The problems facing the industry this week are low margin rewards, high prices for utilities, fierce competition in the UK from overseas companies and the technicalities of BIM

Chinese competition

In reference to your story “Chinese win Cheesegrater job”, (14 October, page 14), this is a warning shot to British manufacturers and suppliers that the good old days of fat profits on construction projects are gone for ever. If we like buying cheap Chinese products (which are now cheap and good) we can no longer offer British prices for construction. Main British contractors must take note of that as main Chinese contractors are big in several countries already - it is only a short time before they arrive and take the main contractor roles. Nobody should cry about British jobs being lost because we are not changing fast enough.

Hal-Luke Savas, via

Utility rip-off

The political momentum surrounding utility charges continues to build, but meanwhile we all have to pay more for gas and electricity. The people of Great Britain are being subjected to what we who work in the wonderful world of development encounter week in and week out. Poor levels of service and ever-increasing charges from utility firms make up our daily diet of despair and bewilderment. It beggars belief when a monopoly utility firm says it doesn’t have to tell you what the money you have paid them is being used for. No accountability for costs must be a recipe for enhanced year on year profit. That is what is occurring.

Come on Building, start looking into the great utility rip-off.

Ray Farrow, executive director, Technical & Development Services

BIM deconstructed

Regarding the article “BIM and the QS: Better late than never” (24 October, www.building., QSs are probably all waiting on someone to show them a good example of how it works, how a QS can input to a 4D and 5D model and how they get the data they need from the model. They need to sit with the design team and agree which elements get allocated with costs (individual component vs built-up systems). There will be a knock-on effect on the procurement route as design and build, traditional, PFI
etc will have a different input and output data requirement.
The role of the subcontractor may come forward to advise on how each component is fabricated, installed and priced, but this is not likely on, say, a traditional project. Design teams also need to model accurately - the use of composite walls which may be quicker will impact on real areas - external cladding will be one height, the framing another, the lining yet another …

Adrian Shilliday, via

It’s not worth it

Regarding your story “Ucatt plans 500 public sector strike ballots” (20 October,, [about electrical workers having to pay more for a lower pension and work longer to receive it], I feel sorry for the lads spending years in college, taking endless new tests every year and losing money on top. Who will bother to be trained in this industry now for such low margin rewards?

Andrew Gregory, via