There are times when news stories start to rain down like meteoroids, entering the atmosphere in a rush of heat and light.
The steel industry is in crisis; there have been thousands of job losses announced, by different companies, within days, blamed on the high cost of electricity, tough carbon emission rules and cheap steel imports. Whole towns and cities in the North and Scotland are facing the demise of the plants and mills that sustain their local economies - and local families.
Like a meteor, this crisis has been hurtling towards us at speed, but the mainstream news media didn’t start reporting on it until it was within striking distance and job losses were imminent.
Marathon not a sprint
Construction News has been reporting for more than two years on divisions among steel fabricators over increasing imports of Chinese rebar - expressed as concerns over safety and price.
Now, with the Chinese premier in town, calls are mounting for David Cameron to raise the issue over the smoked fish at the state banquet.
“We all know that the reason the Chinese premier is being given the royal treatment is the government’s openly stated aim of securing greater Chinese investment”
The government says it is doing everything it can, but that it can’t control global markets, can’t change EU rules on state aid and can’t do anything about the strength of sterling.
Some argue there are other measures ministers could take.
And, of course, we all know that the reason the Chinese premier is being given the royal treatment is the government’s openly stated aim of securing greater Chinese investment – and probably wider involvement – in UK infrastructure.
Contractors have remained largely silent on the issue so far.
For UK construction, rather like politicians, there are both positive and negative consequences of global markets and international investment. The cost of inputs, relationships with the supply chain and the availability of projects are all factors to be weighed up.
Is it time to consider your position? The news stories will keep coming - and the sparks will continue to fly.
Construction News Awards 2016 incoming
It’s that time of year when we issue the initial call for entries to the Construction News Awards 2016.
As the industry’s biggest and most prestigious awards, this is your chance to show our judging panel - full of the UK’s top clients - what makes your project, your business or your initiative the best.
We have chosen the awards’ strapline - People, Pride, Passion - because we know what you are all about. Make sure the whole industry does too.
Check out the criteria - including two new categories - at awards.cnplus.co.uk