Getting cranes, roofs, and steel girders to arrive on site without major delays is becoming more and more difficult claims the construction industry.

They say that increasingly police forces across England are imposing travel embargos typically from 6.30 until 10am and 4 until 6.30pm creating delays that are adding to construction costs.

The National Federation of Builders, NFB, chief executive Richard Beresford said: “A productive nation is nothing without a well-functioning construction industry, but we are increasingly finding that the operational side of construction is far from the minds of decision makers.”

The trade body said this is making it harder for crane operators and hauliers moving loads of more than 44 tonnes and 2.9m width to continue operating.

Other challenges facing the sector include an increasing requirement for a police escort and blanket travel embargos on large sections of main roads involving detours adding miles to the journey.

The police have told industry that the embargos relate to road safety however the Heavy Transport Association, HTA, said the police have been unable to provide evidence to support this.

HTA abnormal loads coordinator James Edes said: “There’s no clarity on how their decisions is made. We would like consistency because at the moment there are different demands for different areas.”

The Construction Plant-hire Association, CPA, said the embargo travel times cut across site opening times of 8am until 4pm.

CPA legal manager David Smith said: “This is at the middle of the imposed embargo times, which makes it impossible for plant companies to deliver to these sites, or to collect from them.”

Travel restrictions vary regionally

He added that certain constabularies were banning movements at night. West Midlands, Warwickshire, Devon and Yorkshire police forces were cited as regions were limits on travel movements were particularly restrictive in contrast to Greater Manchester and Liverpool.

Lack of uniformity over required notification periods was also problematic with differing police force interpretations as to whether bank holidays in Scotland counted or not.

“It would be useful if there was a sensible discussion. If everyone could take a step back for three months and look at the embargos, night movements and notifications,” said Mr Smith.

NFB policy and market insight head Rico Wojtulewicz said: “A temporary written ministerial statement removing all embargoes on travel for abnormal loads would give the government time and space to have a consultation on how travel restrictions should work nationally.

“Letting local police forces and councils make decisions on travel embargoes, particularly when they are not providing evidence of their rationale, is creating a logistical nightmare and another major barrier for UK productivity.”

Brokers Hank Zarihs Associates said development finance lenders were concerned about delays of key equipment to sites such as cranes especially given the increased reliance of offsite building products.

Housebuilders urge the Government to set tough water efficiency targets
Bristol Temple Quarter multi-million-pound regeneration moves a step closer
author avatar
Shiraz Khan