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Wed November 29 2023

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2019: The year in construction headlines

20 Dec 19 The Construction Index online editor Phil Bishop presents his review of 2019 via the headlines of the year.

In 2019, the 10th year of our daily free-to-view news service, The Construction Index reached more than three million users in the UK alone, and more than four million worldwide.

One story alone, about an HSE prosecution, has had 329,401 page views so far, making it our best read item of 2019..

In recent years we have seen a single event dominate the news agenda for the whole year. In 2017 it was the Grenfell Tower fire and in 2018 it was the collapse of Carillion, which went into liquidation at the very start of that year. There was no such single major event that reverberated quite like either of those in 2019, although Interserve came close before the banks came to its rescue. Grenfell continues to have significant ramifications that have yet to be adequately tackled by either government or industry, and it will continue to generate headlines in 2020 as the official inquiry turns its attention to the role of the construction industry in the events leading up to the tragedy.

So in the absence of any single event proving quite so tumultuous in 2020, here are some of the headlines that helped to define the year for the UK construction industry, some of the recurring themes that won't go away, some of the more interesting stories that you might have missed, and perhaps one or two pointers to what might lay ahead of us in 2020. Just click on the headline in each case to see the full report.

I have deliberately avoided mention of Brexit or other issues that dominated the wider national political agenda. I have no desire to bore you.

Here we go.

Big deals and corporate developments

Kier chief ousted

Interserve: Debbie tells the troops to keep calm and carry on

Telford takeover completes

Kier posts £245m pre-tax loss

Interserve scraps group chief executive role

Galliford Try construction losses widen

Galliford Try and Bovis finalise house-building transfer

Persimmon faces up to its failings

Ideas: mad, bad and brilliant

Remote site police software sparks industry outcry

Work starts on construction licensing scheme

Bricks printed from recycled plastic smash clay for U-values

Graphene asphalt could be trialled on M25

Demolition contractors 'should rethink scaffolding'

Grenfell cladding issues remain firmly unresolved

Grenfell inquiry report condemns cladding refurbishment

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Grenfell report: Construction Leadership Council calls for new levels of safety

Government loses patience with cladding refuseniks

Hundreds of tower blocks still have suspect cladding

Unresolved danger for workers on the railways

Rail maintenance workers continue to be in danger, warns chief investigator

Rail contractors told to 'review' use of zero hours contracts

Killed track workers were given no look-out

Failings revealed in BAM Nuttall rail works plans

Narrow escape for concrete truck on level crossing

The cheats getting caught out:

London fit-out contractors fined for cover pricing

Mabey blows the whistle on groundworks cartel

Water tank cartel firms fined £2.6m

Roofing materials cartel busted

Drainage cartel hit for £36m fines

Cartel-busters turn sights on demolition sector

And some of those we have lost:

Hawk collapses into administration

Shaylor administration confirmed, 200 laid off

Dawnus collapse is dubbed ‘Welsh Carillion’

Pochin's goes into administration

Aspin in administration

Administrators lay off 150 at Clugston

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