Modebest Builders

Highlighting best practice as a representative in The Parliamentary Review

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Modebest Builders is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Highlighting best practice
Construction Director
Colindate development
Modebest Builders is a construction company specialising
in groundworks, reinforced concrete frames, civil
engineering and builders work. They offer a specialised
construction product tailored to the client’s requirements and
have developed a culture that demands integrity, an ethical focus
and dedication to their client’s needs. Construction Director
Albert Dravins tells
The Parliamentary Review
how he foresees
the UK construction industry faring over the coming decade.
Our vision is to be a company that clients want to work with and can rely on. We
have an open mind and are willing to embrace new opportunities and innovation,
and a drive to deliver a safer, low-carbon and sustainable product. We believe in
our skills, putting trust in our staff, and we value the long-term relationships we
build with our clients.
Future of the construction
The UK construction industry is dependent on free movement of labour within
Europe. With the outcome of Brexit still undetermined, skilled labour may become
scarcer than it currently is. Modular buildings and precast concrete will be
employed and demand will rise more quickly than the manufacturing companies
can keep up with.
The engineering design teams are also under pressure to keep up, and as a result
the majority of their detailing is now carried out in foreign countries. There is an
increased input required from site teams such as ours on temporary works designs
for excavations, bespoke shuttering and falsework, stairs design and precast design.
»Construction Director:
»Founded in 1994
»Based in Northolt, Middlesex
»Services: Construction,
specialising in groundworks,
reinforced concrete frames,
civil engineering and builders’
Modebest Builders
As a subcontractor, we require more
skilled engineers and technical staff
than we did ten or 15 years ago, when
we relied on a single fax machine.
This obviously puts pressure on the
preliminary costs and we also have
to find the people that are able to do
these jobs reliably.
From our perspective, the construction
industry in general is slow to embrace
change and tends to stick to long-
established practices, which rely heavily
on skilled labour. Should the availability
of skilled labour continue to decline,
the industry will have no option but to
adapt and embrace new technologies
and processes at both the design stage
and the constructionstage.
Developing our range of skills
The industry now places far higher
demands on the subcontractor, in
order to manage health and safety,
temporary works and contractor
design portions. The role of a project
manager now sees them tied up with
planning at the on-site office, booking
in deliveries on online systems,
writing tailored method statements
for any individual task, attending
health and safety meetings and daily
briefing meetings or co-ordinating
the waterproofing concrete proposal,
stairmaster or precast designs with
the designer, structural engineers
There are also far higher demands
made on the plant that is in use. For
example, during some contracts each
individual plant item over the size
of a five-tonne machine has to be
fully booked into an online system
prior to its delivery. Copies of all the
paperwork must be presented in
advance for approval, which takes time
and is an example of just one part of
the daily job.
Modebest have undergone substantial
development in order to meet the
demands that the industry now
presents us. Most jobs have a project
manager as a basic requirement, who
caters for a range of requirements,
rather than a working foreman who
would traditionally oversee all aspects
of the project. Every site now needs
AutoCad technology and staff trained
to use it, so that they can receive and
co-ordinate information to construct
the job and provide constant surveys.
We now supply and erect tower
cranes for contracts, which is a new
skill set.
White water rafting
Head office
Skilled labour
will become
Highlighting best practice
Because of the changes we have
seen, there is now a significant training
requirement on all contracts, and this
has to be organised on an ongoing basis.
We take on full design responsibility for
temporary works on façade retentions
and excavation support in large and
central London sites, and we are in
need of people that can plan and
manage this. We now manage large
slip form cores on numerous projects,
which demonstrates our capabilities in
comparison with previous years. We also
propose various waterproofing methods
and co-ordinate the design changes
needed to use a differentproduct.
Projects based in London have been
slowing down, so we need to become
familiar with modular building
methods to maybe keep ahead of our
competitors, but we need planners and
consultants to come on board. For the
UK as a whole, the uncertainty over
the UK economy post-Brexit is having
a negative effect on the future of the
construction industry. I think many
clients and investors are adopting a
“wait and see” attitude, but this will
undermine and potentially limit new
business opportunities.
Addressing industry challenges
There are a number of challenges that
our sector will continue to face as we
move forward. The Labour shortage,
both skilled and unskilled, needs to be
considered by the government and they
must ensure that a migrant workforce
can still be accessed without penalties.
We are already seeing a reduction in
the amount of new labour arriving
from the EU, and this is adding to the
existing labour shortage issues. This is
particularly prevalent in London, where
almost a third of the construction
workforce is made up of EU nationals.
Aside from labour shortages, the weak
pound has increased the cost of imports
such as steel and fuel, which cost as
much as nine per cent more since Brexit,
while there has been a 25 per cent
reduction in the number of residential
projects and a 16 per cent reduction
in non-residential projects. There has
also been a 20 per cent reduction in
engineering projects. These reductions
can in part be attributed to the difficult
position, and the knock-on effect on
our sector will likelycontinue.
To rectify some of the challenges our
sector is facing, we think there should
be a closer relationship between schools,
further education and contractors.
Mandatory placement schemes
would help young people interested
in a range of trades build skills and it
could also help address the shortage
of high-quality construction staff in
the UK. Lastly, we want to see the
sector become more environmentally
responsible, as the construction industry
accounts for 20 per cent of global
emissions, which is not acceptable.
There should
be a closer
schools, further
education and
Harbour central

This article was sponsored by Modebest Builders. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it.