On the next page you will read news of a couple of significant transactions in the infrastructure maintenance sector. Ferrovial of Spain has taken over Enterprise; and Skanska of Sweden has taken over Atkins’ highway maintenance division. In both cases one might be forgiven for feeling a slight sinking in the heart that UK plc is selling up.
No wonder the economy is in such a mess if we can’t even look after our own roads and empty our own dustbins. But wait. Turn the page again and you will see that UK firms are to manage the construction of a skyscraper that is set to be 1km high. Leaving aside questions about the desirability of such tall buildings, that British expertise is still called upon for such projects should give us a slight puffing in the chest area. We are not completely useless after all.
Keep reading and you will come to our preview of the Bauma trade show. It is held every three years. This will be my fifth Bauma but it never fails to astound me. Half a million visitors are expected, descending on Munich for the week. For some, it is about seeing what new machines are available to make construction faster, safer, cleaner or cheaper. For many, it is about networking with colleagues from around the world, for Bauma is as much about people as about machines.
National boundaries are increasingly irrelevant in construction. Major projects will look all over the world to source the best skills, materials and machinery for the job. In this way, all countries become more efficient. There are some downsides to globalisation. But it’s not all bad.