It may have been one of the sectors that suffered the most during the clutches of the recession, but construction has turned a corner in North Wales, with ample new projects creating hundreds of new roles across the region.
Lower mortgage rates and a reduction in the amount needed for a deposit has led to a surge in first-time buyers and rising demand for new homes.
The upturn has initiated an increase in investment, giving the construction sector a much-needed boost and creating hundreds of new jobs.
Construction firms optimistic about the future
Ruth Jones, Commercial Manager at Jones Bros Civil Engineering UK, said: “If you look at where the industry is at the moment compared to a year or two ago, North Wales is going in the right direction. We’re optimistic looking ahead too. We’re certainly busy with different projects in North Wales and across the UK.”
Tom Anwyl, Anwyl Construction Director, said: “Over the last six months we’ve witnessed increased activity in both the housing and contracting sectors. We have seen the number of directly employed individuals increase and are witnessing skills shortages in a number of areas; particularly in bricklaying.”
Sandy McBride, managing director of Redrow Homes (NW), highlighted new projects in Bangor and Flintshire and said that the multiple new developments in the pipeline “will help boost the North Wales economy, with hundreds of new jobs during construction”.
Spike in construction accidents
While this is good news for North Wales, concerns have been sparked after a dramatic increase in falls from ladders caused a spike in workplace accidents in the construction industry.
Figures from the Building Safety Group showed that in the three months to the end of July, 12% of the 235 accidents reported were falls from height, marking a 60% increase on the same period last year.
Speaking to Construction News in August, Health and Safety Executive (HSE) chief inspector of construction, Heather Bryant, said: “Falls are consistently a major reason for fatalities and major injuries in the construction industry, accounting for more than half of all fatalities in 2011/12 and nearly a third of major injuries.”
Commenting on the case, Donna Hodge, a workplace injury solicitor at Lampkin & Co, said: “The vast majority of falls from height in this industry are from ladders, steps and scaffolding, and most cases are entirely preventable.
“The best advice would be to ensure the correct equipment is being used. Employers have a legal responsibility to provide a safe working environment, suitable training and appropriate safety equipment.”
Read more about how Lampkin & Co Solicitors can pursue a workplace accident claim on your behalf.