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BDA eNewsletter | Issue: September 2018


Introduction from our Chair – Martyn Brocklesby

With Brexit talk taking the bulk of the headlines these days, you would be forgiven for missing some of the more construction-related news that’s out there. One story that almost passed me by was the Department for Education’s (DfE) statistic that construction apprenticeship starts have fallen by 28% compared to last year (August 2017 and March 2018).



This should be quite worrying as the construction sector is already faced with a present and growing skills shortage, and apprenticeships were a significant component of the government’s plan to address this. So, what’s going wrong? Well, whilst progress has been made in making the construction sector more appealing and inclusive, it can be no coincidence that this fall runs parallel to the government’s introduction of its Apprenticeship Levy – March 2017. 

For our sector, the Levy is a real headache. Many firms are now paying a substantial monthly contribution to the government (0.5% of their wage bill if it exceeds £3.0m), however training options for their staff, which meet the Trailblazer standard and therefore get financial support from the Levy, are very few and far between. Apprenticeship schemes, such as that of the BDA, have evolved enormously and provide real-world training and opportunity to the drillers of tomorrow, but they were developed and established before Trailblazer was introduced and so they don’t meet the standard or qualify for grants paid out of the Levy. What is clear is reform is necessary – it would be a shame if the government throws a proverbial spanner in the works by failing to recognise the present system really isn’t working.

Back to the British Drilling Association (BDA) though, there’s still time to book your place at this year’s BDA Annual Dinner, as well as sign up for the latest in a series of BDA-organised seminars, ‘Solutions for the Future of the Geotechnical Industry’, which is being held on 9th October 2018 in London. The speaker line-up is outstanding and the opportunity to network is excellent.


Drug Use and Abuse

The unseen issues of drug abuse are well-known, and the implications well understood too, however there is potentially a bigger problem, which is the largely ignored use of legal drugs through prescription and purchase over the counter, and more dangerously the use of other people’s drugs, neither prescribed or bought for one’s own consumption. 

It has long been the practice in every division of the Civil Engineering and Construction Industry to carry out, pre-employment, periodic, random, unannounced and ‘For Cause’ Drug and alcohol testing either during induction or on site especially where critical works are undertaken. By critical works we mean in an environment with a higher risk than normal, for instance on Network Rail’s Managed Infrastructure, Off Shore facilities, Oil refineries, Nuclear and on the Highways, with a focus on those technicians and operatives driving plant regularly.

With the implementation of the Drink and Drug Driving Laws in March 2015 and which form part of the Road Traffic Act 1988, we all must be aware that certain medications can land us in trouble if we don’t address the practice of taking drugs of one kind or another. 

To read the full article, which is a great thought-provoking read, follow the link


Driller or Driver?

The British Drilling Association’s (BDA) Safety Committee has been asked on several occasions about issues surrounding driving, towing, tachograph and site working hours. Many members are faced with Clients who expect them to arrive ready for a Site Induction at the start of the shift, after having driven several hours, often in commercial vehicles or towing a rig. They then expect them to work a full shift, all of which can contravene various working hours and driving time Regulations These expectations raise several issues, which have been considered by the BDA in its Guidance documents and which are free for BDA Members to download from the BDA website.

However, the whole situation is a minefield wrapped up in more legislation than a Brexit negotiation, and to try to talk through some of the issues here, is beyond this short introduction, however, a lengthier article is available on the BDA website, which not only outlines current legislation, but highlights some of the test cases and more importantly, the need to get expert legal advice!

To read the full article, follow the link


Note for the diary -BDA Seminar Series – ‘Solutions for the Future of the Geotechnical Industry’ – 13th February 2019, Edinburgh

More a note for your diary, as the programme is still being finalised, but the second in the series of BDA seminars - “Solutions for the Future of the Geotechnical Industry” has been set for the 13th February 2019 at Dynamic Earth, Holyrood Road, Shoreditch, Edinburgh EH8 8AS.

Following the same format and important subjects as that of the London event, this “Scottish” seminar will take a look take a look at how geotechnical industry is evolving, like the wider construction sector, and the impact new technologies are having. Some great speakers are lined up from many of the most influential organisations, including, Arup; Eijkelkamp/SonicSamp; Epiroc; Bentley Software Systems; and Keynetix.

Registration will be 12.30pm, with speakers from 1pm – 5.30pm with 30 min coffee & networking break, followed at 5:20 by canapés, drinks & further networking opportunity.

Price per person: only £75.00 + VAT BDA Member Company & £100 + VAT non-BDA Members

To book online please visit the BDA website  or contact the BDA Office - or 01773 778751.


BDA Seminar Series – ‘Solutions for the Future of the Geotechnical Industry’ – 9th October 2018, London.

All speakers are now confirmed, and still a few delegate places left for the London-based BDA seminar - “Solutions for the Future of the Geotechnical Industry”. 

The seminar will present the influencers and technologies that are defining the future of the geotechnical sector. Speakers include Tim Chapman, Arup; Rutger van Goethem Eijkelkamp/SonicSamp, Andy Jacques, Epiroc; Katie Aguiler, Bentley Software Systems; Jacqueline Skipper, Geotechnical Consulting Group and Steve Reynolds, HS2, talking on a wide variety of topics from legislation through to the software and drilling equipment that is and will continue to shape the way we work in the near future.

The event is being held on 9th October 2018, at the Thistle Barbican Hotel in London and tickets cost just £75.00 per person for BDA Members and £100.00, for non-members. Should you wish to attend book online at or contact the BDA office -


BDA – Annual Golf Tournament – The Results!

