Enews - Issue 2 - Autumn 2010

Chairman's View

Rob GillespieThe 2010 RSTA Annual General Meeting and Dinner marked the end of an extremely busy year in the short life of the amalgamated association. It also marked a year since our new Chief Executive Howard Robinson was introduced to the members and our guest at the Forest of Arden dinner in 2009 – a year that has seen Howard fully establish himself at the helm of the RSTA and plotting a course for the growth of our association and our specialist maintenance techniques.

We now find ourselves in the middle of a year where we are between an emergency budget and the Comprehensive Spending Review that will take place in the autumn. It is clear to see that the former has begun the process of cutting back on government spending and that the latter will further add to the programme as we head into 2011. There has also been a few reassuring words from central government for the construction industry with some commitment being made to continuing the construction programme, however the autumn review will tell us more.

It is however clear that the capital spend on new road construction and major maintenance will undoubtedly be reduced substantially and we are already seeing strong indications from client organisations that maintaining the current asset has never been more important. This provides RSTA members and the association to once again demonstrate the true whole life value provided by Surface Treatments and firmly embed them in the engineer’s maintenance toolbox, once again establishing our treatments as the most cost effective method of prolonging pavement life and ensuring a safe surface for the travelling public.

The winter of 2009/10 clearly demonstrated where sound waterproofing of roads and the use of reinforced surfacing layers can and does avoid the types of damage we saw in large numbers falling the winter weather. We have seen evidence from many areas of the country where local authorities who have maintained high levels of surface dressing and microsurfacing over recent years, have not experienced the levels of pot-holing of other areas, clearly demonstrating the benefits of a sealed road structure where little or no water penetration occurs. A road pavement where water cannot make its way into the structure will not fracture and disintegrate under freeze thaw – the main cause of the pavement damage we experienced in 2009/10.

We are seeing increasing levels of surface treatments already and teams across the UK have been making the very best of good conditions through the start of the summer. One area where we are seeing more difficult conditions is in High Friction Surfacing. Currently there are shortages of raw materials for thermoplastic HFS and some components of cold resin materials are also increasing in price causing difficulties across the market. Most importantly there is doubt in the minds of clients as to the long-life integrity of some of the HFS that is being used across the network and this is causing volumes in the market to decline. The RSTA is committed to working with clients and members to establish higher levels of specification and product life and to re-establish HFS as a true value for money product in the most important area of all on our network – road safety.

We are now working through another busy year for the association with a great deal of work being done in; training, seminars, liaison with client bodies and other trade bodies, and also the development of new codes or practice and new specifications. Through the good offices of our client colleagues and the hard work of our association staff I look forward to another year of success for the RSTA and further growth in our activity.

Rob Gillespie
RSTA Chairman

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