Brexit and main contractor woes accounted for four of our top five opinion articles in 2016, along with a look at ISG’s new in-house app.
EU flag tear break exit European Union flag Brexit referendum
The EU referendum dominated so much industry discussion in 2016 that it’s no surprise to see an article written in its immediate aftermath topping our list.
Chris Hallam, partner at law firm Nabarro, penned the piece, which lamented the decision to vote for Brexit that had emerged overnight.
He considered the potential negative consequences of Brexit and what it might mean for construction.
He concluded: “In terms of the legal consequences, well who knows, but it’s sure to mean lots and lots of work for lawyers around the UK.
“As a partner in a large UK and international law firm, maybe this should make me happy. It doesn’t.”
Adrian Ringrose chief executive Interserve
In November, Adrian Ringrose announced his surprise departure as CEO of Interserve.
The weeks leading up to the news had seen a number of senior figures at major contractors changing jobs, noted editor Rebecca Evans.
But Mr Ringrose was the longest-serving CEO of any top 10 contractor – and a day later, another announcement followed which revealed that Interserve had been served notice of its termination on its Glasgow Recycling and Renewable Energy project.
This piece argues that his departure didn’t represent a full-blown crisis, but rather served as a warning that change and uncertainty are to be expected in construction, and that the industry should make sure it is leading that change, rather than reacting to it.
Balfour Beatty chief executive Leo Quinn
The second article in this list from Rebecca Evans, this piece focuses on another top 10 contractor: Balfour Beatty.
It came in the wake of Balfour Beatty revealing a £206m loss for 2015, while also stating that underlying revenue declined by 2 per cent and its order book had dropped by 4 per cent.
Not much reason to be cheerful for CEO Leo Quinn, but he sounded relatively upbeat.
But the numbers were an improvement on the previous year’s and showed that there was potentially light at the end of the tunnel.
A trading update before the end of the year confirmed that its Built to Last transformation programme remains on track.
EU flags European Union flags Brexit referendum
This article by employment lawyer John Hayes tackled one of the issues that most concerned UK construction after the Brexit vote: how would workers be affected?
In particular, Mr Hayes took a close look at UK immigration rules and employment laws, and how the free movement of EU labour might be restricted (or not) in the wake of Brexit.
He concluded that the biggest driver of UK working practices was not EU employment law, but rather the demand for talent and the tax regime – both of which are separate issues from leaving the EU.
Part of a new series of weekly blogs on technology, features editor Daniel Kemp took a look at a new app developed in-house by ISG
The app uses the Unreal game engine and other software to generate its 3D environments, bring projects to life for clients and allowing the team to show off design alternatives quickly and easily.
ISG even said that the app had been used to help win work, as well as highlighting potential programme clashes once projects were under way.
Technology like this is potentially game-changing for the construction industry and this is but one example of the work that is going on in the UK.