Author: Laura Oliver

Electrical contractors: Are you “electric vehicle ready?”

New electric vehicle proposal could open lucrative market for electrical contractors

Electrical contractors will be interested to hear the latest proposal by the Department for Transport.  The government’s “Road to Zero” policy  has been well publicised, with an ambitious aim of reducing vehicle emissions in the UK to nil by 2040.  The policy will ban the sale of all petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2040, aiming for road users to replace their fossil fuel engines with hybrid and electrical vehicles.  However, with sales of these vehicles making up only 5.5% of the current market, we are a long way away from fuel-free roads.

A recent survey by the AA revealed that eight out of 10 drivers see the lack of charging points as a stumbling block to buying an electric car. The RAC has also completed research showing that the current public charge point network is “unattractive to use and is unsuitable for encouraging the next wave of EV customers”.  In response to these concerns, the Department for Transport has released a new proposal; all new houses, flats and office buildings in England are to come with external charging point installations.

What does this mean for electrical contractors?

It is private electrical companies who would be charged with the development and installation of charging points, in a project which would cost up to £400m.  If successful, this proposal will open up a whole new business opportunity for electrical contractors looking for a slice of a market estimated to be worth up to £7.6 trillion by 2050, according to Transport Secretary Chris Grayling. And with house-building targets set at 300,000 a year this sector could explode if the proposal goes ahead. The NICEIC and ELECSA have an Electric Vehicle training course available for those interested in expanding their business.   Those ahead of the curve are still in low numbers; in Wales only 24 Welsh electrical contractors are listed and for the South West there are only 38 qualified contractors. You can find a list of all electrical contractors currently qualified to install charge points on the NICEIC website .

80% of EV owners currently have access to home charging but if homes and offices came with chargers ready-installed then we could see EV owner numbers rise dramatically as the deterrence of re-fuelling difficulties becomes a thing of the past.  So with the biggest overhaul in road transport technology in 130 years coming, it’s time to consider whether your company is electrical vehicle ready as UK streets become electric avenues.

Construction training for under £25 : The 3 top Health and Safety certificates in demand

The Age of the Health & Safety Certificate

These days construction sites take their health and safety very seriously, and with good reason. Whilst the situation has improved massively in the last 20 years, construction still accounts for 27% of fatal injuries to employees in Britain. Sites want to know that their workers are informed and prepared for the risks they may encounter, which is why more and more are placing value in construction training and certification. Whilst the words health & safety don’t get most of us fist pumping the air excitedly, for employers these courses are becoming on-site essentials. The good news: they are a doddle to complete, make your CV and profile look great and help you to stand out from the competition.

The best part?

They all cost under £25.00.

health and safety construction training funny meme














Gone are the days of sitting in a windowless classroom for 8 hours, watching Powerpoint presentations and instructional videos. E-Learning has brought training into the 21st Century and is accessible from your mobile or desktop, meaning you can complete it on the go. Some of the courses take as little as half an hour to complete. It gives you a valuable certificate that will last from 1 to 3 years. So what’s stopping you?


See our top picks below:


Asbestos Awareness course (UKATA)

Asbestos Awareness comes in at number 1 on our list. It is a legal requirement for any employee who might accidentally come into contact with asbestos as part of their work to have certification, so we consistently get asked for this as a priority.

This UKATA approved course is the most widely recognised asbestos awareness qualification in the UK. It can be taken on any desktop PC or mobile, including Apple and Android devices. The course covers 5 modules:

  1. Properties, risks & health effects
  2. Types & uses of asbestos
  3. How to avoid the risks
  4. Legislation
  5. Emergency procedures


Working at Heights

working at heights construction training






Another top pick for construction sites. This course gives an introduction to the general hazards and safety measures involved in working at heights. This includes ladder safety training , use of access platforms and fall protection training. Anyone who has seen Jurassic World knows the importance of this one.

But seriously, 49% of fatal construction injuries in the last five years were due to falls from a height. In 2016/17 25 people died from this. Those figures don’t even take into account accidents that result in injury. If you’re going to be working at heights it’s something you should definitely be considering for your own protection.


