New to the role of Federation of Piling Specialists (FPS) Chair, Steve Hadley has taken part in an engaging podcast, part of a series being produced by Construction Index, a key media outlet serving the wider construction sector.
In the podcast, veteran construction industry journalists Bishop and Taylor, look to understand exactly what piling is and the important part it plays in the construction sector, before moving on to some of the more deeper issues facing both the piling sector and wider construction.
Asked about some of these issues, Steve kicks off with the often tricky topic of mental health and well-being in the sector, and how, given the current situation, it is as big an issue as health and safety and will be impacting more people now than ever.
On to the actual work side of the FPS’s members, when asked about the audit, Steve explained how high the bar is for members to achieve, how it is not fixed and moves ever upwards, as well as the often overlooked fact that a pass for members is never a given.
Steven also spoke about how, as the MD of an SME company, its challenges are often different to those of the larger piling companies and yet, whilst relatively small in size, collectively the SME’s represent the near majority of organisations in the sector.
Speaking about the ‘piling’ sector industry body, Steve explained the FPS’s membership is open much wider to include companies that provide or supply services to the sector – the complex interplay between them is what gives the Federation its strength and voice.
The growth in technology and its impact on the sector, such as software etc., was also covered and how the role of ground investigation, especially in land with existing piling or other subterranean man-made constructions exist, is an extremely important part of the geotechnical mix.
Of course, the podcast could not ignore the impact of COVID-19 and Steve touches on this from both a personal perspective, as the MD of a piling company, as well as the advice that the FPS is providing its membership, to allow site work to continue. Given the stresses that COVID-19 has placed on the sector, as Chair Steve was keen to discuss how FPS priorities have shifted to place greater emphasis on health and wellbeing, and spoke also about the impact of fatigue and even how the sector could break the link with alcohol where possible. Steve was keen to stress that alcohol was not an issue, but more is linked almost inextricably to the social side of the industry and even events organised by the FPS typically involve alcohol and there should now be alternative social events presented.
Steve has spoken before on the need for construction to become more diverse and closed his discussions by explaining just how difficult meeting this challenge is going to be. Long hours, often away from home for example, are not always easy to address by the very nature of the work, but Steve offered that solutions can found to make the sector more accessible, but that wider construction needs to acknowledge the problem more that it is at present.
The full podcast can be found here: https://www.theconstructionindex.co.uk/podcast