Welcome to RSTA News
Welcome to the autumn edition of the RSTA magazine! With significant reductions in public expenditure expected in the government’s autumn spending review, highway authorities and their managing agents should increasingly be looking towards using surface treatments as their preferred economic option for surface course maintenance. Having a well maintained road network will be essential if the UK economy is to start to grow again at a rate that will reverse the trend in unemployment and create the necessary improvement in GDP needed by the government to reduce the enormous budget deficit.
The RSTA is playing its part by helping to raise the profile of surface treatments across the UK by growing awareness amongst client bodies, developing new industry guidance to reflect best practice and to train the work force at all levels. Industry consolidation over the past decade has resulted in a serious erosion of technical knowledge across our industry and it essential this is remedied so all stakeholders fully understand the value and wide range of benefits surface treatments can bring to the table.
On this theme, the RSTA is currently advising the Highways Agency on the full range of surface treatment options for inclusion in their ‘Managing Down Costs’ toolkit. This is aimed at raising awareness and to advise HA staff, contractors and suppliers on alternative strategies for managing down the cost of maintaining the strategic road network. Also a joint RSTA/ADEPT workshop is being organised for this autumn to agree the design life (expected durability) for surface treatments. The output from this event will inform highway authority asset management teams as they develop strategies for reducing the maintenance costs of the local road network.
Over the past 12 months much has changed within the RSTA. We have significantly increased our training programme (see www.rsta-uk.org for course details). Over 200 delegates have attended an RSTA training course somewhere in the UK so far this year. A new course focusing on High Friction Surfacing was introduced in May. Following very positive feedback this will be repeated this autumn and become a regular fixture in the RSTA training calendar. We also ran four seminars during the spring in association with Construction Skills to illustrate the benefits of training, linking this with regulatory requirements, industry specifications and available grant funding. These will be repeated over the autumn and winter. I would encourage any member who hasn’t yet attended one of these events to do so and they are free to attend! I am also pleased to announce we have just been awarded a significant grant from Construction Skills to further develop and improve our range of training courses.
On the technical front several new codes of practice are under development. The most advanced is for High Friction Surfacing and it is hoped this will be endorsed by all of the main client bodies and published before the end of the year. Good progress has also been made in unifying Sector Scheme 13 which should make it easier in future to incorporate other surface treatments and reduce the cost of ongoing surveillance audits particularly for those members who offer more than one treatment.
The website has been completely overhauled and re-designed. Please take a minute to have a look and in particular click on the calendar tab to see what’s going on – there is a lot of activity across the board and you may see something you want to get involved with or see a course you want to attend.
If you were amongst the 230 delegates who attended the very successful RSTA Spring Conference at the Belfry you will be aware we launched a new annual health and safety competition. Further information on this will be circulated amongst the members shortly and I hope you will all feel able to get involved and make a submission into one of the award categories. The winners will be announced at next year’s conference which will again be held at the Belfry in April.
Regarding membership, I am delighted to see we continue to attract new members and I would like to welcome Tensar International Ltd, Hueskar Ltd and Stirling Lloyd Ltd into the RSTA family! I hope you enjoy reading this edition and look forward to seeing you somewhere on my travels around the UK.