Manual Handling

Manual handling construction training






Manual handling is any task involving supporting or transporting any load by human effort. It is one of the most common causes of injury at work and causes over a third of all workplace injuries. No matter what your trade, it’s likely that you’ll be doing some sort of heavy lifting or moving. Whilst most employees will have been some sort of guidance on manual handling, it’s important to have a regular reminder as one false move could mean looking like this every time you put on your socks.



There are a range of suppliers across the UK who can book these courses for you,. The courses we have mentioned are only a small selection of qualifications that can help you get ahead in the building services industry. If you are interested in finding out more then we do work with Human Focus to offer construction training and qualifications. And remember guys:














George Clarke showcases amazing regeneration of The General in Bristol

The General Bristol

We are very proud to have been involved in the regeneration over the last four years of The General in Bristol. It has recently been visited by George Clarke of Amazing Spaces who was impressed by the transformation the building has undergone. You can see the before and after in the videos posted below.


History of The General in Bristol

Originally opened as the Bristol General Hospital in 1858, the building cost a grand total of £28,000. Much of the funding came from local workers who gave a penny a week towards building and running costs. The hospital closed its doors in 2012 and City & Country snapped up the opportunity to restore the Grade II listed building to its former glory. A hodge podge of characterless 20th century extensions and repairs to extensive WWII bomb damage had faded the renaissance grandeur of the building. The architectural restoration has won City & Country a host of awards, including Heritage Property of the Year in the Michelmore’s Property Awards and the 2017 South West RICS Award for Building Conservation.

electrical work in The General in Bristol



Our contribution to the restoration

Our client Weston Electrical Services Ltd are carrying out the full mechanical and electrical installation to the apartments and infrastructure of the building for which we have supplied a wide range of skilled operatives. When finished, the building will incorporate 205 one to four bedroom luxury apartments and houses. We have also assisted Weston in completing the M&E design and installation of a waterside restaurant complex which includes the Michelin starred ‘Casamia’, located beneath the apartment building.


Since October 2014 we have filled 148 placements for the site supplying roles across the M&E spectrum; from mechanical contractors and engineers, pipefitters and plumbers, to electricians & electrical testers. The skilled mechanical and electrical work of our operatives has helped bring modern comfort and convenience to the homes. All feature intruder alarms and mains operated smoke detectors with internal cabling installed for terrestrial television. Other mod cons include video activated door entry and radiators or underfloor heating powered by a communal heating system. All this is an impressive task in a listed building split into 205 units! We are excited to see the conclusion of the project and the difference it will make to the BS1 area of Bristol.


Watch below to see the incredible before and after effect that this restoration has had on the building.


Want mechanical or electrical work on an incredible project like this? Register with us today



Beating Blue Monday with Funny Construction Jokes

Blue Monday in the office

After the excitement of Christmas and New Year, the next event on the calendar is a bit more dismal; Blue Monday, the most depressing day of the year. And with rain in the air and the Carillon news in the media, it is a blue day for us indeed in the construction industry!

On the third Monday of January each year, it has been calculated that we are at peak grumpy, due to a combination of factors including the weather and looming Christmas debt.  But here in the Pier office we have decided to try and cheer things up a bit. It so happens that this year Blue Monday coincides with a holiday from over the pond; in the US it’s National Strawberry Ice cream Day.

So never missing an opportunity for a snack, we have decided to combine the two together in an effort to beat the January blues, wearing colourful clothes to brighten up the office and eating ice cream to brighten up our outlook.




Sophie enjoying her ice cream despite it being cold enough to wear her coat indoors!

Laura brightening up the office with colour on Blue Monday

Simon, Vicky and Bec beating the Monday blues


And our MD Paul…REALLY enjoying his ice cream…






















Funny Construction Jokes to cheer you up on a Blue Monday

For all of you that are feeling a bit glum today, we’ve compiled a list of construction jokes in an attempt to cheer you up. Mostly about electricians. Sorry electricians.


A contractor dies in a tragic accident on his 40th birthday. He ascends to heaven where he is greeted at the pearly gates by a brass band and Saint Peter himself. Saint Peter shakes his hand warmly and says “Congratulations!”

The contractor is a little confused. “Congratulations for what?” “Well, we’re celebrating the fact that you lived the grand old age of 160!”

