandemic has accelerated digital adoption across the vast majority of industries. But in construction – an industry historically resistant to change – the embrace of digital has had a very striking impact. 

From a boom in remote working to the implementation of project management software, lockdowns have forced construction firms to adapt. The Oxford Business Review argues that this will be a key part of future efforts to introduce younger workers and confront skills gaps¹.

The hope is it will galvanise greater investments in innovation moving forward. From Vehicle Mounted Access Platforms to mobile welfare units, there are a range of innovative products on the market which could radically improve construction sites.

2. Emphasis on employee welfare

According to HSE, stress, depression, & anxiety remains the second highest cause of work-related ill health within the construction industry.² This makes sense: the workplace is unusually dangerous, and most construction sites have historically been defined by stoicism and a lack of openness.

The pandemic has shed vital light on these issues. Employee health and wellbeing have become increasingly central to conversations about the workplace. And this will carry on well into the future. 

We expect to see increased flexibility for workers; more hygenic onsite facilities; increased welfare space for employee downtime; and greater efforts to tackle the stigma around mental health.

3. Collaboration and resilience

Perhaps more than anything, lockdowns have demonstrated to the construction industry just how quickly things can change. From the initial challenges of lockdown to the more recent supply chain crisis, businesses have had to be adaptable in ways previously unthinkable.

In many cases, the result has been heartening. We’ve seen an increase in collaboration, with many organisations sharing best practice on health and safety of the workforce and managing contractual disputes.³ 

It has also placed a renewed emphasis on trust and the importance of picking strong partners. Businesses are heavily reliant on their suppliers – from raw materials to welfare units. And in the wake of COVID-19, choosing partners that will genuinely support them has become a priority for many organisations.

1.https://oxfordbusinessreview.org/accelerating-construction-how-the-covid-19-pandemic-has-helped-further-the-construction-industrys-use-of-digital-technology/ 2.https://www.shponline.co.uk/mental-health/organisations-worldwide-set-to-increase-investment-in-employee-mental-health/ 3.https://oxfordbusinessreview.org/accelerating-construction-how-the-covid-19-pandemic-has-helped-further-the-construction-industrys-use-of-digital-technology/

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/

Kelling Brings Our Innovative Fleet to Highways UK 2021

Kelling Group Access Hire Highway

Kelling has had a stellar run of trade show appearances in recent months, and we’re excited to add yet another prestigious event to the list – Highways UK. 

It is the undisputed highlight on the highway industry’s annual calendar, bringing together countless experts and suppliers for a huge, multi-stream exhibition. This year’s event will be held on Wednesday 3rd and Thursday 4th November, at the NEC Hall in Birmingham.

Both Welfare Hire and Access Hire will be exhibiting

Highways is one the core infrastructure sectors we work with at Kelling, ensuring transient and fast-moving projects have access to the vehicles they need without compromising on quality. So we are bringing both of our key brands to the event.

Kelling Group Welfare Hire Units

Welfare Hire will be exhibiting our range of innovative ECO Tower Lights and ECO Mobile Welfare Units – including the brand new EcoXLi. These products offer a variety of benefits for highway projects, optimising sustainable site setup, improving both worksite comfort and environmental impact. And our Tower Lights enable you to work 24/7 with the brightest and greenest solution in the market.

Kelling Group Access Hire Units

Access Hire will be exhibiting our industry-leading Vehicle Mounted Access Platforms, designed to provide the optimal safety solution for working at heights. For highways projects, reliable service and quality is vital to ensure your project is completed safely, on time and on budget.

We look forward to connecting with key partners in this vital industry and hearing from experts on important topics like sustainability. But most of all, we look forward to demonstrating what our innovative fleet can do for highways projects.

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 

Construction & Civil Engineer magazine features Kelling Group

Construction & Civil Engineer magazine features Kelling Group

A hire power

The UK’s leading hirer of mobile eco welfare units and vehicle mounted access platforms, to infrastructure sectors, Kelling Group is setting the standard for modern, environmentally-conscious specialist equipment hire. The business prides itself on providing clients with the most modern, innovative, eco-friendly specialist assets in the market. Last year, the group invested c. £20m in fleet with a similar investment anticipated in the next 12 months.

A true innovator in its field, Kelling Group is a specialist equipment hire business built on five key pillars: Quality, Service, Environment, Wellbeing and Value. Backed by dedicated ‘Kelling Guarantees’ for each principle, the Group vows to hire out only market-leading vehicles and equipment, at the most competitive rates, and with premium levels of nationwide customer support. Kelling’s specialist units are designed to maximise smart and effective working, with the Group also offering some of the cleanest and greenest products on the market – many of which include the UK’s first Lithium hybrid power, solar panels and fuel saving systems – with CO₂ reduction rates more than 15 times the industry standard.

Kelling is a strategic investor in core infrastructure sectors, such as rail, highways, power, telecoms, utilities and civil’s projects. The Group has two specialist equipment divisions: Access Hire Nationwide, which specialises in vehicle mounted access platforms, and Welfare Hire Nationwide, focusing on mobile eco welfare units, welfare vans and lighting. As a Group, Kelling and its subsidiaries have invested in some of the sector’s most advanced vehicles and equipment.

“We have the largest and most modern fleet in the UK in our chosen specialist areas of focus,” says Stephen Moore, Group CEO. “Our strategy is to partner with our clients, providing the best a and service for critical infrastructure projects in the UK.”

