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Latest News | February 2017

Introduction from our Chair – Anne Baxter
As the first newsletter of the New Year may I take the opportunity to wish you a very happy and prosperous 2017.
Although the vote was some time ago, the full fallout of Brexit is still uncertain and does little to promote confidence in the minds of the construction sector. That said, there is some cause for optimism; the government is committed to an almost unparalleled spending on infrastructure and though it has stopped short of ring-fencing funds, the new national infrastructure commission (NIC) will depoliticise investment. The fact that there is wide recognition that infrastructure is vital to facilitate growth is noteworthy and even Brexit has the upside of forcing government to maintain spending to ensure a more smooth economic future.

Joint AGS/BDA Industry Survey

We’ve had the preliminary results in from the survey of the UK Ground Investigation Industry, which was a joint collaboration with The Association of Geotechnical and Geo-environmental Specialists (AGS). The survey generated some 585 responses from across the sector, which highlighted diverse opinions. Fewer than half of the respondents were members of either the AGS or the BDA.
Although the final results are yet to be released, early feedback suggests a lack of knowledge pertaining to relevant Technical Standards for the industry (EC7). In fact the survey suggests that up to 40% of respondents do not have a good working knowledge of EC7 standards and more alarmingly that 30% of respondents do not apply the Technical Standards in their work despite having the authority to do so. Also, and interestingly, some 80% of respondents thought that procurement decisions based on cost discouraged adherence to the Technical Standards.
We should all be concerned about any lack of knowledge, adherence or enforcement of Technical Standards in the industry as it suggests projects are being undertaken with limited regard for best practise, putting not only quality of work in jeopardy but health and safety.
The BDA will obviously act upon these findings, putting in place future actions to address the knowledge shortfall. We will also be making the findings public at a later date, after the full survey results are analysed, and they will be made available to all members at that point.

BDA Welcomes New Members

The larger the membership the better the BDA can truly represent the aims and motives of the entire drilling industry and to project its voice on the wider construction stage. Over the last few months we’ve welcomed more new members and the number of enquires we have received is also up. The new (confirmed) companies who have recently joined the BDA are:

• Steel Wire Group Ltd (SWR Ltd)
• Aarsleff Ground Engineering Ltd
• S M Associates 
• Saving Energy Geothermal Ltd 


BDA Audited Drilling Operatives Jump in Number

The number of drilling operatives undertaking the BDA Audit has risen to almost record numbers. As of 1st January 2017 some 200 drilling operatives are registered in the Audit scheme, which is tremendous news.

The BDA Audit is more than a statement of a driller’s and drilling company’s ability, it actively demonstrate they are committed to working to the highest standards and that they recognise the importance of continual improvement.

The BDA Audit satisfies both British and European Standards (BS 22475-2 and 3), the ICE UK Specification for Ground investigation and Construction Design, as well as Management Regulations (CDM) with regard to the need to prove the on-going competency of drilling operatives. It independently measures the company and individual for professional competence and experience testing aspects such as:

• Emergency First Aid at Work certificate
• Adherence to both LOLER and PUWER regulations for the drilling rig and accessories
• Appropriate method statements and risk assessments
• Compliance with environmental standards

Those holding the audit are differentiated from those without and this sign of competence can be used actively as a selling point for your services. The peace of mind it can offer to clients cannot be underestimated.

If you haven’t got the audit – why not?


BDA events

Constructing Long Term Heath & Wellbeing

With many major infrastructure clients now asking for evidence of a contractor’s commitment to the health and wellbeing of its employees as part of their tender process, the subject is rightly of importance. In addition to giving due consideration to employees health and wellbeing, it has been shown that companies who understand how to manage and prevent work-related ill health can prevent serious financial losses, as well as maintain a more healthy and productive workforce.  Work-related illness can take many forms and the symptoms often go unnoticed, slowly deteriorating until the problem becomes permanent, disabling or even deadly.
Responding to this industry need, the BDA is holding its next ‘Constructing Long Term Health & Wellbeing’ event on 16th February 2017 at Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh and includes speakers and presentations from a wide number of organisations such as Glasgow University, Skanska, BDA, Constructing Better Health, TLT Law and Pristine Condition. The event stresses the importance of employee health and what steps can be taken to manage and prevent work-related ill health. It really is a must-attend event.
To book or for more information about attending, exhibiting and/or sponsoring this event please visit  
Prices are £75 for BDA member companies and £95 for non-members.


BDA AGM – 5th April 2017

A note for your diary – this year’s BDA Annual General Meeting will be held on 5th April 2017. The AGM coincides with the next running of the ‘Constructing Long Term Health & Wellbeing’ event. The AGM will be held in the morning, with the event following. More information will be distributed as it becomes available.

Land Drillers Training Day – 27th March 2017

The date has been set for the next Land Drilling Training day – 27th March 2017, which is being held at The Castle Gate Hotel, Melbourne Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne & Wear NE1 2JQ.
Book now to ensure your drilling team is right up-to-date on the latest developments and ensure they are working more safely and productively. The seminar has presentations on a wide variety of topics and from a number of industry experts. Topics will include:

•  Training and NVQ's Developments for a career in driliing (Peter Redford - Past BDA Chair)
•  Digital Borehole Logs, The Future (Keith Banton - BDA)
•  A Driller's Focus on Health & Safety (Jon Christie - Chair, BDA Safety Committee
•  Drilling bit technology (Chris White - Rockbit Ltd)
•  Drilling Mud Technology (Mike Massey - Clear Solutions Ltd)

Quality Matters Roadshows

The BDA is taking quality on the road this year with a series of presentations being held up and down the country. These presentations aim to explain who the BDA is and the benefit the organisation brings to the pre-construction sector. In addition more specific topics such as drilling operations compliance; the importance and understanding of appropriate qualifications; obtaining quality samples; best practice; membership criteria; industry representation and the BDA Audit and CPD will be covered.
The roadshow is supported by the CITB  and in addition to promoting the BDA, it will focus on quality and safety; emphasise to specifiers the importance of adhering to quality, training and qualifications within the companies they employ, and encourage new entrants into an industry which is perceived as up to date, compliant and worthy of a career choice.
We’ve already had interest from a number of leading organisations looking to host a presentation, which is extremely encouraging as it highlights the willingness in the industry to engage in efforts to raise standards and best practice across the drilling sector.
Presentations will be informal in style with a question and answer session following. Although organised typically over lunch, they can be organised to suit and can be booked through the BDA directly.

To find out more about the presentation content contact the BDA via email


And finally…

Keep an eye on the BDA website as it is being constantly updated with information that is of use to members - you’ll find it all readily available from industry news and safety updates, to dates of seminars, social events and the publication of new guidance documents.  The website is part of your membership so make sure you make full use of it and if you feel there is something missing then please let us know.
Also, why not keep up-to-date with all the latest BDA and related drilling and construction industry news by following us on Twitter “
If you’d like to see any particular topics addressed in future BDA newsletters, please don’t hesitate to let the team know –


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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