“But that’s not right”, says the contractor, “I only lived to be 40.” “That’s impossible” replies Saint Peter. “We added up your time sheets!”


I never wanted to believe that my Dad was stealing from his job as a road worker. But when I got home all the signs were there.


Do you want to hear a construction joke? Oh, sorry I’m still working on it.


Q Why do engineers enjoy fixing steelwork together?

A Because it’s riveting


Q How do construction workers party?

A They raise the roof!


Q How many safety inspectors does it take to change a light bulb?

A Four. One to change it and three to hold the ladder.


Four surgeons are discussing who makes the best type of surgery patient. The first surgeon says “I like to see accounts on my operating table, because when you open them up, everything inside is numbered.” The second responds “Yeah, but you should try electricians. Everything inside them is colour coded!”

The third surgeon says “No, I really think librarians are the best; everything inside is in alphabetical order.” The fourth surgeon chimes in “You know, I like construction workers. They seem to understand when you have a few parts left over at the end and when the job takes longer than you said it would.”


Q Why are the electricians always up to date?

A Because they are “current specialists”


Q What kind of car does an electrician drive?

A A Volts-wagon


Q What’s the difference between an Electrician and God?

A God doesn’t think he’s an Electrician


Q How many welders does it take to screw in a light bulb?

A Nobody knows; it’s not in their job description.


Q What do plumbers have when they fall asleep?

A Pipe dreams



Q How many plasterers does it take to change a lightbulb?

A None, that’s a sparky’s job.


A man at a train stop shows off pictures of his three sons to a friend. “What do your boys do for a living?” asked the friend. “Well, my youngest is a neurosurgeon and my middle son is a lawyer”.

“What does the oldest do?” asked the friend. The father replied “He’s the plumber that put them all through school”.

Blue Monday Songs for Construction Jobs

labouring jobs cold

Happy New Year everyone! Following our playlist dedications to electrical workers and plumbers, our latest list celebrates those in construction jobs; our Trades and Labourers in Wales and the South West who are working for us out in the January cold.

We are trying to cheer you up before next Monday, as the 15th January is officially the most depressing day of the year, known as Blue Monday.

What is Blue Monday?

Blue Monday falls on the third Monday of January each year. A range of factors come into the science of pinpointing this day as the worst in the year. Gloomy weather, failed New Year’s resolutions, debt level after Christmas and a general lack of motivation all add to the post-Christmas blues (In case you were wondering, there are 344 days to go).

In the post-festive season everyone needs a bit of cheering up.  Typical remedies recommended are exercise, companionship and being kind to others. Maybe you could try offering to do the tea round on site?

We are feeling particularly sympathetic to our workers in this nippy January cold so a special shout out goes to our labourers and traffic marshals who are in the great outdoors this January. We thought we would try to cheer you up with some appreciation of what you do. What better than a themed playlist to warm your cockles!

So this list is dedicated to our Builders, Labourers, Bricklayers, Groundworkers, Scaffolders and Equipment Operators who face the Winter weather for us. Also our Joiners, Painters, Plasterers, Carpenters, Dry Wallers who keep our homes cosy, we salute you!


Looking for work this January? Why not give us a call on 01446 688886 or register with us online


If you want to auto-play the list then you can find it on our Youtube channel.



construction jobs cardiff trades and labour




Plumbing Music Playlist: for Plumbers, Pipefitters & other Mechanical Jobs

Plumbing jobs appreciation

This week the heating has been on full in the office and we’ve been drinking lots of tea to keep warm and cosy. And these comforts have had us appreciating the work our Cardiff Plumbers, Pipefitters, Plumber’s Mates and Welders do to keep our homes and workplaces comfortable when the frosts arrive. That appreciation was compounded by some photos we received of the great work our guys have been doing on plumbing jobs in sites around Cardiff, Barry and Chepstow this week:



cardiff plumbers

Bayscape, Cardiff Bay

plumbers cardiff pipework

Plumbing work done by Peter and Ashley Davies at Woodlands Road, Barry








cardiff plumbers pipes

Paul Davies’ plumbing work at the new BBC Headquarters
























Plumbers playlist

So as a little nod to those that keep us warm over Winter we have themed our playlist for this week as a dedication to Plumbers, Pipefitters and all the other mechanical workers who do great work for us on site. This one took a little longer to put together than the Sparky’s playlist…apparently there aren’t so many songs about plumbing, pipework and gas installation as there are about electricity and light…surprising that.

