Outgoing British Drilling Association chairman John Grainger said that the UK ground investigation market will face some major challenges as the sector returns to growth in 2014.
Speaking at GE’s inaugural Ground Investigation and Laboratory Testing conference today, Grainger said that the sector will need competency in all areas in order to deal with the large volumes of work, quality of data and safe delivery of contracts.
“There has been a significant drop in staff levels among out member companies since 2008 – we are probably 40% down on pre-recession staffing levels,” he said. “The sector is very lean and it is proving difficult to attract new recruits into the industry.”
Grainger said that it was not only essential that ground investigation companies invested in training for new drilling operatives and engineering geology staff to bridge the skills gap but also to refresh the training of existing staff. Conference chairman David Norbury added that training of existing staff is often neglected in times of recession.
Grainger added that particular focus on safety was needed. According to BDA figures, every fifth person working in the ground investigation market is involved in a lost time accident each year. Grainger said that this was not acceptable.
Grainger has now handed over chairmanship of the BDA to Bam Ritchies’ ground investigation manager Andrew Stevenson.