A crucial contribution

Gordon Best, MPANI’s Regional Director, outlines how the association plans to highlight the important role played by the construction materials sector across Northern Ireland

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As a trade body, Mineral Products Association Northern Ireland (MPANI) is primarily focused on advising and informing our members, both collectively and individually. However we do perform the following roles and have the agreed objectives.

ROLE – FACILITATOR TO/FROM GOVERNMENT INFLUENCE

  • Objective 1 – Work with the Department of the Economy, GSNI, Strategic Planning Division and local council planning staff to establish a Northern Ireland Minerals Forum.
  • Objective 2 – Build the knowledge and capacity of local planning officers to ensure that their understanding of the industry results in a fast and efficient service to MPANI members.
  • Objective 3 – Respond to the local development plan policy statements to ensure that the long-term sustainability and its right to operate are protected.
  • Objective 4 – Work with regulatory authorities within Northern Ireland to ensure a level playing field for industry and clear recognition for responsible operators.
  • Objective 5 – Respond to consultation papers on issues that affect our members.
  • Objective 6 – Continue to work with Northern Ireland Construction Group (NICG) partners to improve the communication of the pipeline of infrastructure work, improve skills within construction and see increased public and private investment in our infrastructure.

ROLE – EDUCATION INTERNAL/ EXTERNAL

  • Objective 1 – To advise and inform the industry on its legal obligations under health and safety to ensure that improving performance on reducing incidents of harm continues. Key focus areas this year will be “The Fatal Six” identified by MPA.
    • Isolation of energy
    • Struck by vehicle/plant
    • Work at height
    • RTA
    • Struck by falling moving object
    • RCS
  • Objective 2 – To develop and deliver training and competence assessment in partnership with IoQ, IAT, CIHT, MPQC, CITBNI to raise skill levels across all sectors that MPANI represents.
  • Objective 3 – To engage with, present to and assist schools in the delivery of the GCSE in Construction.
  • Objective 4 – To work with NIEA and others through our biodiversity/geodiversity to improve environmental awareness and communicate our new ‘Nature with Aggregates’ guidance.
  • Objective 5 – Engage with political decision makers to highlight the essential contribution the construction materials sector makes to the local economy.
  • Objective 6 – Work with key stakeholders and our Young Leaders Group to promote diversity and the important role of women within the construction materials industry.

ROLE – PROTECT & EXPAND MARKET

  • Objective 1 – Continue to work with public sector agencies to promote the use of quality assured and responsibly sourced construction materials.
  • Objective 2 – Stage a concrete and masonry seminar in the spring of 2019 and attend the annual Building Control Fire Safety Conference.
  • Objective 3 – Develop an effective ‘Concrete Built IS Better Built’ promotion campaign.
  • Objective 4 – Sustain and increase the MPANI membership. 2019 has seen us focus on three priority issues. Planning, recruitment into the industry and securing a transparent and adequate construction pipeline of work.

PLANNING

We have worked closely with the Department of Infrastructure to ensure that there was clear guidance and policy set out in the Strategic Planning Policy Statement and Regional Development Strategy around Minerals. Our industry has responded to all 11 preferred option papers, most of which have been supportive but in a few we highlight serious concerns over proposed policy.

There is a growing recognition within the industry that we need to provide the non-commercially sensitive information required to develop supply and demand scenarios for the supply of construction aggregates, both locally and across councils in Northern Ireland. On a positive note, councils are listening to us, particularly on the need for safeguarding areas and measures to ensure appropriate restoration plans are implemented.

RECRUITMENT INTO THE INDUSTRY

The Construction Materials Industry, like many other older and “hands on” Industries has a very high age profile. Industry statistics show the average age in the Mineral Products sector is around 55. Equally concerning is the level of diversity within the sector, with women making up less than 15%. We have developed a close partnership with Womenstec in Northern Ireland who promotes careers in untraditional sectors to young girls and women.

Over 30% of our STEM Ambassadors within MPANI are female. Our Young Leaders Group is made up of young managers and supervisors between 21 and 35 and is 30% female.

The Association has also been proactive in promoting and facilitating Apprenticeships across the Industry.

ENSURING A TRANSPARENT AND ACCURATE PIPELINE OF CONSTRUCTION WORK
We have been working in partnership with Northern Ireland Construction Group (NICG) to ensure a clear, transparent and accurate pipeline of construction work coming from the public sector in Northern Ireland. Of particular importance are the level of sub- economic tendering, prompt and fair payment to the construction supply chain and ensuring materials come from responsible operators.

THIRD PARTY QUALITY ASSURED CONCRETE PRODUCTS AND MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS
As a customer of our industry and purchaser of concrete products, you want to be assured that those products you buy and use come from sites that are managed in a safe and environmentally responsible way. You also want to have the guarantee of quality and that what you asked for is what you get.

With increased customer expectations and assurance about “Who is watching the quality?”, those within the concrete products sector offer this guarantee of third party quality assured products. MPANI have listed (right), with the support of QSRMC and BSI, all third party quality assured companies in Northern Ireland to allow you to make better decisions when purchasing materials from the industry.

Public sector procurement policy in Northern Ireland requires that all concrete used on public sector construction sites must be sourced from third party quality assured concrete suppliers. In terms of private housebuilding, the National Housebuilding Council (NHBC) standards specification clearly states that ready mixed concrete being used on an NHBC registered housing site is only acceptable from a supplier operating a full quality control system such as operated by QSRMC or the BSI kite mark or an equivalent system acceptable to NHBC. For more information go to Chapter 3.1 in the NHBC Standards.

If you want to know more about becoming a member of MPANI, contact Gordon Best at [email protected] or visit our website at www.mpani.org or www.mineralproducts.org


MPANI, Unit 10, Nutts Corner Business Park, Dundrod Rd, Crumlin, County Antrim BT29 4SR
T: 028 9082 4078
E: [email protected]
W: www.mineralproducts.org