The selection is also a bit eclectic to fit the theme…you don’t often find Katy Perry and The Prodigy in the same place rounded off with a Tom Jones classic! A week before the 25th we felt we had to put a little festive cheer in to round the playlist off though and no-one can do it better than Tom!  We hope you enjoy the musical roundup! And watch this space for more construction jobs themed music.

Are you a plumber looking for work from a company who appreciates the good work you do? Click here to sign up with Pier Consulting Ltd or get in touch using our contact details below:


Click here to listen to our playlist on Youtube or play the songs below.



Have a listen to our Electrician Oldies playlist

Songs for Sparks















With the snow falling outside it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. In the Pier office the tree went straight up on the 1st December  and the 600-strong pile of Christmas cards is making its rounds to be signed. In fact, it’s felt pretty festive in the office since early November when the radio was permanently tuned into the Christmas channel.

Some of us may feel that the season to be jolly has gone on for far too long. There are only so many times you can listen to Mariah Carey telling you what she wants for Christmas before you have to take things into your own hands.

So we’ve put together some Construction-inspired compilations to change things up a bit from the endless festive cheer. Influenced by Simon Mayo’s Oldies songs on his Radio 2 Drivetime show we’ve had a bit of fun making industry-themed playlists. This week it’s ‘Songs for Sparks’, dedicated to our hardworking electricians, electrical mates and supervisors and to anyone else who works with wires, plugs and boards!

And we’re not biased; the other trades will be getting a look in with their own dedicated playlists coming soon.


If you’d rather listen to the tracks on our brand new YouTube channel then just click here:



DISCLAIMER: Opinions on Mariah Carey are the writers’ own and may not reflect the views of the office as a whole…



Construction apprenticeships and training: new schemes enough to plug the skills gap?

construction apprenticeship apprentice

Why is there a skills shortage?

The release of the Autumn Budget and an overhaul of construction apprenticeship and training programs has brought attention to the chronic skills shortage in the construction sector.  After the loss of an estimated 400,000 skilled workers in the financial recession the industry remains on a back foot. In the CITB’s latest report on Skills & Training they revealed that 20% of business said they had skills gaps in their existing workforce, up by 12% compared to the last report.





This shortage is only set to increase as Brexit looms and the industry depends on an ageing workforce.  Research published by the Office of National Statistics shows 24% of UK construction workers aged 45–54 are set to retire in the next 10-20 years. And this ageing workforce is not being replaced.


What is being done to plug the gap?

The Government has launched a number of initiatives in recent years to try and address this problem.

Construction apprenticeships, the traditional mainstay of skilled labour supply, have been given a boost. A new government target of 3 million new apprentices by 2020 has been announced.

£34 million has been earmarked solely for construction training. The Apprenticeship Levy came into force in May, estimated to raise £3bn a year so that employers can take ownership of training, with at least 90% of the funding being supplied for smaller employers.

Aside from the traditional apprentice route, other training methods are being developed.

The newly announced National Retraining Scheme aims to retrain adults for new professions. ‘T-levels’ will streamline 13,000 qualifications into 15 good quality technical qualifications to rival the existing A-levels.


How effective are these measures?

Recent DfE figures show that the number of apprenticeships fell by close to 60% in the quarter since the levy commenced. There has been widespread criticism of the scheme’s complicated framework. Many employers are facing challenges accessing the financial resources and are even delaying the start of apprenticeships, resulting in calls for reform. These teething issues could cause setbacks from the start to the 3m target.

The retraining scheme has also attracted criticism, with Liz Jenkins, partner at Clyde & Co commenting “Retraining adults as construction workers would provide some labour but once they retire we’ll be back to square one, unless we’ve trained a significant cohort of today’s young people to fill the gap.  This initiative needs to be coupled with effective management of the CITB reform and ensuring the money received from the levy is invested to ensure future generations of construction workers will be there to build post-Brexit Britain”

In the short term these measures are unlikely to provide an immediate solution. As we potentially lose our stretched workforce to retirement and Brexit in 2019, many training schemes may not begin until 2020 so it may be a case of too little too late. The next decade could be a difficult time for our sector if we cannot meet demand.

