Terex China president Ken Lousberg, speaking at the 2014 IRC Asia event.

Terex China president Ken Lousberg, speaking at the 2014 IRC Asia event.

The forecast growth in China’s construction sector must be matched by an increased focus on improving health and safety standards within the industry, delegates at this year’s International Rental Conference (IRC) Asia heard.

That was the view of Terex China president Ken Lousberg, who said the company was among those that had been in discussion with the Chinese government on delivering advances in industry best practice.

He said that while progress has been made in recent years, there was still considerable work to be done to deliver greater legislation to achieve safer construction sites amid a series of “mega projects” taking shape in the region.

With key schemes including Shanghai’s planned Disneyworld, and Samsung’s Xi’an facility requiring hundreds of aerial platforms, he felt such ventures could prove a valuable benchmark for delivering safe and efficient construction projects.

Mr Lousberg said, “As the largest company operating here, I think we in fact have a moral obligation to lead on health and safety and to help the government understand what other countries have gone through to improve their work at height safety rules.”

Three factors

The senior industry figure explained there were three factors that will influence the region’s ability to deliver high levels of growth within construction.

This included the promotion of a workplace safety culture with regulations that were enforced to improve operating environments.

Secondly, he said that construction job efficiency and productivity would be enhanced through companies adequately investing in equipment such as aerial platforms over basic scaffolding, which would also have a positive effect on standards within the rental sector.

The final element, he said, was ensuring availability of products, which remained a crucial factor within the industry.

Consequently, he added that pursing this policy led to Terex’s decision to invest between US$100 million (€80 million) and US$200 million (€161 million) in new production facilities in China.

Predicting continued growth for the region’s market should hoped-for standards of workplace safety and financial transparency be improved, he concluded, “It’s not enough to just sell or rent equipment, we have to make a difference. The advantage we all have is that we are right at the beginning, which is very exciting and we truly think the future is bright.”

The one-day IRC conference took place on 24 November at the Double Tree Hilton hotel in Shanghai, China. The event was attended by 280 industry executives.

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