A great day was had by all who participated in this year’s BDA Golf Day, which was held 7th September 2018, at one of Yorkshire’s best golf courses - Woodsome Hall in Huddersfield. We’ve had tremendous feedback including that of Roger Chandler, Keynetix who said: “Thank you for putting on such a great day last Friday. It was my first corporate golf day and I enjoyed it a lot and made some useful contacts.  The day was well organised, and the venue was first class.”

Of course, a big WELL DONE to the winning team from Geoterra, comprising Mark Hudson, Michael May, Simon Leeming, Keith Banton. The results of the ‘Rockbit’ Mining Trophy, the 10-hole competition were 1st place Michael May (Geoterra) and Mark Hudson of (Geoterra), 2nd place Kevin Goodfellow (Equipe Group) and Jason Miles (Equipe Group) and 3rd Steve Marshall (Applied Geology) and Geoff Wiggin (Applied Geology).

To view the full list of winners visit


BDA Dinner Dance – 13th October 2018

If you’ve not yet brought your black-tie dinner suit and posh frocks out of mothballs, then do it NOW! With just a few weeks to go until this year’s annual dinner dance, there are still a few tickets available, but you must book now. 

Being held 13th October, at the Mercure Sheffield St. Paul’s Hotel and Spa, a great evening of entertainment is planned, commencing 6.30pm with reception drinks, for 7.30pm sit down meal. Entertainment is brought courtesy of ‘The Blame’, one of Manchester’s leading rock, pop, indie and soul cover bands, who are sure to get you on the dancefloor! There will also be a charity raffle, which this year will be in support of Bluebell Wood children’s charity - - and the Annual BDA Awards Ceremony will also take place during the event.
For more information or to book a ticket visit: or contact the BDA office via


External Events - Supported by the BDA

The British Drilling Association (BDA) is pleased to be supporting CL:AIRE, the membership organisation committed to providing valuable services for all those involved in sustainable land reuse, by promoting a number of its recently announced “Asbestos in Soil Autumn Training Dates”.


Non-Licensed Work (NLW) Training for Groundworkers, a NEW course being held
16th October 2018, 22nd November 2018 and 11th December 2018, at the Reading Business Centre, Fountain House, Queens Walk, Reading RG1 7QE. More info.

Asbestos Awareness for Soils E-Learning Module – for more info.

CAR-SOIL, being held at various locations; 4th October 2018 – Reading, 7th November 2018 – Manchester, and 4th December 2018 – Nottingham. For more info.

Transport Geotechnics conference 

The BDA has secured a special discount for BDA members on delegate passes for Ground Engineering’s new Transport Geotechnics conference this autumn.

The conference, which will be held on 3rd October at the Victoria Park Plaza hotel in London, will feature two of our member companies – Aecom & Fugro – with the event placing the spotlight on the design, construction and maintenance of geotechnical assets on transport infrastructure. Co-located with GE’s established Basement and Underground Structures conference, with a shared exhibition and networking area, the event will include discussions from client, consultant and contractor perspectives on the current issues affecting geotechnical assets.

The keynote speech will be delivered by Christina Jackson, Jacobs technical director for ground engineering, who will look at the challenges and opportunities for the industry. Our very own Chair, Martyn Brocklesby, will also be involved in the “Power Panel discussion about “rising to the challenge of delivering future projects on time, on cost and with technical excellence”. Case study presentations will give detailed insight into the construction of the Bexhill North Access Road, Cambrian rock cutting, A9 dualling project and the A19 Coast Road. Best practice will also be considered, and the event will conclude with the panel debate. 

For details and booking information, visit and use the code BDA20 to get 20% DISCOUNT off the ticket price. The discount is only available on new bookings.

NCE Flood Management 2018 Conference 

The BDA is pleased to be partnering New Civil Engineer's Flood Management 2018 Conference, which is being held 21-22 November 2018 at the Bloomsbury Hotel, London.

Now in its 14th year, the Flood Management Forum provides the definitive voice for the industry and provides a unique opportunity to hear the latest guidance and strategy, as well as bringing together the major stakeholders and decision makers to share best practice and innovation in flood management and climate resilience.

BDA Members qualify for a DISCOUNT of 20% - simply quote code PARTNER2018 when making your booking.  Details of the event can be found:
Proud to support NCE Tunnelling Festival 2018

The BDA is pleased to be supporting, New Civil Engineer’s (NCE) Tunnelling Festival 2018, which is being held 6th December 2018, at the Grange Tower Bridge Hotel, London.

The Tunnelling Festival brings together NCE’s Tunnelling Summit and Tunnelling Awards, into a new event for 2018. The interactive Festival will gather the thought-leaders, decision-makers and young engineers from the entire tunnelling community to network and share innovation and best practice across major UK and global tunnelling and underground projects.

For more information and to book your ticket/s, visit 

Proud to support Brownfield Redevelopment North Event

A 10% discount is available to BDA members wishing to attend or exhibit at the Brownfield Redevelopment North Event being held 7th November, Leeds at the Park Plaza.

Brownfield Briefing is pleased to be returning to Leeds with this informative one-day conference, providing updated policy, technical and funding solutions to help reduce the risks and potential costs of brownfield and contaminated land development, increasing investor and developer confidence; and so maximising viability.

Details of the event can be found: 

To qualify for your 10% DISCOUNT off the standard delegate or exhibitor rate use code BDA10 and email or call their sales team on +44 (0)203 637 2191. 


And finally…

We Need Your Safety Alerts!

If you have any safety alerts, please email them directly to the BDA Secretariat –


Also, if you’d like to see any topics addressed in future BDA newsletters, please don’t hesitate to let the team know –

And please don’t forget to follow the BDA on LinkedIn – British Drilling Association and Twitter - @britishdrilling

British Drilling Association  

Committed to Improving Standards in Health & Safety, Quality of Workmanship and Technical Proficiency for the Benefit of the Drilling Industry and its Clients.

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