The Group also aims to become the industry’s most eco-conscious operator coinciding with growing calls for businesses to hit new carbon emission targets, as well as increase their focus on sustainability. As a result, more and more major authorities and organisations, including HS2, Network Rail, and Highways England, see Kelling as a key partner in helping them achieve their environmental and CSR goals.

Andy Grayshon, Commercial Director Welfare Hire, states: “The average age of our assets is two and a half years, and the maximum age is five years. Along with a unique design, our mobile Eco welfare range uses the latest in hybrid power technology and smart water systems, and we tow all our units with our own fleet of low cost, low carbon, modern delivery pick-ups.”

“Our products can make an immediate positive environmental impact,” Grayshon says. “One example of this is the use of Smart XL Water ceramic toilets and services. Traditional welfare units have chemical toilets that are required to be serviced weekly. On top of that, their tank sizes are relatively small – typically around 50 to 80 litres – so you will often be at full capacity very quickly. Our Smart XL Water system, on the other hand, is used as part of a water flushing process like you have at home or in an office, with the tank being up to four times bigger, more hygienic, and longer lasting. This helps to decrease the need for disposal services, and therefore, reduces transport journeys being made to and from the site by around 60 per cent. If you think about that, by using our eco products, you are eliminating hundreds of thousands of tonnes of CO₂ annually.

“A second differentiator is our use of smart hybrid power,” Grayshon adds. “We were actually the first in the market to introduce Lithium hybrid power for our units, allowing customers to run off battery power for longer and, consequently, further decreasing reliance on a generator. It means our products can reduce a contractor’s carbon footprint, fuel usage, costs, and even noise pollution. Typically, with our smart hybrid power management, you can achieve up to 94 per cent running time on battery and even guarantee silent running overnight. Fuel usage and costs for many clients drop to as little as one pence per day.

“Finally, while many competitors are using HGVs to deliver their units, we are using our own fleet of modern, Euro VI compliant, low-emission pick-ups, driven by our own experts. This provides efficiencies in terms of site access, flexibility in delivery, and faster set-up times. Our units can now be set up in just six seconds, which is much quicker than anyone else in the market, as well as creating a much smaller carbon footprint. The upshot is that in 2021, all our collections, deliveries and relocations will be quick, easy, low cost and low emission.”

Though many companies quote the environmental benefits of their products, not one of Kelling’s competitors can lay claim to Welfare Hire’s Smart XL Water or Lithium hybrid power systems. Always looking for ways to improve, the Group recently added telemetry to its capabilities, allowing for smarter, more effective remote management of its assets. The result is an unrivalled package of innovative products with a premium service that continues to attract the UK’s biggest and most successful infrastructure firms.

“Some of our latest work has come with utilities contractors as part of the AMP7 national framework,” Grayshon states. “We are also working with Network Rail, as well as a variety of SME and Tier One contractors on CP6, a key rail framework.”

“Kelling is also keen to invest in people, developing skills and expanding its workforce. Over the last 12-18 months, we have continued to recruit, expanding the team so that Kelling can offer more dedicated service, sales and customer support. As we move forward into 2021 and beyond, we’ll continue to invest in the business and core infrastructure areas,” states Moore.

Before each one of its welfare units is delivered to a client, it undergoes a 62-point inspection regime encompassing all manner of mechanical, electrical and functional pre-hire checks to ensure that the product is of a quality beyond the industry norm.

“Going above and beyond in our service is a vital part of maintaining high quality assets, and the work that goes into that requires investment and efficient processes,” Grayshon asserts. “We do everything we can to make sure that our units show up on time, that they work in the way they are supposed to work, and that our clients can rely on the quality of the kit. That’s why we also plough substantial investment into the updating of our fleet, and ensuring that it meets the needs of our clients.”

Of course, though Welfare Hire and its products prove increasingly popular, the business is not Kelling’s sole focus; the Group’s other subsidiary, Access Hire, is an equally thriving operation. Another market-leader in its specialism, Access Hire has a fleet approaching 1,000 vehicle mounted access platforms for safe working at heights of up to 16.5 metres. As well as efficiently serving Kelling’s main infrastructure sectors in telecoms and power, Access Hire also provides solutions for CCTV installation, facilities management and tree surgery – all supported by customer service available 24/7, 365 days a year.

Access Hire was ranked number one for vehicle mounted access platforms in the UK in November 2020 by Cranes & Access magazine. Martin Whitehead, Sales Director Access Hire, states: “Access Hire is the market leader in VMAP hire in the UK. We continually invest and have the largest and most modern fleet in the market, working with our clients to ensure not only the best, most modern assets, but also first class service, which is vital when providing specialist equipment to critical infrastructure markets.”

As part of its brand promise, Kelling pledges to provide quality products and services, unmatched value, and optimal wellbeing onsite – all whilst minimising the environmental impact on our planet. Commitment to this promise has been a key part of the Group’s success over the years, and the importance of the mission remains unchanged in 2021 as Kelling and its subsidiaries move into the future with ambitions for more growth.

“Kelling Group has grown organically, and in some respects under the radar as we’ve quietly gone about our business,” Moore comments. “More people are now becoming aware of us and that’s great because we have some genuinely unique propositions. We can add a lot of value around innovation, sustainability, quality and wellbeing. In the next three to five years, we will become even more established in the market, working in partnership with key clients in our core infrastructure sectors. With our help, we know that our partners across the UK will be able to deliver smarter and more modern approaches to their projects to help future proof their business.”