How do we future proof the industry?

Despite these issues, the renewed focus on construction apprenticeships and training is vital to the future of the industry.  The sector deal has been welcomed by associations that consider investment and training to be at a critical point. These are all positive steps towards securing a skilled and stable workforce.

The trailblazer apprenticeship schemes have been met with widespread industry approval. Partnering companies to create construction apprenticeships, they ensure the quality and relevance of training and ensure the right sectors are being developed. Similarly, the levy concept was built around the need for employers to take control of training to ensure that it is high-quality and relevant. It makes sense to supply the industry with the tools to deliver the apprenticeships and skills it sorely needs. Once awareness of the scheme and the application complications have been improved the levy will be a vital resource for the industry’s future.

In the long term the sector will need to embrace the digital revolution that will be a vital lifeline for the centennial generation workforce.  Innovations in materials, offsite modular construction, and BIM modelling to name a few could help attract a tech-savvy workforce.

The construction industry must work to develop an image away from the hard hat and the building site, embracing innovation, diversity and expertise if it wants a strong future.



Chancellor’s “budget for builders” shows government has listened to construction industry demands

Construction industry associations influenced budget decisions

Since the Autumn budget was announced by Phillip Hammond a week ago we have been reflecting upon the statement and its impact on the construction industry.


You may remember that at the dissolution of Parliament back in May some key trade associations announced manifestos for their election wishlists.


















The Federation of Master Builders (FMB) had released a five point manifesto focusing on ensuring supply of skilled workers, increasing supply, quality & energy efficiency of new homes and boosting growth among SMEs.


Correspondingly, the Electrical Contractors’ Association (ECA) & Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) grouped together to create their own five point plan. Energy efficiency, apprenticeship training and financial support for SMEs were common themes.


What the budget offers the construction industry

Looking at the budget proposals, it seems that on the shared points of each proposal, the government did take suggestions on board:

  • £34m of funds have been ring fenced for construction training. Responding to requests to increase the quality of training, the introduction of T-levels and the launch of the National Retraining Scheme show a commitment to technical education.
  • The demand for more homes was met with a new target of 300,000 built a year by 2020 (a figure not achieved since 1970), exceeding the FMB’s proposal. They plan to boost the housing market with a total of £44bn in capital funding, loans & guarantees
  • SMEs will be supported through an extra £1.5bn for the Home Building Fund. The apprenticeship levy should raise £3bn a year to help finance smaller operations.


Whilst not every point has been addressed, overall the industry response to the budget announce has been positive. Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the FMB even lauded it a ‘budget for builders’. Whether this will give the industry the boost it so needs remains to be seen.  Brexit was clearly at the forefront of most budget decisions. With 8% of the UK’s construction workers being EU nationals, the real test will come in May 2019.



12 years in Construction Recruitment : 5 Reasons to Celebrate

Construction recruitment

Pier Consulting Ltd Celebrates its 12th year in Construction Recruitment




In the office today we have been reflecting on how far we have come and our achievements since we were founded.

With Paul Ingram at the helm we have introduced new departments to the business, broadening our offering to clients. This has resulted in the need to double our staff. Since 2013 we have established a new apprenticeship scheme, playing a part in increasing the number of skilled workers in the building services industry (where there has been a significant shortage). We also founded a subsidiary company Pier Resources & Training to provide easy access to training courses & certification for our clients & workers.

Below are listed some facts that show how much we have developed as a business:

  1. In 12 years we have developed relationships with nearly 500 clients in the Construction and M&E industry.
  2. Pier has built a strong database of over 28,000 candidates across England and Wales.
  3. We have grown our business across the bridge from Cardiff. We are now making a name for ourselves on sites as far as London, Plymouth, Cornwall, Oxford, Bristol, Scotland, Swindon, Nottingham, Bath, Gloucester & Cheltenham to name a few new areas.
  4. In 2016 we featured on the Fast Growth 50 list for achieving 90.7% growth between 2013 and 2015.
  5. Since 2013 we have filled over 37,000 time sheets totalling a staggering  1.4 million hours of work for our recruits!

We are proud of what we have achieved to date and excited for what 2018 and beyond may bring!